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The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, #6)
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The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker #6)

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  8,001 ratings  ·  211 reviews
If not the best in the series, Card's latest Alvin Maker novel (after 1998's Heartfire: Tales of Alvin Maker V) still enchants. In the author's alternative American frontier world, Indians work the magics of nature, Africans transform themselves with trinkets and whites have knacks-magical talents that allow them to shape metal, find water, win the hearts of followers and ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 10th 2003 by Tor Books (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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John
The Alvin Maker series is a marvelously clever, folk-magical alternate history of North America, in which the author creates a fit forum for the brilliant, preachy, clever, and morally neurotic characters that seem to be his specialty. I think his take on famous historical characters is often marvelous, as is his frequent twisting and borrowing of details from his Mormon tradition.

Despite this general admiration, I must say that this is clearly the weakest of the series and not just because as
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Robin
Like this whole series, it has continuity issues, which Card treats cavalierly in the acknowledgments. The central story itself is more compelling, though I found it frustrating that it picked up so long after the previous book without allowing us to see the culmination of storylines Card left hanging that I as a reader had invested in. Having Alvin only with Arthur Stuart through most of the novel and other core characters appearing so late and some minimally is also frustrating. The analogy of ...more
Werner
Jul 19, 2014 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of alternate-world fantasy
Throughout most of the preceding books of the series, Alvin's ultimate goal has been to understand how he's supposed to bring into being the "Crystal City" he saw in the vision he had as a child. Here, the pieces of that puzzle will fall into place, bringing the series to a satisfying ending point, though not a tidy HEA to wrap everything up with a neat bow --in this world (and in our real one! :-)), Card makes clear, life and its challenges are an ongoing story.

One of my Goodreads friends who r
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Kat  Hooper
Originally posted at FanLit. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

The Crystal City is the (maybe) final novel in Orson Scott Card’s TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. This series started off strongly with Seventh Son and Red Prophet, but it bogged down during books three and four (Prentice Alvin and Alvin Journeyman) and I was ready to give up. However, since I had already downloaded the audio version of the sixth book, The Crystal City, from my library, I decided to finish the series. (My library didn’t
...more
Don Simpson
Good, but I'm growing weary of this series having no conclusion. After the first two books, none of the books end in a way that anticipates the next book, but nothing gets finished either. At some point, there has to be a final confrontation between Alvin and the Unmaker, and there has to be a resolution/destiny for Calvin. Please?
Dan
Ever since I started this series and realized that it wasn't finished. And that it's been 7 years since the last installment and that Orson Scott Card isn't dead, I've been mildly upset. But I listened to each book anyway and enjoyed them. I was pleasantly surprised that this book actually had a resolved ending. The series could end here and I would be content. The only loose string is Peggy's torchy vision of Alvin's future death when Calvin comes back around. I for one can be contented with ne ...more
Thomas
Didn't read it, because the story seemed to be petering out in the last book.

My one star review is for the lame cover art.

I felt insulted by that bullshit, and don't want to be seen with that romance novel looking book in my hands. How do you tell someone with taste that this is a really clever alternative history of America while they are looking at Fabio floating there on the cover?

The publishers are making their fantasy books impossible to recommend!
Stop it!

Ron
The three's a gift for finishing the series . . . kind of.

Card had mercy on us. It's easy to detect in the telling of The Crystal City where Card jumped over enough time and material to have written another novel between Heartfire and this book. Thankfully, he didn't.

As I said before, the less you know about Card's religious beliefs, the more you'll enjoy this series (unless, of course, you share those beliefs).
Tim
I've read the series - in each of the six, there are plenty of observations of human nature that give one pause and a reason to reflect. Another great set for those who like the idea of ruminating on what would a slightly to significant different America look like, while humans in this imagined scenario still faced with all the struggles and choices we deal with.
Memesmith
Great conclusion to the series.

I don't recall which book it was, but it was said of Alvin's brother: He was the life of the party, unless being so would show someone else to be a buffoon in which case, he would remain silent rather than embarrass them. (So people stopped inviting buffoons to the parties they invited him to.) Interesting cocktail party image.
Cmadler
Easily the weakest of the series. There is no dramatic tension at all, just people going to different places, doing things, and having things happen to them. As a reader, there was never any doubt in my mind that everything would work out fine and that no major characters would suffer in the end.
Samuel
The sixth and final volume of the Alvin Maker Series by Orson Scott Card, the Crystal City is an EPIC conclusion that did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the Biblical allusions to the book of Exodus with Alvin playing Moses, Arthur Stuart playing Joshua, and Calvin providing fog--a pillar of cloud--to lead/hide the 5,000 runaway slaves to safety across the Mississippi River. Abraham Lincoln enters the story and helps the displaced fugitives settle in the Noisy River territory--Illinois on a swa ...more
Seth Martin
The ending of OSC fantasy epic left so much to be desired. There were so many promises left unfulfilled, not least of all a Maker v Maker battle. Calvin was set up to be a prefect antagonist to his brother Alvin and OSC never did anything with this conflict. He also set up Author Stewart as a perfect proxy for Alvin since I dont have any disbelief that Alvin would have stomped Calvin if it came to some kind of fight.

Also, what the heck was with all the foreshadowing of Alvin's death. I can't thi
...more
DMS
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dani
Blah. That's all this book was. The baby from Heartfire is dead (don't worry its not a spoiler, you'll find out on the 1st or 2nd page anyway) and yet we've giving no reason to care. The readers aren't there for the actual birth or even for the struggle after it. Verily and Fink are gone, but we don't know why. by this book Card has made it impossible for me to care. Oh no some character I didn't know dies and its supposed to be upsetting. But it never comes off that way. It's a story that is la ...more
Althea Ann
Card is an extremely good writer, and his books are always a pleasure to read, but at times I did feel that the stories here occasionally suffered for being too allegorical, and too much about Card's ideas of morality.

6th, and at the moment last volume: 'The Crystal City.' Starting out at an unofficial orphanage for mixed-race children, Alvin unwittingly, by trying to help a sick woman, causes a plague of yellow fever, and ends up getting run out of town. Taking the orphans with him, and then me
...more
Tim Giauque
The last couple of Alvin Maker books suffer from the same types of problems – this, The Crystal City, is the sixth book of seven planned for the Alvin Maker series, yet it doesn't feel like we're getting much closer to any kind of resolution. By the end of the book, a few little pieces have fallen into place, but I don't really know how Card is planning to finish the series. He probably doesn't, either, since as of now he has said nothing of any plans to write the final book, Master Alvin.

The wo
...more
Sherri
This is the last book in the Alvin Maker series (though I've heard rumors that there is going to be another one) and it is the one where he finally begins to build the Crystal City - the city he has dreamt about since the very first book.

In this book he discovers what the Crystal City really is and how it will be built and by whom.

He and Arthur Stuart also begin a quest to save over 5000 black slaves from their cruel masters. Thus begins the trek to the site where the Crystal City will be built
...more
Doug Cannon
Many years ago my brother Rob suggested that I read the Alvin Maker series. I never did get into it much until recently, and I'm glad I did. They were every bit as good as he said, and I enjoyed them very much.

Card is, as always, a very good story teller. In this particular book, I had wished to hear more from Taleswapper, rather than just a cameo. But, the story was good, and vaguely paralleled the exodus by Moses. We learned more about Alvin and Peggy's relationship, their characters, etc. Alv
...more
Anthony
I can honestly say that it is a fair and worthy addition to The Chronicles of Alvin Maker. Good plot, plenty of action. Of course, not everything is resolved and several new problems are introduced; you definitely know you're in the midst of an open-ended series. Unlike Robert Jordan, though, Card still has a handle on how his universe works and manages to introduce interesting secondary characters without taking the focus away from Alvin, Peggy, Arthur Stuart and Calvin. It helps that Card allo ...more
Kathy Davie
The sixth, in the fantasy series, Tales of Alvin Maker, Alvin finally discovers the truth about building the Crystal City and of the maker that exists in all of us.

In many ways, this is a sweet end to this series but the way in which Card leaves us is frustrating with all the new questions he's left: what nasty mischief will Jim Bowie get up to, will Calvin ever get over himself, do the reds get to hang onto everything west of the how long does the Crystal City last...please, at least long enoug
...more
Christophe
Sur l'injonction de sa femme Peggy, c'est à La Nouvelle-Orléans (Nueva Barcelona sous l'occupation espagnole) que se rend Alvin en compagnie de son beau-frère métis Arthur Stuart. Il y découvrira la fièvre jaune, le désespoir et la vindicte, qui l'amèneront à conduire l'exode de milliers de réfugiés : Noirs affranchis, pauvres Français, esclaves libérés des plantations de coton. Il devra pour cela affronter l'épreuve la plus rude et la plus spectaculaire de sa vie, puis se tourner vers son viei
...more
Fred D
Aug 16, 2009 Fred D rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans
Shelves: fantasy
Conclusion of the Alvin Maker Series (maybe). I'm actually really torn as to whether to give this book 5 stars or not. There were parts I really loved, and others not so much. I found the book a little preachy, though I suppose one could say that about a lot of Card's books. I usually don't mind it though, but this time it bugged me. I also saw the parallels between the events of this book and the events of Joseph Smith's life more clearly than the previous books in the series. For example, the ...more
Scott Sheaffer
This 6th book in the Alvin Maker series begins with Alvin in Neuva Barcelona (New Orleans) where he continues his work against slavery and the building of the Crystal City.

The parallels between the Crystal City and the bible are obvious. The scene where Alvin and his brother-in-law, Arthur Stuart build a crystal bridge, allowing others to seemingly walk on water brought shivers o my skin. While I enjoyed the obvious biblical parallels, Card frequently refers to the bible stories and I found thes
...more
Stuart
The sixth of the Alvin Maker tales of Orson Scott Card, this one has Alvin leading a mis-matched group of castoffs, including freed and escaped slaves, unwanted French and Spanish settlers and others in a trek from New Orleans (known as New Barcelona) to the Crystal City, which he at long last starts to build, with help from his friend Abraham Lincoln. There is also a sidetrack into Mexico with Steve Austin and Jim Bowie, featuring Alvin’s ne’er-do-well brother Calvin.

It’s been a few years since
...more
Ellie
The end of the Alvin Maker series (I think; maybe another is planned?). The whole store got more and more Mormon as time went on, and it became obvious that Alvin was a fantasy world version of Joseph Smith (apparently even the name Alvin comes from Smith’s history; Alvin Smith was Joseph’s brother who died). That said, there are still a lot of interesting aspects to the book. Unfortunately this is the worst of the series. It starts after a number of years break from the last book, but it doesn’ ...more
Elar
Finally people are learning and somehow despite of problems and difficulties Alvin starts to build crystal city. It really bothers that the Maker can just let slaves lie and cheat for the greater good, but would not get rid of his own brother who acts like the unmaker. Somehow author needs to give really detailed background for some characters, but for others it just feels like I missed a book or some chapters where introduction for them were made.
Becky
The series of Alvin Maker is an awesome series, I love it. I read the last one first because it was on sale but went back and bought the first 5 at full price and read them all because it was so good. Orson Scott brings us into a world of an alternate history, where all the characters are the same but play different roles, (eg. Abe Lincoln, Napoleon...) every person has a knack or a skill and Alvin is the seventh son of a seventh son and he has a greatest skill of all he is a maker. it's such a ...more
Brandie
Alright like I said in my review of the other book in this series, I have enjoyed it. HOWEVER, as this is the last one I have been left with questions. What happens next. . .what does Alvin's brother Calvin do in the city? How much longer does Alvin live. . .how does the city fair. What other interesting historical notables decide to make their home there? Needless to say I want more.
Mike Hedley
I went straight from no. 4 in the series to Crystal City, and remained baffled until well into the "last" of the series. I even went back to check the author's listing- there seemed to be a book missing. New characters like Abe Lincoln appeared, there was a rescue of Blacks from a riverboat, Alvin's first child died, etc. Speaking for the series in general, nice prose, and although Card is prone to pontification, some of his observations on people are spot-on and beautifully written (other than ...more
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
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More about Orson Scott Card...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of Alvin Maker (6 books)
  • Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1)
  • Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker, #2)
  • Prentice Alvin (Tales of Alvin Maker, #3)
  • Alvin Journeyman (Tales of Alvin Maker, #4)
  • Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker, #5)
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet, #2) Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow, #1) Xenocide (The Ender Quintet, #3) Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #4)

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