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The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker #6)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  9,541 Ratings  ·  259 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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Sep 08, 2010 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
May 29, 2010 Werner rated it really liked it  ·  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
Feb 09, 2009 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Kat  Hooper
Oct 23, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

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
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
Jul 13, 2009 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, maps
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).
Aug 07, 2007 Thomas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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!

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?
Jan 05, 2009 Memesmith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 22, 2009 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jul 10, 2007 DMS rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2017 Brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed with this book. Not only is is an awful conclusion for the Alvin Maker series (and it DOES seem to be the conclusion, both because it's marketed that way and there hasn't been a new Alvin book in nearly 15 years at this point -- and Card clearly lost the momentum for this series around book 3 anyhow), but it is disappointing on its own.

Too much of the book is about events and characters in Alvin's past that we haven't actually seen in any Alvin Maker book, so a lot of i
Scot Eaton
Mar 27, 2017 Scot Eaton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think my summary of this book is a summary of the whole series: really good, but never great. This being the (presumably) last book, it goes out with a bang. However, there's no possible way to talk about this book without giving away major spoilers for the rest of the series. So, all I can say is that if you've made it this far, the last book will not disappoint. You should read it.
Julie Akeman
Jan 28, 2017 Julie Akeman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book brings out the 'Maker' in all of us. I love the alternate history, the 'knacks' the folklore but most of all I like the message at the very end that seems to be the echos of Card's own creative heart. Read this series, it's worth it.
Jan 01, 2014 Samuel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chip Hunter
Dec 29, 2016 Chip Hunter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of people obviously had a negative reaction to this final volume in the saga of Alvin Maker. Instead, I'd like to applaud Card for this difficult effort to wrap up a complex and much-loved series. I know it wasn't an easy task, but it was absolutely demanded by fans of this wonderfully imaginative world. While much of the wonder of the story has faded, and this ending certainly seems rushed towards an easy conclusion, this is still a good book, providing adequate closure to the series. Her ...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
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
Dec 17, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2007 Ellie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Crystal City (2003) 340 pages by Orson Scott Card

This is the sixth book in the Alvin Maker series. I enjoyed the first five, Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman and Heartfire, but then I had to wait a year before I picked up Crystal City and I never got around to reading it until this week. Having read the Homecoming series in between I can see a lot of similarities. Alvin Maker, Nafai, Ender Wiggin all seem to have the same moral characteristics, and a sibling rivalry
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
Miz Lizzie
Although I have enjoyed the characters and the basic idea of this series, I found this final (so far; I believe one more volume is planned) offering a disappointment. Though there has been an overarching plot line of Alvin Maker seeking to make his vision of creating the Crystal City a reality, his journey there has been waylaid by minutiae introduced in side-adventures and new characters. All interesting enough in themselves but the movement forward is excruciatingly slow until, all of a sudden ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 2/5

It's not so much that this is a bad book as it is a redundant one. The first in the series, Seventh Son, captured Card's unique vision of alternate history America. Each subsequent volume has added minor additions at a rate of diminishing returns. At an average of about 350 pages there's a lot of reading, then, for little in compensation. This one here might just offer the least in novelty. The story has turned rather formulaic: the main c
Oct 19, 2009 Dani rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Vivian Sophia
Entertaining, fun. Among the Alvin Maker books, this one ranks as acceptable but not a standout.
Jun 02, 2013 Christophe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Better image file for book cover 3 15 Aug 31, 2015 05:23AM  
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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
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)

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