Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Alvin Journeyman: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume IV” as Want to Read:
Alvin Journeyman: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume IV
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Alvin Journeyman: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume IV (Tales of Alvin Maker #4)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  13,629 Ratings  ·  241 Reviews
Alvin is a Maker, the first to be born in a century.

Now a grown man and a journeyman smith, Alvin has returned to his family in the town of Vigor Church. He will share in their isolation, work as a blacksmith, and try to teach anyone who wishes to learn the knack of being a Maker. For Alvin has had a vision of the Crystal City he will build, and he knows that he cannot bui
ebook, 416 pages
Published September 15th 1996 by Tor Fantasy (first published September 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Alvin Journeyman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Alvin Journeyman

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
In his introduction, Card acknowledges that when "Alvin Journeyman" was first published, some fans had been waiting several years for the next installment in the series. Had I been one of those fans, I would have probably been really annoyed that I'd waited a long time and only got "Alvin Journeyman."

Just as is the case with the later Ender novels, the Alvin series seems to have descended into a series where people sit around and have lots of philosophical conversations that, while interesting,
Jun 09, 2009 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of alternate history fantasies
Card continues his top-notch storytelling in this fourth volume of Alvin's saga. One of my Goodreads friends was distinctly displeased with this installment, complaining that it brought the series no closer to its resolution, and introduced characters and subplots only for the sake of lengthening the story. My take on these points, though, is quite different. The characters and subplots don't simply lengthen the saga; they add depth and complexity to it. You can tell a great (in the epic sense) ...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 19, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

Alvin Miller is finally a journeyman blacksmith and a Maker. He’s back home in Vigor Church, trying to teach others his Making skills because he believes he needs Makers to create the Crystal City he’s dreamed of. But the Unmaker is hard at work, trying to unravel Alvin’s plans. With the help of a girl who has a crush on Alvin, the Unmaker manages to get Alvin to flee back to Hatrack River where Makepeace Smith is waiting to sue
Mridupawan  Podder
Feb 23, 2016 Mridupawan Podder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating a book is never easy. And the worst mistake one does is my comparing a book with another. This book deserves a solid 4 star.

Orson Scott Card is no Brandon Sanderson or Patrick Rothfuss. Those guys get 5 stars just for being them. Everything is different from their books. From the pace of the tale to the language it speaks to you, from the intricate magical systems to minimalist plot lines. I've seen people give 3 stars to Robin Hobb just because it didn't entice them as much as Abercombi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
With book four the series starts to slow again and characters are made to retread old paths. Alvin returns home and attempts to train more Makers. While it starts to feel as if the first three books peaked with Prentice Alvin, then we're now on the other side of that hill and Card is trying to restart the story somewhat. To an extent this is borne out just from the publishing schedule - books 1 through 3 were published a year apart, this one took a six year jump for him to get back to world of A ...more
Sep 08, 2007 Christopher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It has been said that any plot which depends on a dramatic courtroom trial is doomed to mediocrity. ALVIN JOURNEYMAN, unfortunately, is one of those plots. In this fourth instalment of Orson Scott Card's alternate-history and Mormon allegory "The Tales of Alvin Maker", Alvin is put on trial for his life. We, the readers, spend half the book being dragged through courtroom melodrama with a protagonist the reader is having a hard time caring about any more.

At the end of PRENTICE ALVIN, Alvin finis
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 4/5
World: 3/5

As I started the book I was immediately struck by the off-beat and heavy-handed writing. I have liked every book in the series thus far, and I wondered if somehow my mood had changed, or my favorable prejudices had been smoothed over, and if this is what critics of the writing and series had found so off-putting. It turned out that I needn't have worried. There was, admittedly, that first section with an omniscient narrator droning on in a
Simon Mcleish
Jul 12, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in May 2000.

After a gap of a few years, Card has continued this series, one of my favourites of the fantasy genre. It is set in a fascinating alternate history USA in which much of the country remains in the hands of the colonial powers, and where magic is relatively commonplace.

Alvin Journeyman picks up the story of Alvin (usually referred to as Smith or Maker, from his occupation and magical gifting respectively) where the previous books left off, and carri
Sep 14, 2012 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm well and hooked on this series now. I love the ease with which Card writes in dialect and the sort of rant that the narrator goes on in the first chapter. What was tough about this one is that I really hate misunderstandings that build and build through a story based on gossip and or lies and it's hard for me to stomach witch-hunt type trials, so what Alvin faces in this book grated on me. It's also rough to watch him be so clueless about the jealousy of his brother Calvin and just watch tha ...more
Jun 27, 2009 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For quite some time now, I have been trying to pinpoint the exact date when one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card, officially made the jump from writing understated, powerful novels about fundamentally good, human, exquisitely rendered characters in fantastical settings, to writing over-analyzed crap with too much dialogue, too much pontificating about political machinations and without a single bloody word edited out.

Having read both Prentice Alvin and Alvin Journeyman within the past 24
Feb 25, 2014 Luisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luisa by: Luiz Letti
The title to this one is a bit misleading, I guess, considering that Alvin barely journeys at all in the book. However, a lot of interesting things do happen in that one place he's in most of the time. Calvin is just getting stranger and a bit crazy even. Romance is more visible on this book, as are the subtler intreagues of the Unmaker. I dunno. More talk, less action, but still fun. I really enjoy the new character, the Lawyer from England. He sounds like a good person and I love his rhetoric ...more
Trudging through the first chapter I wanted to scream. If I didn't already know that I enjoy reading books by this author I would have tossed the book. I'm sure as I continue through the story this memory will fade, but ... I just started the book, and the pain is still fresh.


But now it's finished, and that was good reading--especially the legal bit with the court case. I liked how it was wrapped up where much of the trouble started, where Mr. Dowser had said for the well to be dug.
Jan 22, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the judge in the trial scenes. Some great character development all through the town of Hatrack River. Loved the nasty, jealous brother, Calvin (not his nastiness, just for the drama he created). However, I just have not warmed up to Peggy. Last time I liked her was in Book 2. I can't give away what happened to her in Book 3, but read it yourself and tell me whether you agree or not.

Also, every time the story veers toward the Red Man, I say to myself, "Huh? What? How much longer do I have
Jul 24, 2009 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, maps
Yeap, just kept getting sillier. More extraneous characters, more side plots for the sake of drawing things out, less progress toward the resolution of the series.

Suddenly, Card introduces a third person framing narrative in the opening and closing chapters of the fourth book of the series. Why? Ask him.

Not sure if I'll read any more. Card is a great storyteller, but he has unraveled his story so badly that I'm not terribly interested how it ends.
Margy Levine Young
If you enjoy the Ender series, be sure to read the Alvin Maker series.
Mar 22, 2017 JP rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
This time around Alvin is on trial. Not even kidding. Most of the book is taken up by Alvin going back to stand trial for 'stealing' the golden plow from Makepeace. It's actually a surprisingly decently plot and we get a lot more worldbuilding, including two different viewpoints in Europe. In one, we have a lawyer with a knack of his own who wants to learn from Alvin and looks to be a new main character. In the other, Alvin's brother Calvin's adventures in France, meeting Napoleon.

Scot Eaton
Not the best book in the Alvin Maker series, but certainly still worth reading. The characters are great, but the plot is a bit lacking. This was the necessary outcome of the plot holes introduced into the last 2 chapters of book 3. Had I written the series, I probably would have cut this one out entirely. I'm not sorry to have read it though.
Dec 19, 2013 Samuel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So continues my reading of the Tales of Alvin Maker: book 4 of 6. In this segment of the story, Alvin returns to Hatrack River where Makepeace, his former Master who took him on as a 'prentice, has him jailed and tried for gold theft: Alvin's "living" golden plow that he made out of Makepeace's iron for his Journeyman piece. Perhaps the biggest let down in this installment is that Alvin really is not much of a "Journeyman" here. The majority of the action revolves around Alvin in jail and on tri ...more
Craig Williams
Aug 11, 2009 Craig Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had been awhile since I read the last book in this series, Prentice Alvin, so I went in hoping I wouldn't have to refer to Wikipedia too much about the details of what happened in the last book, in case my memory failed me (as it often does). Fortunately, the only thing I have forgotten about Orson Scott Card is how deftly he is able to refresh the reader's memory on such things without breaking up the narrative. I was able to enjoy this book without even a glimpse of a Wikipedia cheat sheet. ...more
An entertaining book in a series which nevertheless is perhaps already a bit too long.

Homecoming is the longest OSC series I've read this far, and that one certainly got progressively worse towards the end, so that the final book was just plain miserable. I don't know what's going to happen with Alvin the Maker series, but so far even though it's managed to maintain its quality (more or less), I'm not sure how long it can keep doing it. I started to feel that it's turning into a multi-season TV
Jul 01, 2010 Rusty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Victory of Eagles, A Novel of Temeraire, by Naomi Novak (recognizable historical mileu): Thoroughly enjoyed this story of Napoleon's invasion of Britain and how dragons, led by Temeraire, and his captain, Will Laurence, help the British repel the French, who have their own dragon force. While Napoleon escapes, by dragon flight, of course, Temeraire and Laurence are sent to Australia. Both have been removed from military service because they rescued the dragons of France from a debilitating and l ...more
Alyssa Nelson
This is one of the best alternate history series I've ever read. It's clever, well-researched, and incredibly entertaining. For those of you who know your early American history, you will appreciate Card's rendition of mid-nineteenth century America. What I appreciate the most about this series is the writing. It's clean and efficient, and he trusts his reader. Despite all the information he throws at you, he doesn't stop and take the time to explain every little detail; he trusts that you'll pi ...more
Chip Hunter
Dec 30, 2016 Chip Hunter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Card's return to the story of Alvin Maker came more than five years after the publication of Prentice Alvin. He says that he wasn't sure he would ever come back and finish the tale, but after being repeatedly urged to do so by fans, decided to give it a go. In this book, the story slows down dramatically, focusing on a seemingly periphery storyline and stalling the overall direction of where Alvin's life is going. While some important events take place here, the pace of the story doesn't progres ...more
Nathan Burgoine
Note: I won't be finishing this series, given the author's homophobic stance - I'm not going to fill his pockets. But these were my thoughts on the book before I knew how horrible a man the author was:

Quite happily, this book had quite a bit of Calvin (Alvin's younger brother, who, since Alvin's eldest brother died just after Alvin was born, is also a seventh son of a seventh son). Calvin Maker is extremely jealous of Alvin's abilities (and is poisoned to the thought of trying to even match Alvi
Miz Lizzie
Alvin returns home to Vigor Church with Arthur Stuart, the "mixup" boy, to start teaching folks how to be Makers in an attempt to find a way to build the Crystal City of his vision. His younger brother Calvin, also a seventh son of a seventh son, bitterly resents Alvin. Instead of learning how to be a Maker from Alvin, Calvin spitefully heads out on his own journey to find a way to destroy all that Alvin is attempting to do. In the meantime, Makepeace Smith has not forgotten that golden plow Alv ...more
Mukta Mohapatra
Apr 01, 2015 Mukta Mohapatra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since Vigor was dead when Calvin was born, he is also the seventh son of a seventh son. Why does Alvin get so much attention and praise when Calvin has very similar powers?

Calvin's resentment and jealousy are driving him to try and destroy Alvin. Calvin goes East to France to learn from Napoleon while Alvin goes West to try and get help from Ta-kumsaw.

Peggy sends Alvin a letter because she sees danger if he doesn't leave home right away. He is trying to teach the people of Vigor Church to become
Tony duncan
Mar 07, 2008 Tony duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that like involved plots and characters about good and evil
I read the original book maybe 20 years ago and loved it. I haven;t read fiction for a good 10 years and this was my first plunge back into science fiction.

While simplistic in some ways this is a beautiful grand narrative. An alternative history where magic is real and is based on folk magic form the 198th century. An america that came about without wiping out the native Americnas and where the south remained a loyal colony for years longer than the US. An Iriquois nation part of the US, and wes
Jun 02, 2013 Christophe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compagnon forgeron, compagnon Faiseur, Alvin est de retour chez les siens. Mais quelle est sa tâche aujourd'hui ? " Je ne peux pas apprendre aux gens comment bâtir la Cité de Cristal si je ne sais pas moi même de quoi il s'agit. " La Cité de Cristal : la vision dans la tornade du lac Mizogan, en compagnie du prophète des Rouges. Si peu des chemins de sa vie y conduisent ; Peggy Larner - Peggy la torche - le sait bien. Et l'ennemi de toujours choisit à présent des voies plus subtiles pour le dét
Tim Giauque
Jul 29, 2012 Tim Giauque rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another exciting chapter in the Tales of Alvin Maker. This one focuses on another plot against Alvin by his old master, Makepeace Smith. Much of the plot revolves around Alvin defending himself from allegations of theft and inappropriate contact with a young girl. A few new characters and storylines make appearances, including Verily Cooper, an Englishman who had the unfortunate luck of growing up with a knack in a country where people like him could be put to death; and Alvin's little brother C ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Brittle Innings
  • Earthquake Weather (Fault Lines, #3)
  • Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show
  • 1812: The Rivers of War (Trail of Glory, #1)
  • Fortress of Dragons (Fortress, #4)
  • Winter in Eden (West of Eden, #2)
  • Soldier of the Mist
  • The Rainbow Abyss (Sun-Cross, #1)
  • Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder
  • Robota
  • Driving Blind
  • Lammas Night
  • Blood & Iron (American Empire, #1)
  • Raphael (Damiano, #3)
  • The Innkeeper's Song
  • The Healer's War
  • Elizabeth the Seventh Grader (Sweet Valley Twins, #85)
  • The Blackgod (Children of the Changeling, #2)
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)
  • Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker, #5)
  • The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, #6)

Share This Book

“Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.” 218 likes
“Everything possible to be believed is an image of truth." -Taleswapper ” 12 likes
More quotes…