The fourth installment in the Alvin Maker series is filled with uncharacteristically boring stretches. In retrospect I can see why some of these seemingly unimportant moments were necessary for the climax of the book, but I'm not convinced that it couldn't be 1/3rd shorter. Perhaps all long-running series are doomed to summarize the previous books as they go. Those might not have bothered me as much were I not reading the series back to back.
Still, Card always has some beautiful philosophical argument to make. Alvin's trials are all-too-similar to my own. What do you do when you know in your heart you're doing the right thing, but society demonizes you for it? Tough argument. And Card digs deep. I'm still excited for the rest of them. I hear it gets quite fine from here on out.