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Prentice Alvin

(Tales of Alvin Maker #3)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  17,474 ratings  ·  332 reviews
The Tales of Alvin Maker series continues in volume three, Prentice Alvin. Young Alvin returns to the town of his birth, and begins his apprenticeship with Makepeace Smith, committing seven years of his life in exchange for the skills and knowledge of a blacksmith. But Alvin must also learn to control and use his own talent, that of a Maker, else his destiny will be unfulf ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published January 3rd 1991 by Orbit (first published 1989)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  17,474 ratings  ·  332 reviews

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Question: How is reading a sequel to a book you loved similar to a restroom visit after “Spicy Night” at the Taco Emporium?

Answer:...Both require you to manage your expectations and BE PREPARED.

Well, stupid toss-pot that I am, I broke the cardinal rule of sequels and went hopscotching headlong into this book with my mental gas mask safely stowed up on the top shelf behind the untouched can of “use your brain” spray.

And it happened...

...I got a stinging, gut-twisting case of "the sequels"..
2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

This has to be one of the oddest fantasy series that I have ever read. O.S. Card gives early American history his own strange, imaginative torque. Cross Pilgrim’s Progress with the Belgariad, add in a dash of chemistry, alchemy, and magic, and you get this weird combination of the chosen one quest tale and religious allegory.

Alvin is definitely a “chosen one” with characteristics of Jesus and Joseph Smith both. His quest is to become a Maker, kind of an apprentice crea
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans, and alternate-world fans
As the above description indicates, this installment of the series finds Alvin at a transitional stage of his life, learning how (and how not) to use his unique powers as a Maker, in the service of the vision of the Crystal City which Tenskwa-Tawa, the Prophet, showed him as a child. But it also marks a transitional time in the life of Peggy, the "torch" (seer) whose destiny has been entwined with his since she was a toddler five years old. Her visions of possible futures are manifold, depending ...more
Orson Scott Card is one of those writers who seems to have great ideas for how to begin sagas but can quickly lose focus sometime around the third book. I found this to be the case with the Ender saga, which had two superb initial installments before a third novel that signalled a slow but eventual decline in quality.

As I read the Alvin Maker saga, I am worried the same thing may be happenening here. I'm not sure if I'd read this one before. There were moments in the story that I kept having an
Mar 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, i-own-ebook
In the introduction Card suggests that the short story that led to the creation of this series is contained within this novel. Something about a golden plough, which will all make sense to you when you read the novel. And that kinda shows. This book feels more developed than the previous two, more thorough, more thought through and better paced. Having read that introduction, and this novel, the previous two books start to feel a bit like a really long prequel. But, a prequel that Card really wa ...more
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have to switch services (hoopla to libby/overdrive) to find this on audio, but it IS available.

Adventures in Alvin's psuedo-LDS, magic-centered "American" frontier. Alvin growing strength as a Maker gains him new allies, brings old ones back into his life, and creates enemies both national and personal.
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Folks
Recommended to Heather by: Jeremy
I enjoyed the story, but once again Card relies too much on coincidence. Characters just happen to do what they need to for the story to work, though it doesn't make sense -- for example, Alvin and Miss Larner falling in love. He just didn't convince me of that one. And he saves himself the trouble of explaining how Alvin came to trust in Miss Larner above anyone else by simply leaving that part out. None of that stops me from finishing out the series, though. I'm dying to see how it all turns o ...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Posted at FanLit.

Prentice Alvin is the third book in Orson Scott Card’s TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. After the excitement in the last book, Red Prophet, when Alvin and his family experienced the Battle of Tippecanoe, Alvin is finally off to Hatrack River, where he was born, to begin his apprenticeship to Makepeace Smith, the blacksmith. He’s also hoping that Peggy, the Torch who watches over him, can help him figure out what it means to be a Maker because he’s h
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book is another good step along the story arc, but what keeps me from rating it higher is the author's version of philosophy that permeates the series and pulls me away from the story.

His philosophy seems to mingle religion and his personal views and sentiments. This philosophy doesn't seem to be presented as a fantasy philosophy, but as a real philosophy. This may be what is done in most books, but it feels far from reality, yet presented as truth. I can't reconcile it.

What's more, there
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think I really appreciate Card's work as a break from Stephen King's Dark Tower. It's epic and rich and a very American fantasy with violence and evil people and forces in it but still lighter than King. This being a middle book it's quite a bit of... not set up but plot thickening I guess and I'm still connecting with the characters and excited to see where it goes. I also appreciate that Card shows scorn for religious hypocrites without dismissing entire religions like Mists of Avalon seemed ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alvin is finally starting to understand what it means to be a Maker. A lot more drama going on than on the other books, but a lot more adventure too. I am curious about the possibilities of Alvin's future here, and of Alvin's love. I simply adore Arthur Stuart. He's so sweet and loveable :)
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm really enjoying this series and am still wondering how I never got to these sooner. Prentice Alvin is as riveting and interesting as the first two books and the characters continue to be interesting and the story enlightening. I'm eager to get the next book!
Miss Stamm
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels, fiction, fantasy
I really liked the first two Alvin Maker books, even though from the beginning there were some niggling things that were bothering me. It's a fantasy set in an alternate history America--which is a lot of what had made it so fun. Things seem to have split off from our Timeline at least by the time of the English Civil War. There's a Lord Protector in 1800--but also a (much truncated) United States, without slavery and with Native Americans who are full citizens. (There is still slavery in a riva ...more
Alice Lee
Aug 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this one a bit more than the first two, and would've given it a 3.5 instead of 3 if I could. It doesn't deserve a 4, however. Having been a long time OSC reader, I surprisingly sit on the fence when it comes to my opinion of him. He's written two of the best books I've read, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. There are a few VERY good ones, like Lovelock. And then, there's some atrocious pieces, like the last two of the Ender series, or Songmaster. In addition, his writing can be any ...more
'Nathan Burgoine
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
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:

Alvin has begun his "prenticeship" and though he comes to Hattrack river mostly to speak to the girl, Peggy, who, as a torch, had the ability to show him his futures and is likely the only person who can help him figure out how to be a real Maker, she flees before he even arrives.

This is a split st
The series continues with solid levels of quality: Alvin has begun his "prenticeship" and though he comes to Hattrack river mostly to speak to the girl, Peggy, who, as a torch, had the ability to show him his futures and is likely the only person who can help him figure out how to be a real Maker, she flees before he even arrives.

This is a split story for most of the duration, flickering from Alvin on one side, to Peggy on the other, and converging near the end. Alvin's apprenticeship is very i
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maps, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have never dreamed of cities made of crystal. But once you start constructing things out of atoms, well, that is just what one is ought to do.

hard not to love a body who loves you so powerful, who hangs onto you like clouds hanging onto the moon


You can be sorry, and you can be forgiven, but you can't call back the futures that your bad decisions lost.


“But there's only one way I can think of, offhand.”

“Brother Cavil, I'm not sure if I can take up
May 28, 2008 rated it liked it
I would probably give this book a 3.5 stars, but it wouldn't let me, so it only gets three. OK, here's my take. If you can get through the first 2 books, book 3 is where it starts to get really good. I wouldn't say that it's "can't put the book down" good (at least not until the very end), but still interesting. The characters are well developed, which is probably why books 1 & 2 seem so boring because those are the books in which the development takes place, and the story well told. Warning: Th ...more
Rebecca Workman
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I think Mr Card has an amazing talent for exploring characters and offering insight into human struggles. This particular book gets a little racy compared to the first two but certainly extremely tasteful and poignant in the choices of when to use such scenes to keep them useful but not irksome. I loved the book. His storytelling powers are awe-inspiring. His fantastical creation is delicious. His alternate history relieves the pressure actual history books out on me to figure out if I trust an ...more
Ben Lund
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't know what it is about this series, but it's so very addictive to read. Alvin is very similar to Ender from "Enders Game", but in this book he grows up, it covers his apprenticeship that was supossed to happen in book 2, so the book takes care of 7 years to get things moving. And it shows Alvin growing into his power. There is still the occasional reference to the authors Mormon background, which doesn't bother me, but it is peppered in here and there. There is more happening in this book ...more
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cheesy fantasy lovers
Shelves: cheesyfantasy
This book - nay, this whole series - from the cover to the writing, made me think the title should have been "The Blacksmith's Arms" and pictured Fabio on the front of it. The fantasy aspect of it was interesting and actually kept you engaged, but the description of Alvin's physique and his romance with whats-'er-face made me think this was co-written with Nicholas Sparks. I didn't read the last book in the series, and I don't know if I will.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable entry in the Alvin Maker series. This one moved forward at a more satisfying pace than the previous two (or at least it felt like it) but I still was a little annoyed at the broken language writing style depending on who was the subject of the chapter. The Ender and Shadow series are more thought-provoking and have more character depth. But this series is still a nice diversion "in the past" rather than the future.
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
I almost didn't get past the first chapter of this book but it did get better. If it wasn't part of a series, I wouldn't have bothered, but I'm still intrigued by Card's use of symbolism and LDS references in trying to create an American mythology.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: series
I just couldn't face another one. The religious parallels got just to sickeningly blatant.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
As I’ve been reading through the Tales of Alvin Maker series, I have found it interesting to see what big societal issues have been covered so far. While  Seventh Son  tackled religion and  Red Prophet  delved into politics and war, Prentice Alvin bit off a big chunk of racism and tried to address it in a way that’s half fantasy and half historical fiction. Sure, there’s still some semblance of the religion content present in this book that informs the racism dialogue. Still, these large iss ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
On one hand, Prentice Alvin feels quite a lot like the previous two Alvin Maker stories. We have a continuation of the alternate timeline, this time dealing with how apprenticeships and slavery work in this world. We learn more about the town where Alvin was born, which we haven't seen in a while, including Peggy--the torch who has been keeping an eye on him this entire time.

On the other hand, it doesn't feel like the story went anywhere. Alvin learns a bit more about his powers, but it's mostl
Luke Paulsen
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure about the first two Alvin Maker books. The idea of an alternate-history American with folk magic was cool, sure, and Card's determination to grapple with the ugly issues of early (and modern) America was impressive. But the storytelling sometimes strayed into wooden, preachy territory, and the overall mythos didn't quite seem coherent. Prentice Alvin was noticeably better. Not that anything about the style of the series has changed-- the tone, topics, and style are all the same. Bu ...more
Matt Marchand
Book 3 in the Alvin Maker series was a good book. I think that those who enjoyed the first two will enjoy this one as well, but there doesn't seem to be a solid anchor holding this series together. Sure there is Alvin and "Ms. Larner" some old characters involved but I felt like this story was caught in an eddy between being plot driven and character driven; neither side being terribly inspiring. If your reading a review for book 3 without reading the other two, you deserve the spoiler, the whol ...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

Other books in the series

Tales of Alvin Maker (8 books)
  • Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1)
  • Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker, #2)
  • Alvin Journeyman (Tales of Alvin Maker, #4)
  • Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker, #5)
  • The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, #6)
  • Master Alvin
  • Seventh Son and Red Prophet

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