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Prentice Alvin (Tales of Alvin Maker, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – December 15, 1989

4.3 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A country schoolteacher and the child of a runaway slave find their destinies entwined with that of Alvin Miller, whose talent for "making" has marked him for destruction by the evil force known as the Unmaker. Card's epic tale of a magical, alternate America demonstrates his skill in graceful storytelling. Recommended, along with Seventh Son and Red Prophet , for most fantasy collections.-- JC
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A tribute to the art of storytelling. . . highly recommended.” ―Library Journal

“Card has uncovered a rich vein of folklore and magic here, to which his assured handling of old time religion and manifest love of children is admirably suited: an appealing and intriguing effort.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A beguiling book. . . robust but reflective blend of folktale, history, parable and personal testimony, pioneer narrative. The series promises to be a story of deep delight.” ―Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Series: Alvin Maker (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; later printing edition (December 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812502124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812502121
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 19, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
PRENTICE ALVIN is the third volume of "The Tales of Alvin Maker", Orson Scott Card's alternate history of an America which looks quite different from our own and in which fol magic is real. After his travels with Ta-Kumsaw in RED PROPHET, the young protagonist finally reaches his birthplace Hatrack River, where he is to become an apprentice smith.

As with RED PROPHET, the first 40 or so pages introduces the reader to faraway events that nonetheless are to have great effects on Alvin's life. Having shown the turmoil of the Native Americans under the westward migration of White settlers, Card now turns to America's other suffering people, the Black slaves in the Crown Colonies and Appalachee, and a slave owner who receives terrible instructions from Alvin's archenemy, the Unmaker. Alvin may have caught a glimpse of his destiny as a Maker from Tenskwa-Tawa in RED PROPHET, but in PRENTICE ALVIN he comes to learn exactly how to harness his knack and how he will eventually build the Crystal City.

While I enjoy this series, I found PRENTICE ALVIN to be a low point. Alvin arrives in Hatrack River seeming like a normal 11 year-old boy, but you'd think his year-long adventure with Ta-Kumsaw in RED PROPHET, who took him from Lake Superior to Florida and everywhere in between, would have made more of a mark. And while the novel can be read speedily, it still seems too long and full of awkward meditations. The violent ending and unveiling of Peggy also seems unbelievable.

Nonetheless, these form no reason for me to not recommend The Tales of Alvin Maker, I find this an immensely entertaining series and PRENTICE ALVIN has its place.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Card's Alvin Maker series is a meditation on human extremes. Extreme evil, extreme good--along with magic. Card lets us see the best and worst in people, and yet, his villains are not completely evil and his good guys aren't completely perfect. A "maker" in the mythology of this series, is like being a Jesus. I like the explanation for how walking on water is done. Great book. I recommend this whole series. You can pick up any book along the way and not be disadvantaged.
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I have enjoyed the story of Alvin so far and intend to continue reading to find out what happens to him and to Crystal City.
I would like to warn potential readers though to stay away from the "Kindle Edition, November 30, 2009" version of the book as it is full of annoying typos.
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Orson Scott Card is a great f&sf author. To my mind, this was perhaps the most entertaining of the Alvin Maker series, containing the beginnings of many of the most important sequences of events in the series. Hard to say more without spoilers.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 interesting, but it is Peggy's story I'm really starting to enjoy more. Peggy is a torch - someone with the knack to see futures in the heartfires of folk, and her own future is intertwined with Alvin's. But when she sees that her own future is a loveless one if she waits for Alvin to arrive, she does the unthinkable - she runs away, to find a way to at least have love for Alvin, if not love from him. Her determination to thwart her own gifts of futuresight is a joy to read, and her strength of character - somewhat rare for female characters in a lot of fantasy works - is a nice change. Very enjoyable.

So is where the tale ends, with a bit more magic than usual, and a set-up for the next story that I'm glad I didn't have to wait years for - like all the other folk who've been reading this series since book one.

'Nathan
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
These books are some of Card's best work. In my opinion they are better books than his more famous Ender series. They do for North America what The Lord of the Rings did for England - they create a new mythology for a geographical area (although in this case the mythology is also an alternate history). Card weaves an invented fantasy universe with American folklore of all kinds, from native tribal religion to European and American folk superstition and sorcery. Alvin, a young immigrant, is born under a host of omens and signs. He is the seventh son of a seventh son, and becomes intertwined with the destiny of the American frontier. He finds that he is the most important figure in the battle against that which he calls the Unmaker. Throughout the course of the book he attempts to quell the tide of entropy by "making" things. He unites people of many races, and tries to bind humanity together as he becomes increasingly aware of the spirit around him that ties everything - the land, the people, and the unfolding of history - together
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If it had 10 stars available I would rate it ten... What an amazing writer Orson Scott Card is, everything just comes to life in his writings and you feel like the book is gripping you and dragging you along with the characters themselves.
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