Now I Remember Why I Loved the Alvin Maker Books

Finished the Crystal City last week as well. Man, I had forgotten how much I just loved this series. In setting up Alvin Maker in an alternate reality, Card offers a chance to look at the life of a Joseph Smith analogue and see the humanity that we tend to look past when talking about great people. Alvin's a man given a great responsibility, but he's still just that- a man. He stumbles, makes mistakes, doubts himself and wonders if he's doing what he should.

The thing that really hit me the most was how driven Alvin is to find out what his purpose is, how he fits in with the grand scheme. He has these talents and is DESPERATELY seeking an answer to how he should use them. I dunno, that really struck me. It seems like that's a big part of what I'm being taught right now: that there's a purpose and I need to be searching it out. I need to dream and then make it real.

Another thing that's really great about a Card book is his ability to flesh out any character. Even throwaway characters like - forgot his name, but he's Lincoln's friend, gets his wallet lifted, anyway... - has a distinct voice and motivation. I really loved Calvin's character, a real wonderful foil to Alvin: totally self-indulgent and scruple-less compared to Alvin's selfless conscience. It would have been really to wite him as a madman, or just out-and-out evil, but Card manages to flesh him out and we see the human inside him. Truly evil people don't think they're evil. Calvin sees his worldview as totally acceptable - power is to be used, not controlled. If you can do something, why not do it, right?

This book works as an alternate history book, a fantasy book and as religious allegory. Well-played Brother Card.

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