Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
No matter my thoughts about his politics, I just can't quit Orson Scott Card. I refuse to pick up his books in paper (or e-paper) form, and insist on listening to them read aloud, usually by voices I've come to know and love through repeated listenings of the Ender Saga. Since Card claims he writes with this in mind, I figure it increases the authenticity of the tale. Besides, it stops me from noticing typos and bad editing, which always pull me from a story.
I know that the Alvin Maker saga is meant to be loosely based on the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. I can't decide if it's better or worse for me that I don't know the details of LDS history. Better, probably, because I'm not constantly analyzing the plot, trying to spot the preaching (which I do with the latter Ender books, and it always tarnishes them a little for me). Though I wonder what lovely allegories I am missing. Though not a Christian, I'm always interested in the Christian allegories I find in popular literature. So maybe they're worse for it.
Maybe it's better just to take the book as it is, a tale like so many of Card's, of a bright young boy with a fantastic talent and too much responsibility for his age. The setting of 18th century colonial America almost doesn't matter to the plot. Sure, there is a certain amount of naming convention (with kids named Vigor, Measure, Waste-Not and Want-Not, and so on) and religious fervor only rivaled by today's neo-conservatives, but really, again as most of Card's work, this is a story not about place, but about people.
I'm hoping the series will hold me over until the release of the next Mithermages and Pathfinder books. It kept me engaged, made the time slip away while I worked on my own household chores, and left me eager to borrow the next book in the series from my library's digital library. Really, what more can you ask for?
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