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Heartfire: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume V [Format Kindle]

Orson Scott Card
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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This is the fifth novel in Orson Scott Card's popular Alvin the Maker series, based on an alternate America where some people are born with knacks, which resemble magical abilities. The protagonist of the series, Alvin, is a maker who not only can fix things (such as restoring a wounded bird to health with his doodlebug) but is also something of a natural leader. Alvin and his small band of followers are on a quest to build the Crystal City, a place where those who have knacks can live in safety from the people who sometimes burn them as witches. While Alvin visits the nearly holy province of New England to find out just how cities work, his wife Margaret, traveling under the name Peggy, journeys to the kingdom of Camelot, which was formerly known as Charleston, South Carolina. There she hopes to persuade the exiled King Arthur to help her abolish the practice of slavery. Heartfire is an excellent midseries novel that's sure to delight fans of Alvin. --Craig E. Engler

From Publishers Weekly

Fifth in Hugo and Nebula winner Card's immensely popular Tales of Alvin Maker, this installment of alternative American history centers around two grievous social wrongs. Arthur Stuart, exiled King of England, reigns in Camelot (Charleston), capital of the slaveholding southern Crown Colonies; in New England, meanwhile, "witchers" connive to execute anyone with the "knack," the ability to connect to the powers of the universe. Just before civil war erupts, telekinetic Alvin and his historical friends, such as John James Audubon, and legendary ones, such as riverman Mike Fink, set about to abolish New England's antiwitch laws, while Alvin's wife and mentor, Margaret, uses her ability to read human souls to offer the hope of freedom to the Colonies' slaves and to heal Alvin's malevolent brother before he can kill her husband. Card's antebellum settings, dialogue and historical figures seem authentic and thoroughly researched, and, as always, he offers excellent differentiation of characters. However, Card is as occasionally windy and preachy as ever, and the plethora of lengthy philosophical and/or psychological digressions make for considerably less fictional sizzle than fizzle. Consider this a good bet for fans of the series, but not for a wider readership.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Orson Scott Card (né et vivant aux Etats-Unis) est l'un des aute urs de science-fiction (la série Ender), de fantasy (les chroniques d'Alvin le faiseur) et de romans historiques les plus connus, lus et estimés dans le monde. Il a remporté le prix Hugo et le prix Nébula deux années consécutives, pour La Stratégie Ender et sa suite, La voix des morts, exploit sans précédent.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent 8 juillet 2003
Format:Poche
Now the characters are all grown up, Alvin is even married but far from settled. He has to travel to discover the way to build the cristal city and so does he, meeting few believers and few makers on the way. Peggy follows her own path and mission and Calvin shows is true colors. When you think you will reach the end, that it is time now for you to get a glimpse of the cristal city, the tale bounces again and lead you to another path. You finish this 5th book more puzzled than you've ever been and I cannot wait to get the answers to all my questions... This book is full of answers but it is still not enough. The 6th is on its way (nov 2003) and the title being "the cristal city" I suspect we will get there in the end. Once again: I cannot wait.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 étoiles sur 5  81 commentaires
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 The fire burns low. 14 novembre 2000
Par Andrew X. Lias - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
A long while ago, I came across an curious and interesting short story about the birth of a seventh son of a seventh son and I thought to myself that Card had created something truly special. More short stories came out and then a book, and I was a very happy reader. Then more books came out, followed by a hiatus.
After the hiatus, there seemed to be a bit of a drop in quality, but I wrote it off. Not every book can be a gem. Heartfire, unfortunately, is representative of a much more telling decline.
When I read Heartfire and compare it to the first books, one thing in particular stands out in contrast: the original stories were populated with interesting people who DID interesting things and who had interesting things HAPPEN to them. The twists and turns of the plots were surprising and enjoyable. By contrast, very little happens in Heartfire, other than people talking. And they do talk. They talk about philosophy, about what their circumstances, about things that they need to do, about *talking*, and about how they need to stop talking so that they can get a go on. There is lots (!) of dialog, but precious little ever happens. It is, quite literally, 150 pages into the story before any sort of discernable event actually occurs to anyone. And even when that occurs, it ultimately ends up leading to scads of more dialog and a weak as water resolution.
I realize that Card loves his characters, nor can I fault him for that given that he's managed to create some very distinct and interesting individuals, but it does a disservice to them, and to the work as a whole, if they do nothing more than stand around explaining themselves to each other ad nauseum.
It *was* a great series, but I honestly think that Card has lost his way. I think that he has a general idea of where he wants it to end, but no idea of how to get there. Heartfire seems to be nothing less than an attempt to stall his readers while he tries to figure that out. I'm sorry, but it's not fair for him to ask us to pay for the privilege of waiting for him to manage that task, nor do I think that I'll be spending anymore money to do so. Heartfire is a fading ember and I think that it can lead to nothing but cold ashes.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 It's a good book but I'm getting frustrated. 16 juin 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
This latest in the Alvin Maker series is, like all of Card's writing, entertaining, thoughtful and contains elegant prose. Unfortunately, the only reasons for this installment seem to be the exposition of the alternate America--we already get it, I think--and the introduction of new "disciples"--enough already! The half of the book that covers Alvin's experience with New England witchcraft laws would be far more interesting if most of this moral territory hadn't been covered so thoroughly in Seventh Son. Purity is an interesting new character, but there are already enough major characters in this saga. I think most readers, like me, are itching for some progress toward the Crystal City, assuming that Card intends to take the series that far. We can only hope that later installments will reveal a vital purpose for each of the "good guys". Much more interesting was the part set in Camelot--Card's concept of the name-taking is quite good. We do see some change in Calvin's heart after he nearly dies, I think. But still, at the end, the only definite change in anybody's situation is that Alvin will have a couple more followers. The one non-plot related complaint I have is that some of the dialogue--especially the banter in the opening chapters--is a little tiresome. It's better later, though. If you like Card or have read the previous books in the series you should read this book. It's not as good as some others in the series but still a darn good read. If you haven't read any of the Alvin Maker series DON'T START HERE, it will just confuse you. All in all, this book meets Card's high standards--it just fails to meet some of the longtime reader's expectations.
18 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 After Ender and Homecoming, Card destroys yet another series 3 septembre 2002
Par Christopher Culver - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
HEARTFIRE, the fifth book in Orson Scott Card's "Tales of Alvin Maker" series, is a travesty. Card has ruined this formerly interesting history of an alternate America and Mormon allegory. HEARTFIRE kills the series that came before it like CHILDREN OF THE MIND destroyed the Ender Quartet and EARTHBORN wiped out the Homecoming novels.
At the end of ALVIN JOURNEYMAN, Alvin and Peg Guester were wed and travelled to the home of the Weavers in Appalachee. The beginning of HEARTFIRE sees them departed on separate journeys, Peg has gone to the Crown Colonies to find a way to stop the oncoming war over slavery, while Alvin is wandering around the Northeast and eventually finds himself on trial (again) for witchcraft in Puritan-controlled New England.
There is so much wrong with this novel. The plot is sloppily resolved, and indeed it could be said that Peg's half of the story isn't resolved at all but simply abandoned. Card wraps up Alvin's trial in a mere two pages as if he has grown tired of writing this installment. Calvin's redemption seems like it never progressed past the draft stage. In order to hide his shabby plot and silly characterization, Card stoops to a prurient sex scene where Calvin forces himself on a resisting-but-willing dame like something out of a romance novel (of course, that's what the awful cover art makes the book look like).
Alvin Maker is now essentially omnipotent, communicating telepathically with Peg across huge distances and able to run the entire length of the East Coast in a single night (funny how Card constantly talks about how the greensong is too weak now, but has Alvin perform such deeds). This makes Alvin considerably less interesting as a protagonist, as there are no surprises or suspense. Gene Wolfe, in his Book of the New Sun cycle, was wise enough to end the series after the apotheosis of his hero Severian. Card, however, is going to drag us through two more volumes with this unbelievable character.
Ironically, however, Alvin doesn't figure very much in his own series anymore. Most of the novel relates the thoughts of Peg, Calvin, and Verily Cooper. Alvin is reduced to an "aw, shucks" country boy cameo. There's absolutely *no* progress in this novel towards the building of the Crystal City.
I used to recommend The Tales of Alvin Maker, its first two volumes were very entertaining, but after RED PROPHET it's become worse with every volume. I daresay I'd now recommend avoiding this series.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This can't be the end! 29 août 2000
Par Abigail Fair - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
I feel like Romeo, crying to OSC, "Oh, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?" And he/Juliet replies, all innocent, "What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?" To which I reply, "Book VI!!"
Unlike most readers of Orson Scott Card, I found myself in the odd (and, I suppose, somewhat enviable) position of having a week of free time and discovering the Alvin Maker series with five books in it. So, for the last eight days, I have literally been living in his alternate America. I was utterly captivated by the books: "Seventh Son," "Red Prophet," "Prentice Alvin," "Alvin Journeyman," and now "Heartfire." I read them so quickly and so close together that I can't really review them as separate books; this is sort-of my review of the whole series (up to this point).
In this version of America, there are three separate countries on the east coast (New England, Appalachee, and the US), plus the Crown Colonies of the south that are still tied to England. Almost everyone has some sort of supernatural "knack." Alvin, the main character, is the seventh son of a seventh son and the most powerful man anyone's seen in a long time. He's on a quest to build Utopia -- the "Crystal City" -- but he doesn't know how he's going to do that (and perhaps OSC doesn't either). While the first two books were mostly about the Red-White conflict, the next three have been about the Black-White conflict -- specifically, abolitionists against the supporters of slavery. The next book will probably involve the Civil War, as Peggy (Alvin's wife, a "torch" who can see possible futures in people's "heartfires") was unable to prevent it.
Any reader who hasn't read the first four books will be hopelessly confused, so don't even bother -- go read the first four! In book five, while I liked knowing what was going on and getting to know Calvin, Verily, and Peggy better, I did miss some of the old friends (like Takum-Sa, Taleswapper, and the Vigor Church folks). I can't call into question the wisdom of plot choice, as some other reviewers have, because I assume Card still has a handle on where he's going (we can only hope); although I wasn't quite sure why Alvin had to go to jail again. Perhaps a subtle reminder that people don't like what they can't defeat. I found the Camelot storyline to be quite interesting, and I thought that this book had the series' best dialogue. Toward the end, it seemed like Alvin was invincible; I'm glad for Calvin's spark of redemption (I hope it will stick), and I enjoyed the scenes of Alvin's triumph, but...
I think he has enough disciples now. Get us to the Crystal City, and do it soon!
(As a sidenote, I think that questioning Card's intelligence because of his choice of religion is uncalled-for. I think that most religions seem ridiculous to those who don't believe in them.)
17 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 With personal Insight, I enjoyed it. But others may not. 5 juillet 2001
Par Christine Rasmussen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) this series has been particularly intriguing to me. I know that others have stated that it is loosely based on the experiences of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I would like to point out some of those interesting parallels as close as I understand them.
First, many of the characters in the book are based on, or composite characters of important figures in Mormon History. Of course Alvin Smith is based on the Prophet Joseph Smith. (who was also curiously named after his father even though he was not the first born son). Measure is clearly based on Hyrum Smith who stood stalwartly by Joseph's side until their martyrdom. Verily Cooper seems to be a composite character of Oliver Cowdry (an early supporter of Joseph Smith who helped in the Translation of the Book of Mormon) and Brigham Young (the successor to Joseph Smith, I wouldn't be surprised if in later books, Verily leads the disciples out west) and probably a prominent lawyer of the time who helped defend Joseph Smith in his numerous trials (sorry can't remember the name). Even Mike Fink *I think* is based on Porter Rockwell, a rough-around-the-edges personal bodyguard of Joseph Smith.
More intriguing are the parallel events that happen in Card's books and the life of Joseph Smith and events in the Book of Mormon. Moroni was the last prophet of the Book of Mormon (around 400 A.D. somewhere on the American Continent). Moroni appeared in angelic form at the foot of Joseph's bed when he was a boy of abt. 14 years to inform him of the whereabouts of the Book of Mormon. This experience is almost exactly duplicated by the appearance of the Red Prophet at the foot of Alvins bed in the first book. Moroni even appeared three times during the night like the red prophet, although the message was of a different nature and Joseph didn't heal Moroni or anything. Also interesting are the events surrounding the Red Prophet which are shadows of events in the Book of Mormon. One such event was a battle in the Book of Mormon that was so deadly that the river ran red with the blood of the fallen. This same event is seen in the massacre of Tippy-canoe.
Also a parallel of Jospeh Smith is the Golden Plow. This is based of course on the plates of brass or "golden plates" that Joseph Smith translated into the Book of Mormon. Rumor that Joseph had these plates spread rapidly and many of his hiding techniques are repeated in the Alvin Series. For example Joseph constructed a wooden box and hid the plates under the Fire Hearth in his parents home, A ploy also used by Alvin. Also the actual plates of Brass where witnessed and touched by three witnesses, the seen by eight other witnesses an event repeated in Alvin's first trial.
Other events include the numerous trials of Joseph Smith. Joseph was wrongfully accused of just about everything under the sun and had to constantly defend himself. Don't expect an end to Alvin's trials (if Card plans to continue paralleling Joseph Smith.) because Joseph experienced them often for the rest of his life. Also be wary if Alvin ever goes to Carthage City because Joseph (and his brother Hyrum) where martyred in Carthage Jail. The Church had since its earliest days been opposed to slavery, this trend is starting to come to a head with the latest book as Becky's crusade takes form. In fact much of the animosity and persecution experienced by the early members of the church where because of the ideological differences between the Missourians who supported slavery and the Mormons who where opposed to it. Governer Boggs of Missouri even signed an extermination order making it legal for any Missourian to kill a Mormon (I wouldn't be surprised of later books parallel this event).
Those Parallels aside, I feel like I have to agree with many other reviewers. I felt that this installment in the series loses some of the excitement of the earlier books. Even at that level, I still feel that it is better than many offering of other Novelist of today. I have to admit. I am a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, and to me a bad Novel from Mr. Card is probably of better quality than most other novels available. Card's pros as always are compelling and successful at roping us into the story. His characters are believable and I am truly concerned about them. Those are his fortes and they come out in this book. It may not be as strong as others in the series, but it is still a great read. About the only real complaint that I had was the title! Heartfire! Comon' when I am reading a book in a barber shop waiting to get my Hair cut, I want a manly title like "The Shadow of the Hedgemon" or "The Brethren". And I almost had to rip the cutesy cover of off the book to avoid anyone seeing me read a book that looks like a fantasized version of a Fabio novel. How many more times do we have to be subjected to pictures of Alvin's chest! Alright, we get it, he is a Smith, he's buff! Now get him a shirt!
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