Born into an alternative frontier America, where life is hard and folk magic is real, Alvin is gifted with power, but he must learn to use his gift wisely. Dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.
Don't miss the sequel to this book, Red Prophet.
©1987 Orson Scott Card; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"A tribute to the art of storytelling, this is highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Seventh Son begins what may be a significant recasting in fantasy terms of the tall tale of America." (Washington Post Book World)
"A consistently gripping tale featuring solid historical research and a keen understanding of religious experience. Another major effort by a world-class talent. Highly recommended." (Booklist)
Seventh Son has always been one of my favorite books. I waited for a very long time for an unabridged audio version. I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my high expectations, but the cast more than delivered. All the readers are so very talented. My only complaint is that Rev. Thrower sometimes lapses in and out of his Scottish accent, but it happens at appropriate enough times.
Seventh Son is creative storytelling at its very best. As an "alternate history" of America, you can't beat this book for color and charm. The characters are thoroughly believable and sympathetic.
Frontiersy magic-stories might be a departure for Card fans who are used to his sci-fi works, but give Seventh Son and its sequels a try anyhow. Card comes through with his usual brilliant characterization, real dialogue, and perfectly paced plot.
With this book, first in a series, Orson Scott Cards brings the reader into a world both familiar and wonderfully alien. Set in the closing years of the eighteenth century, the book describes the emerging nations of a North America that could have been. Here the Iroquois have formed into a state, and the forme British colonies have aligned themselves differently Even the history of Britain is altered, with the Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell enduring. Card shows a broad and surprisingly detailed knowledge of actual history and people of the period, as he unfolds his story on the backdrop of this alternate history.
The centerpiece of the story, however, is a single seemingly ordinary family, the Millers. The birth of their seventh son, Alvin, occurs durng a perilous journey into the Wabash country. It is quickly apparant they live in a world that includes people with extraordinary abilities, often described simply as special "nacks." We would call these nacks magic. Many use one of the four elements: earth, water, wnd, and fire. Others are more subtle. Indians, called "Reds," have a natural sense of earth and life unknown to whites. Hexes and charms weld genuine power, and common folk are accustomed to the fact some folk with various "nacks" grow up and live among them.
The most powerful of these, and the focus of the series, is newborn Alvin Miller, seventh son of a seventh son. His nack is so powerful and subtle that neither he nor others around him have the faintest idea when, where, or how it will manifest itself. It emerges that he is the rarest of all these extraordinaries, a "maker" - one who can bend the normal workings of the world to make things right, the way they ought to be. From the beginning, the mysterious force, the un-maker, seeks to destroy the Alvin the Maker while he is still young and reatively helpless.
I have enjoyed a number of Card's works, but Seventh Son, and the series it begins, is surely my favorite.
New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.
BEN FRANKLIN; AMERICA'S MOST POWERFUL WIZARD
This is an Alternate History American Fantasy. This alone is makes for a great story. This is an America divided up between England, Spain, Dutch, French and North American Indians. The map alone is cool. There are Duchies, States and Territories. There is a New Sweden, Camelot, New Orange, Suskwaheny, Noisy River Terr. and Irrakwa State. Canada is French.
SHE SHOULD HAVE LEARNT THE WORD NO, BEFORE SHE HAD 14 MOUTHS TO FEED.
This is about a very large family, struggling to survive in a harsh world. A world where people have knacks and certain gifts. They survive by using charms, beseechings, hexes and potions. Often these are used against them. It is a struggle between good and evil. This is different from Card's Sci-Fi, but it is still written with his talent and is a great entry into Fantasy if you have never tried it.
A MAN ALWAYS ASSUMES THAT OTHERS ARE AS VIRTUOUS AS HIMSELF.
I read this over 30 years ago and wondered if it would stand up to my memory of it. It was just as good if not better. This is one book you could read over and over and get more out of it each time.
NOT + NOT= NOT
My one irk with the whole thing was the narrators. There are several narrators including Orson Scott Card. One of the narrators is one of my favorites and there is one I hate. I usually like Card's voice, but believe he should have left this to the professionals. All the narrators do all the voices instead of doing certain characters. Sometimes a character has a certain accent, and then sometimes he does not. This is a small complaint, the writing makes up for any narrator problems and those are few.
I write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)
This is a really unique book and series. It takes place in the frontier age of the United States and offer a vastly different timeline where most everyone has a magic ability or knack. This leads to some major divergences from our own history. i don't do spoilers so you will have to read to find out. Even though this was written long ago it holds up quite well. It has three different narrarators and they do a good job. This is not your usualy fantasy fare but I found it definitely worth a listen.
This story deserves 4.5 stars in my view and the narration around a 3.5 or 4. Although I love Scott Brick, he trips over the early Americans' diction in this book, and the rest of the narrators have a surprisingly hard time consistently using accents.
The story, however, is fabulous overall. It does meander quite a bit more than Ender's Game and some of Card's other texts; for instance, Card launches into an unexpected diatribe on Ben Franklin's "Americanization" of "Americans" for what seems like 20 minutes, and this diatribe has nothing to do with the story, as far as I can tell. And religious fervor seems to be a subject of contention in the book, or at least the battle between religion, science, and magic. But if you like these subjects and Card's other books, you will probably find this story compelling.
Also compelling are Alvin Maker and the cast of characters who surround him. They really make this book, though it is the story of Alvin and his power to "make" things whole that makes me want to read the second book in this series.
I can't help but be overwhelmingly dissappointed by this book. After having read nearly 20 various OSC books from his early works, Treason, to his popular works, Ender Series, to his new material, Pathfinder, I have yet to find a book by him that I didn't enjoy. With that being said though, Seventh Son was an uneventful story that never captivated my heart whereas these aforementioned novels all did. The main problem with Seventh Son lies in the fact that there is little to no character development at all. Not only did I not grow to understand or genuinely like the characters, but I also felt the plot was drawn out and very little actually happened throughout the entire book. I wish I had enough room to fully explain my complaints with Seventh Son, but unfortunately I don't. The only saving grace for this audiobook lies within the excellent narration from Brick and Rudnicki. I can't say I'll be returning to this series though.
I would not recommend this book. I am a fan of Cards writing usually, but this time I felt like I wasn't so much listening to a completed story as listening to the writers notes instead. There was no flow to this story at all, everything felt choppy and disoriented - as tho card kept realizing he'd forgotten to add important elements into the tale and so just plopped them in whenever it came to mind.
I will say that the story had huge potential! Sadly I didn't enjoy it enough to bother moving on to the next book in the series... Perhaps it gets better. The narrators did a beautiful job of attempting to bring the characters to life.
Tho it's sad to say this story, tho not a complete waste of time, gave nothing to make it memorable.
I definitely enjoyed listening to Seventh Son and as all of Orson Scott Cards books it is very well written. The jargon is perfect for the time and allows you to really get a sense of the time. The subtle but important effects of the magical is extremely well written and the author has done an excellent job at creating an interesting fantastic spin on historical events. However it does have a little too much religion and are at times a little too much like a poem for my taste. The narrators Stephen Hoye, Scott Brick and Gabrielle de Cuir are terrific as always. Overall a good listen and an interesting story.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
"When you’re surrounded by light, how do you know whether it’s the glory of God, or the flames of Hell?"
Set in an alternate American frontier, Seventh Son is the first in Orson Scott Card’s THE TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. Alvin Miller is the seventh son of a seventh son which makes him special and potentially a very powerful healer, or “maker” — at least that’s what many who practice folk magic, believe. They know that many folk have “knacks” and they’ve seen the effects of curses and charms. It’s obvious that there’s a supernatural war going on around Alvin Miller. He’s almost been killed many times (usually by water), but it’s clear that some other force is protecting him. While his family expects greatness from Alvin, some of his neighbors think he may be “devil spawn.”
Reverend Thrower, the new Christian pastor who has just come over from Europe, finds all this folk magic to be rather creepy. He’s trying to dispel these superstitious notions while teaching his parish that any magic they think they see can be explained by scientific investigation. After interacting with Alvin’s family, he may be forced to reconsider his position. Is this folk magic superstitious nonsense, evil witchery, or a gift from God?
Seventh Son begins with an emotionally gripping scene as one child dies and another is born to the Miller family. These first few scenes make up the Hugo and Nebula nominated novella Hatrack River. The emotion doesn’t let up, the world-building and characterization are admirably complex, and there’s a nice touch of folksy humor — especially in the episodes of sibling rivalry.
I’ve heard it said that Seventh Son is loosely based on the life of Latter Day Saints prophet Joseph Smith, though I don’t know enough about Smith to notice the parallels. Orson Scott Card is known to be religious and conservative (and a member of the LDS church), but you wouldn’t know it from reading Seventh Son. Though religion is the dominant theme, Card’s religious characters are, at least on the surface, hard to sympathize with. For example, though Reverend Thrower’s intentions are good, his deeds are more evil than the deeds of the “immoral” people he opposes. It’s easy to see this from our perspective, but we can also see why Thrower thinks he’s doing the right thing. It’s a good parallel to some of the religious conflicts we see in our society today.
I’m intrigued by Card’s alternate America where familiar politics and personalities are slightly different from historical facts. This played an insignificant background role in Seventh Son, but will surely become more prominent in future volumes of THE TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. I look forward to that.
I listened to Blackstone Audio’s version of Seventh Son which was narrated by a full cast including Scott Brick, Gabrielle de Cuir, Stephen Hoye and Stefan Rudnicki. This is a superb cast who did a great job individually. The parts were split up by chapter rather than by role, so on a couple of occasions I was initially confused at the different accents used for the same character by different narrators. Included in the audiobook version is an afterword by Orson Scott Card which explains the origin of Hatrack River and Seventh Son.
Published in 1987, Seventh Son was nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards and won a Locus Award. It’s a beautifully written emotional story set in an original fantasy world.
I've read most of Card's book starting with Ender's Game when I was in high school, and usually find his work hard to put down.
Seventh son though feels like a lower class of book. Card usually writes very deep, compelling characters you can't help but care about. Everyone in this book was flat, 2-dimensional and I felt like I couldn't care less about them.
The story is painfully long with no flow, it jumps around with long tedious passages that don't mesh, don't form a story, and don't make sense. I know I wouldn't be continuing the series because I'm left just not caring what comes next.
I couldn't quite give this a four-star, but it almost made it and I do recommend it. This is the first book of a series of seven (unsurprisingly!), and it introduces a wealth of great storylines that will be carried forward in subsequent books, but unfortunately closes none. In this sense it is a little disappointing - some series, such as the Ender series by the same author have self-contained books that one can read and have a full experience, with closure. With Seventh Son, there is a sense that one is going to have to read the whole series, which is no great toil as this book was a good read, but personally I would have liked the choice to see what I thought of a self-contained book and decide to move on to the next. The book is very well read by multiple narrators, all of whom are excellent. All in all, this is a promising, interesting story but if you decide to read this, please be aware that you are buying one seventh of a considerably larger book. After all my moaning, I will be Audible-ing the next in the series - 'Red Prophet'!
"The tale draws you in almost against your will"
Played this on a long, long car journey back from France and it kept the kids and the grown-ups all quiet - I wasn't even allowed to consult the sat nav without being sshhh-ed down. Well written, good characters and above all a story that both warms and chills the heart. I would very much recommend this book.
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