Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seventh Son - Orson Scott Card

Summary: Using the lore and folk magic of the men and women who helped settle a continent and beliefs of the tribes who were here before them, Orson Scott Card has created an alternate frontier America where folk magic works, and has colored the entire history of the colonies. It is into this world, amid the deep wood where the Red Man still holds sway, that a very special child is born... (Summary from back of the book and image from Powells.com)

My Review: The beginning of this book starts off jumping between characters, setting the foundation for the books that follow. It took a bit to really figure out just who the protagonist was. Card creates a world that is fictional but has just enough realistic aspects to make me shudder at times. He depicts good and evil, their real forces in the world, and how people have internal dialogue continually in a way that makes you think. Showing the weakness in various characters paints how no one is free from blame in spite of our best intentions.

There is a large part of the book that deals with terms I'm used to associating with witchcraft. While I'm used to these things being considered evil, in the book they're shown in a more positive light. The depictions of knacks--or special talents--the characters have came across to me almost with a malevolent tinge, but I think that is because of the names they are given. I wonder if they were given different names would I have immediately associated them with evil? At times I wasn't sure which side was good because Card did such a good job of showing you just how much the character believed what he felt and saw whether it was the protagonist or a minor character. Card did an amazing job showing how someone could be blinded by the imitation of things that are good that Satan can manage to distort by changing ones perspective about something that looks good but is really evil. This was a little creepy in parts.

As the story progresses there were many times where you could parallel the life of Alvin Jr. to the life of Joseph Smith. I haven't read if this was Card's intent, but it seemed rather blatant to me. You could have many discussions surrounding this topic alone.

I think the reason I didn't give this a higher rating came from the overall feeling I had while reading the book. I did not like the foreboding feeling certain parts gave me, feelings that were dark and disturbing and made me want to distance myself from the content of the book. I believe this was Card's intent; he wanted the reader to feel something was very wrong in order to fully get his message across. I guess I didn't like that it almost felt like I was allowing or even inviting those evil forces into my life just by reading it. Take that as you will. It's a personal reaction that may only apply to me. I think I might pass on the rest of the series. That opinion may change if I run out of things to read and the sequel is lying around.

The overall message of the book is good--or at least it is this far in the series.

Rating: 3 Stars

Sum it up: A fictional representation of the struggle between good and evil.

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