Today's book review is The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card.
This is book 6 in the ongoing Tales of Alvin Maker. I don't recommend jumping into the series in the middle; the author does give some background about the recurring characters and review of past events, but I don't think it would be near enough to really understand what was going on if it was new information rather than just a reminder. And if you've stuck with the series for the last 5 books, you'll probably keep going, even though I will let slip that, despite what the title might suggest to someone who's been following the series, this is not the end of the series.
The book is well written; the story sucks you in. This is no surprise to me; Card is one of my "grocery list" writers (if he published his collected grocery lists, I would be inclined to read them). It has something to say on the nature of evil; it spends perhaps too much time trying to get inside the head of a bad person. It examines some other social phenomena as well; although the revelation that Slavery is Bad isn't highly original, I guess there are some people who haven't gotten the message yet (there are other social points as well, but he hammers on this one). It even slips in some gut-busting bellylaughs (see my previous entry). But the whole package is somehow a disappointment. It's a good read; it's even a pretty good book overall. But I expect more of Card. If you have been following the series, it's probably worth continuing, but if you haven't, this book isn't the one that justifies picking it up.
7 out of 10.