Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite authors, because he consistently makes you think. Here we have another male coming-of-age story with reality-bending SF elements used to great effect. And while this is no "Ender's Game" It's well worth reading. The Alvin Maker series gets a bit of a bum rap sometimes, but it really shouldn't. This first book is a compelling beginning to a pretty darn good series. Many have commented on the presence of Mormon themes or allusions...but to me those are neither here nor there. Not being particularly familiar with mormonism, I just enjoyed the book for what it appeared to be to me: A pretty good yarn, incorporating American "tall tales" and folklore with imagined mysticism into a great setting for an engaging battle of good vs evil with a likeable hero. In the later novels the cover art changes to a grotesque caricature of bodice-ripping romance novels, such that one might be embarrassed to be seen reading them on a bus, but don't let that put you off. The content is classic Orson Scott Card: entertaining, thought-provoking, and always interesting.