This book was a pleasant surprise. While I like historical fiction, I stick mainly to historical fiction that takes place in Britain, so to dive into this (audio)book which takes place during the late 1840s Gold Rush America, I was a bit…hesitant to say the least. It has a bit of a western feel to it as well. But the characters surprised me, and when I finished, I was quite excited to start the next one (but I haven’t yet because I seriously have a TBR for fall–shocker!).
Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release date: September 22, 2015
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Length: 436 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.”
I have this habit of checking out audiobooks from the local library even though the physical books are sitting right there on my bookshelves. No regrets, though, because I feel like I get through my TBR Jar a little bit faster if I choose something from there. 🙂
Like I said above, this book was a pleasant surprise. Yes, YA is a genre I normally steer toward, as is historical fiction, but the western feel of the book made me hesitant. However, I’m glad to say that I loved it! Carson’s previous series, Girl of Fire and Thorns, is also on my TBR, I gravitated toward this one instead.
Leah Westfall is such a great, strong, female character. I love how she was raised and how her parents allowed her to do a lot of things many parents wouldn’t necessarily permit girls to do during the time period. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty either! There’s a sense of mystery, especially as the book progresses, about Leah’s parents. We’re introduced to this and it’s mentioned a few times afterward by Leah. Truthfully, I wanted a bit more of that, and I hope we know more of it in the next book, as the ending indicated Leah isn’t done with her fair share of trouble.
The writing style proved simple and easy to follow. I quite like it, and I quite look forward to the rest of the series as of right now. (The third and final book of this trilogy, Into the Bright Unknown releases on October 10.) I love how there was depth to each of the characters. I actually found myself cringing during particular scenes because they felt so real and vivid! Kudos to Leah for being able to stomach it because I certainly would not have been able to. And I actually predicted something correctly.
As for the romance between Leah and her best friend, Jefferson… Well, it wasn’t glaringly obvious. I say that because this book doesn’t focus largely on Leah’s feelings for Jefferson or vice versa. I don’t mind that at all, though. As of right now, it’s rather clear the two will develop stronger feelings for one another, now that they’ve made it to California together.
One of the downsides to this book for me is that Leah’s ability to sense gold was not a priority. The readers get a sense of it, but because the book mainly focused on the long trip from Leah’s home state of Georgia and her subsequent journey to California, she doesn’t necessarily have a lot of opportunities to use it. Yes, there are a certain times, but I wanted to see it in its full glory–and I suppose that’s what makes me eager to read the sequel.
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