Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson10:00
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Author: Rae Carson
Published September 22nd 2015 by Greenwillow Books
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 haven't read anything by this author before, but had heard really good things, and this book called to the historian within me. I'll admit, American history isn't my favourite, but the American west has always been a soft spot of mine, ever since I studied it during my GCSE.
In Walk on Earth a Stranger, our MC, Leah Westfall, has had a pretty cushty life so far. However, when her parents are killed, she has to disguise herself as a boy, and flee as fast as possible west. Why? Well, she's also hiding a secret, one in which she can sense when there's gold nearby, and that's one of the reasons why her father was killed. Her uncle, who is now her guardian, has nefarious goals to do with her, and anything would be better than staying within his grasp. So, she dons male clothes, and boards a steamboat to take her on her way towards the Oregon Trail, facing all the treachery that befalls travellers making the migration west.
I loved Leah. Hands down, she is one of the best protagonists I've ever read. She's perfect for the time period she is in, but she isn't a simpering girl, who needs help at every time. No, she gets things done, and is better than the majority of the other case, male and female. Her snarkiness was perfect, especially when you consider just how difficult the journey was was travellers, with no way of knowing what will befall you at the next turn. Though she is strong, she still is a teenage girl, in a dangerous situation, who has just lost her family. Her vulnerability shows through at times, and it makes her more of a lovable character.
The research Carson must have done for this book definitely shows through. Everything was so vivid, and realisic, that it almost felt like I was there as I was reading along. I'm actually going to be teaching the American West module in a few weeks to my students, and being able to see the true facts in this book nmade the reading experience that much more enjoyable.
The secondary cast was also perfect. Some of the them were fun, though others did grind on me at times. Leah's best friend, Jefferson, was just what Leah needed, I think. He'd already left for California, and Leah was on her way to meet up with him, because he was the only person she trusted. As she fell into a travelling group, a sort of makeshift family appeared, and each of them cared for Leah in their own ways, though perhaps they didn't always show it. Remember, they are all facing the same hardships, and don't realise that 'Lee' is actually Leah, and she finds it as difficult as they do.
The book is really long at times, though that's to be expected, because travelling across America - a large country, I don't need to remind you - wasn't always fun and games, but I felt the pace was right for the story. There isn't much of a romance, though I think the sequel may have some, and I'm really glad I've got a copy now, because I'll be starting it soon enough. All in all, this was a really enjoyable book, perfect for history and fantasy lovers.