September 17, 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson
Publication date: Sept 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow books
Category: Young Adult - Western/Fantasy
Source: Received via Edelweiss from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? (greads.com)


The good
It must be the year of the gold rush because this is the third book I’ve read about it! There are so many tried and true tales of the wild, old West. I can easily imagine how difficult it must be to find your own spin on it but Rae Carson manages to do so, bringing the elements longtime fans will be familiar with — a determined heroine, slow-burning romance, a strong cast of characters and vivid world-building.

Leah Westfall and her parents lead a hard life but their home is filled with love and joy. Until one day it’s all taken away from Leah and she has no choice but to run. She disguises herself as a boy, changes her name to Lee and above all, must keep her secret safe. She has the ability to sense gold around her and at a time when everyone is searching for gold, there are people who would use and abuse her power. She decides to head to California in hopes of escaping and building a new life for herself. Along the way, she meets people, good and bad, and it’s a reminder of how the promise of riches can bring out the worst in people. Which made the moments of kindness that much more poignant. The author painted a detailed picture of the tough rode ahead. There was constant danger surrounding Leah whether it was the trail itself, the people that could be trusted or who might attack, the threat of sickness and starvation. Leah faces all these things and more. The author did an incredible job of making me feel like I was on the road with them, which is made it that much easier to immerse myself in the story and root for Leah (as well as a few folks she meets!). I simultaneously wanted her to be her true self and relished the freedom and respect she was given as a “man”. But make no mistake, the women in this book are tougher than you can imagine.

(No) reservations
I will say that I was under the impression that this book was both western and fantasy but it doesn’t read like the latter at all. It’s more western with a minor fantastical element. I didn’t mind it though! However, I’d just reset your expectations if you thought the same thing I did.

Do I recommend?
Yes! Rae Carson is one of my favorite authors so I had high hopes and expectations for this brand new, much-awaited trilogy. I'm so happy to say that this was a solid start what I'm sure will be an amazing series. I’m really looking forward to the next book!


Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What's your favorite Western movie?
I’ll be honest, when we thought of this question the first movie that came to mind was An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. So I’m sticking with that answer! I love these animated movies as a kid. Even though it’s been forever since I’ve watched them, it’s probably still my favorite Western.

2 comments:

  1. I'm so happy that WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER turned out to be such a great read for us! It's seriously very well-done, and I'm so, so eager for more of Leah and the gang. I can't wait until book two!!

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  2. I was obsessed with An American Tail: Fievel Goes West as a kid. I used to know the song the sister since in the movie by heart.

    I really enjoyed this one too and am happy it's been getting a lot of positive attention. I do think Debbie Reese (at American Indians in Children's Literature) makes some valid points on why the book is damaging in its romanticizing aspects of the gold rush (like western expansion in general) but I also am happy that Carson seemed to really do her research and work to make this book nuanced in its portrayals. (I was actually really happy it was more historical than fantasy!)

    I already recommended these on Alexa's review but I'll say again: You have to watch Stagecoach and/or How the West Was Won ASAP.

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