September 26, 2016

Mini-reviews: Like a River Glorious + Afterward

pub 9/27/16 by Greenwillow
YA - Historical/Fantasy
Received from pub via Edelweiss
Most people wouldn't think to pair the words Western and Gold Rush with fantasy, but Rae Carson proves that it can absolutely work. But keep in mind, it's definitely more the former than the latter. The book picks up where Walk on Earth a Stranger leaves off – Leah Westfall searching for gold and a place to call home with the friends she's met along the way and her best friend Jefferson. Her villainous uncle Hiram is still after her because of her ability to sense gold but when they finally arrive in California, things almost feel safe. Which means she and Jefferson are wary of danger popping up at any minute and of course, it inevitably does come. I loved how the story progressed and how it focused more on the people Leah is surrounded by. They've become her second family and I felt as if I truly got to know them this time around. Not to mention, seriously swoon over Jefferson and their relationship. Still, the star of this book is Leah. She's no damsel-in-distress, even in the direst of situations. She's a sharp-shooter and I enjoyed seeing her one-up every man who underestimated her abilities. Leah's journey and the overall plot of the books moves forward in a really interesting way and I can't wait to see where the author will take the series next!

Do I recommend? Yes! I love Rae Carson and it's been fun reading this series that is just so completely different from Fire and Thorns (although I admit, that's still my fave!).

pub 9/20/16 by Roaring Brook Press
YA - Contemporary
Received ARC from publisher
This is my third Jennifer Mathieu book and when I finished, I immediately thought of how I described her previous book, Devoted, as quietly powerful. The same totally applies here, which is what I'm now recognizing as her writing style. The big moments are internal ones. When something changes in the main characters' lives that allows them to move forward somehow. Still big, but on a quieter level. In Afterward, Mathieu tackles a huge and scary topic with Caroline and Ethan, the two protagonists the book alternates between. When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped and rescued, Ethan, a former classmate of hers who was also kidnapped as a child, is found as well. Both are brought home and are adjusting in different ways. Caroline is desperate to know what happened to her brother so she can help him and impulsively turns to Ethan. This sounds like a recipe for disaster but instead, a real friendship springs up between Caroline and Ethan. And how I loved their friendship, despite the messiness of their circumstances. But while my heart broke for each and every character in the book, I felt the most for Ethan. His story is just.. I can't even describe it. I was so impressed by how the author brought both Ethan and Caroline to life and how she was able to still insert a bit of hope into the darkness of their situation.

Do I recommend? Yes! If you haven't read her books yet, definitely pick them up. I've read all three but I think Devoted and Afterward are her strongest works.

2 comments:

  1. Yay for Like a River Glorious! I quite enjoyed that one, and I'm actually curious to see what is going to happen in the next and last installment. As for Jennifer Mathieu, I've only ever read her debut. I should definitely check out her other stuff!

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  2. I really adored Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns series, but it never occurred to me to look for another book by her! I will certain have to check out The Gold Seer trilogy. Super interesting!

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