Book Tuesday: ARC – Walk on Earth a Stranger

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Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)
Author: Rae Carson
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 432
Buy: Amazon

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?

So I’ve loved Rae Carson since I first read The Girl of Fire and Thorns (which, if you haven’t read, you should totally go do that.  Now.)  Once I heard she was doing another series, I had to get my hands on it.  Obviously.

Lee has a secret ability that she can’t tell a living soul about–she can sense gold and find it if it’s near her.  An ability that most people would die–or kill—for.  She uses her ability to help keep her family’s homestead afloat.  When a man comes who wants to control this ability and rips everything she loves away from her, Lee knows the only way to stop him is to escape out west with the rest of the hopefuls to California where they say you can just pick up gold right where you’re standing.  She disguises herself as a boy and makes her way out west.  She never anticipates the hardships she would face or the trials, but she keeps telling herself that it will all be worth it when she reaches California—right?

I’m usually not one to enjoy Westerns, or stories to do with this time period in American History.  I made an exception because it’s Rae Carson and I’m so glad I did! This was an interesting twist on a period in history that is often just spoke about in passing.  “Oh right.  The Gold Rush.”  You can tell that the author put in her due diligence in her research and it definitely shows.  The trials that these characters go through along the trail out west seems horrific and barbaric; then you realize that real people actually went through this and just wonder in awe at the tenacity and spirit that they must have had to keep going.  I can tell you right now I would have never been one to travel out west.

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Lee is a fantastic character.  She’s resilient, capable, and resourceful; the world around her forces her to be.  In fact many of the other characters were just as fantastic, especially when we get to the trail.  I loved watching them grow and evolve as they’re faced with one harrowing challenge after another.  I don’t want to give much away because reasons, but one of my favorite characters in the whole book was Mrs. Joyner.  Her journey, quite literally and emotionally, was fascinating and inspiring to see develop. You have to give her props.  I loved Therese, Major Craven and the rest of the other families.  Jefferson was ok for me.  He made a nice match for Lee, but he was a bit blah for me in this book.  I have a feeling he’ll really develop in the following installments.   Lee’s uncle was downright CREEPY.  He creeped me the creep out.

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The plot moved well and the pacing was good.  My one disappointment however, given the description, I would have thought Lee’s ability would play a larger part in the story.  We didn’t really see it much.  I just would have liked to have seen a bit more of it.  I have a feeling though, we’ll be seeing plenty in the following books.  The ending left you with a bit of a “What?!” kind of reaction.  You just didn’t expect what happened to happen to soon.

Overall, this was a great start to a new trilogy.  Very unique, original, and one that focuses on a part of history that many YA books tend to ignore.  I’m really looking forward to the next book, and can’t wait to see what happens to Lee and the other characters!

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