Okay, YA westerns! I see you and I like you. So yeah, I’ll just be honest and go ahead and say that I thoroughly enjoyed Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson.
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.
When it comes to writing, Carson keeps it simple. There’s no flowery language or pages filled with great quotes to write down, it’s just simple but engrossing. She’s able to describe with world that pulls you in and paints a picture but it doesn’t leave you oohing and ahhing. I don’t know what it was, but I just really enjoyed it. The writing was there to tell you a story and by God, it told you a story. For me, I felt myself turning page after page to see what was going to happen next. I didn’t want to put this book down, I had to know what trouble would befall Lee next. There were a few plot twists here and there, but nothing big. This was just a story about the journey out West during the Gold Rush. And I really enjoyed the unique spin of Lee being able to divine gold. It added just enough to the story to really draw you in. I also appreciated that Carson wasn’t afraid to break your heart and not sugarcoat life on the trail. Characters died and bad things happened, just like it did in real life.
I loved Lee. She’s a character that grows on you as the book goes along. You don’t always agree with some of the choices she makes but I like that she isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes and runs into problems. I think my only issue with her is that the problems does face, she tends to get out of a little too easily. I want to see her struggle a bit more in the next book. However, I do like that she isn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands. She does what she thinks she needs to do to survive, including disguising herself as a boy. But I enjoyed seeing that even though she enjoyed that freedom, she still missed wearing a dress. For some reason I found that so realistic and just very human of her.
While Lee was great, the secondary characters were all awesome. They each had their own personality and story and I really found myself invested in what was happening with them. I loved how close they all became and enjoyed watching them develop throughout the story. I do want to see the next book explore their stories a bit more and get a bit deeper with them, especially Jefferson. Jefferson is a really interesting character (yay for diversity!) and I think there’s more to his story that hasn’t really come out yet. I want to see him have some major interactions with the Indians and really confront that part of his himself. I’m dying for him to be a side plot line as the series goes on.
I didn’t have any major issues with this story like I’ve read that some people had. I think all of my problems can be solved as the trilogy goes along and are some of your typical first book problems. I don’t know if it’s just me and my current enjoyment of the YA western trend that’s occurring, but I just really found myself loving this story. It was exciting but not some big thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat. However, I cannot wait for the next book to be released and I will definitely be buying this one now! Big thanks to my library for having a copy and now adding to my to be purchased pile. My wallet really appreciates it, haha!
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars