Review: Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson

Series: Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 432 pages (ARC)
Source: From Publisher For Review
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I support authors going off and exploring genres other than the ones that made them famous, but I acknowledge that such a thing can hurt them. I think it hurt Rae Carson in my eyes. Her GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy is among my ultimate favorites, and I was so excited to hear that she would be writing another series that is a western historical YA with fantastical elements. But this book just fell ridiculously flat for me.

Let me get a few thoughts out of the way:

Carson used the brilliant mind to create a ridiculously compelling and unique idea, and she didn't take advantage of her own brilliance. I mean, a girl who can sense gold during the gold rush?! Freaking amazing! But the fantasy was barely there. It would come in small spurts only when it was necessary. Need some money? Oh, hey, Lee senses a small bit of gold ten paces that way! Lost a boy? Have no fear, he had a gold locket around his neck! Lee to the rescue! Every time her abilities came out, I was kind of rolling my eyes because it was so pointless. Such a cool idea was not executed as greatly as it could have been.

Not to mention the fact that most of this book is a journey. I am all for adventure, journeys of self-discovery, girls pretending to be boys and kicking major ass in a time period where they simply were not believed to be capable of such things. Sign me up! But this book was just one long journey...where a lot of the same thing happened...and there was a lot of death and stupidity...and you couldn't even bring yourself to truly care about certain parts because it dragged so much due to the monotony of it all. When the pacing fell away it was almost like my mind turned into a sentence of infinite elipses just going and going and going until it finds the proper moment to come to a stop.

But, with all of that in mind, this ending gives me hope. Now that we have endured a lot of boredom (at least for me), we have the potential for absolute awesomeness in book two. I think that Carson created such a heavy world and wanted to do history justice so much that she made book one a single, massive world-building experiment with a forced romance that had me rolling my eyes more than anything else. While it is not the most ideal way to go about things, I think it sets up everything nicely for book two. We've got a heroine to root for with a crew we have grown to love/respect/know, villains we want to die, fantastical abilities that will hopefully be put to use the way they deserve to be, and an amazing author to bring it all together.

I haven't lost faith in Carson, but I think this pedestal I put her on is what caused me to be so disappointed in this. I was expecting an epic tale of high stakes like her older books, and I got a tale with high stakes that may be epic to some but not to me. It's like book one suffered from sequel syndrome with having to connect the dots to make sure the big climax can happen in the next book. And I think it genuinely will happen because, despite it all, Carson has given us a strong heroine worth rooting for.

I look forward to the next book in the Gold Seer trilogy, but my excitement for book one and subsequent disappointed has tampered down my excitement for book two to cautious yet eager optimism.

2.5 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

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