Friday, 14 August 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

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

Release date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 313

Source: Edelweiss

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

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? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance.

I was really looking forward to this book, with the whole historical setting as well as the fantasy embedded within. But it didn't really live up to my expectations, and I ended up being a little disappointed by it. Sure, it's a good book and a potentially intriguing story, but it just wasn't for me.

Leah can sense gold around her, and that's pretty much how her family gets by. She finds tiny gold nuggets or gold dust, and though they can't flaunt it, they live comfortably. Until both her parents are murdered. Leah sets off to find gold in California, because gold was recently discovered there and that's where everyone is going. This book of the trilogy follows Leah on her journey to California.

Leah - or Lee, as she is called - is a pretty good protagonist, and I liked her. She's courageous, determined, and an all-round likeable character. But we get almost no information about her ability to sense gold. There doesn't seem to be much curiosity in her, either. Why is she the only one? Where does it come from? What else can she do? We don't get to see any of this fantasy element apart from Lee finding the occasional gold nugget.

There is a bit of a romance between Lee and her best friend Jefferson, which didn't really seem to work. At least to me. It felt awkward and there's no chemistry between them, they're just really good friends. I don't think it's a good idea to smush the two of them together as a couple just because it's convenient.

Another thing I was iffy about is the overall plot and the minor characters. Nothing really happens on Lee and Jefferson's journey to California, and yet it fills up this entire first book of the trilogy. They travel in wagons and on horses, usually with a group of other people and families, which is where the minor characters come in. None of them are explored beyond what's on the surface, and I can't even remember any of their names. They were all pretty forgettable. Leah is the only character who's sufficiently developed. Not even Jefferson is three-dimensional enough in this book. I really hope that changes in the sequel.

I liked the fact that this book is set in the Gold Rush era, because that's unique in YA literature. Also, though I'm not familiar with the history of this era in the US, I find it really interesting. And with Leah's gold-sensing ability, there's so much that can be explored, and so many stories that can come from it. I hope that happens in the next book, since they reach California by the end of this one.

I didn't get as much out of this book as I wanted to, so though I enjoyed it, I still kept having the feeling that it fell short. I know a lot of others who've loved this, so maybe it's just me. I do like the premise, though, and I will probably pick up the next book to see how Leah's ability is explored and what happens in California.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

2 comments:

  1. Aw, I'm sorry you didn't love this one Richa :( But I loved it so much, sigh. <3 But glad you liked it, though :D Gorgeous review sweetie. <3

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  2. Hey, I tagged you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloogers Award! http://theoverflowingshelf.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-sisterhood-of-world-bloggers-award.html

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