I was so freakishly excited for Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson for several reasons, like a) Rae Carson is a suffocatingly good writer, b) I absolutely adore Westerns, c) that cover is too divine for words, and d) this book is mixing magic and historical fiction and THAT IS GLORIOUS.
And the book didn’t let me down at all. It was beyond perfect! The writing is gorgeous and visual and eloquent and drew me right in.
It basically is the story of Lee who has the magical ability to sense gold (handy, if one live sin the gold rush era)…but after her uncle murders (!!) her parents (!!!) she’s forced to run away to the goldfields ALONE. Well. With her half-Native-American-best-friend, Jefferson. It’s all guns and wagons and pioneers and the hunger for gold.
It did use the ancient trope of a girl disguising as a boy, which I honestly struggle to accept. I mean, I know it’s historical and women have done it forever. But women have different features??? And generally aren’t as big? And the shape is different? AHEM. But whatever.
But let’s talk about the incredible characters! I absolutely couldn’t get enough of their sheer awesome! It’s narrated in 1st person by Leah Westfall. I loved how capable and independent and smart Lee was. She could handle herself and she wanted to be in charge of her own life. But at the same time, she wasn’t running around punching people. She was just quietly and firmly resilient. I adore her basically.
The book, though, is more about the JOURNEY to the Gold Fields and California, than actually digging for gold. But it is a trilogy! (Which I’m a million percent thankful for because the ending was begging for more!) So hopefully we’ll get more goldy stuff soon. But Walk On Earth A Stranger is about the hard, perilous journey. All that stuff those people had to go through?! I’m amazed.
All the secondary characters are all really interesting too! There are a lot of them though, and at times I was blinking stupidly trying to remember the difference between Jefferson, Japser, and Joyner. (HELP ME.) So for a speed reader like me, that was a problem. But moving forward! The character development was amazing. Well. If you were a character lucky enough TO LIVE. The death toll is high, folks. Crossing America is not kind on humans.
I absolutely adored the epic beauty that is this book! I would’ve preferred it to have more gold-digging (Lee has this awesome power but isn’t using it?!?) so I’m hanging out for the sequel. I loved the friendship between Jefferson and Lee and totally am rooting for them to get together. Ahem. I also have always had a huge infatuation with the Oregon Trail, so this just fuelled my nerdy heart. I am definitely rooting for Lee and I can’t wait to read more from Rae Carson!
THIS BOOK IS GOLDEN. (Did you see what I did there?)