Review: Walk On Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

9780062242914I 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 amazingWell. 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?)

 

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Review: Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

10429092I am absolutely in love with Girl Of Fire And Thorns by Rae Carson. I’ve been gnawing at fantasies like a fiend lately and finally found this one which is a) unique, and b) feministic, and c) incredibly adorable and charming and heart warming. WELL. Apart from the moments when my heart was breaking. This author does NOT spare her characters.

It’s an incredible rich fantasy world, which was gorgeous to experience. My single complaint was that it was a bit hard to keep up with the multitude of countries and who-was-at-war-with-who. Seriously, the world is BIG. And I think it was Italian-inspired?! Whatever it was it wasn’t Britain so that twist was refreshing too.

But we have to talk about characters. Basically the protagonist: Elisa. If nothing else, read this book for the incredibleness that is Elisa. Her character development is marvellous. I’m reeling! I am! She starts as an unconfident child and develops into this clever queen. She also has an eating disorder, which you don’t often come across in epic-fantasy. Her struggles were so relatable and sensitively written. I really admired Elisa. She definitely goes down as one of the BEST characters I’ve ever read.

Other Characters Include:

  • Alejandro: Totally a weak sap head. I mean, who marries a girl and then proceeds to pretend you didn’t?!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM.
  • Xemina: Freaky, but awesome. She killed a dude with a hairpin. Also a bodyguard/nurse.
  • Cosme: She was a pleasant surprise! I thought she was just going to be a snooty maid, but noooo she turned out incredibly multi-layered. I was rooting for Cosme!
  • Rosario: He’s the little 6-year-old prince and an absolute brat but yet adorable.
  • Hector: OH HECTOR. He didn’t have a massive role, but I think he would’ve been a good match with Elisa.
  • Humberto: He was a hesitant love interest, but more importantly part of the rebel army.

Basically I LOVED the incredible writing of these characters. (Although their names? Um, confusing much?!)

The writing? 9780575099159It’s wonderful. Maybe it’s on the wordy side and the beginning isn’t fast  (actually, the whole book isn’t astronomically fast), but Elisa has such a winning voice.

I was a little puzzled about Elisa’s “godstone”, though. It’s this magical stone in her stomach, put there by the gods. And while it made her uber special, it didn’t actually do much (it got hot and cold depending on when trouble was hear, but that’s about it) and I wished more about the godstone had been revealed. Maybe that comes in later books?

And whatever you do, MAKE SURE YOU READ THE AUTHOR’S NOTE! Oh wow. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the novel for me. It was about sexism in the workplace and what inspired the author to delve into eating disorders in her epic fantasy. She talked about her fears that her intentions with Elisa’s weight gain/loss could be misconstrued. It was a really honest and open note and I’m pretty sure this author has a heart of gold. Also, I’m very passionate about feminism and I loved that this book tackled it head on. Elisa learnt about confidence and self-image AND fought a war and got married off against her will and was immersed in a world of magic — the combination was poignant and fresh.

This is a book where I definitely need the sequel. ASAP.

 

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