Backlist Burndown Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on September 22nd 2015
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.
At the end of every year, I think no matter how many books you read, there are a few that people rave about that you for some reason skipped over. Walk on Earth a Stranger was one of those books for me. Admittedly, I do not read a ton of books labeled as YA, so that could be part of the reason why this one fell under my radar. But, its also books like these that make me stick to my Backlist Burndown initiative.
What I found most striking about this book is the character’s voice. It just came across as authentic, making everything in the story that much more interesting. The protagonist’s personality really shines on every page. It pulled me in from the first paragraph, and quite frankly left me wanting to hear more even after the story was done.
It’s hardly a secret, I love the girl dressing as a boy trope, so I was even more excited about this book once I found out it also incorporated that! I know, I’m silly and predictable that way, but we all have to have our favorite tropes, and that is one that I really enjoy. Maybe partially because the girls that tend to do that also tend to have strong, independent personalities that buck social expectations at least on some level. Our protagonist Lee is no exception. She has been working to keep her family afloat, hunting, taking care of the horses and such. Jobs that are often assigned to men. But with her father unable to do them, Lee has taken over, and she is great at it.
But her tasks on her family land are not all that Lee excels at. Set during the California gold rush, Lee has an amazing ability. One that could make her rich or get her killed. She can sense and find gold, which is an amazing talent, but also something that could get her branded as a witch. It could also be dangerous as the wrong people could try to use her for their own schemes. So, it is a secret that she has held on to, not even trusting her best friend with the knowledge.
When tragedy strikes, Lee is forced to run, and what better place to run than to California where gold is rumored to be plentiful? With a talent like Lee’s it doesn’t even have to plentiful, as long as there is some there, she can seek it out. Her journey challenges her, forces her evaluate when it is worth trusting someone and when it is not.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. It has great atmosphere, and I just genuinely like the main character’s voice and personality. Highly recommend, and I look forward to the next one.
I have challenged and committed myself to reading at least one book from my backlist every month and posting the review on the last Friday of the month. I invite anyone interested to join me and link up their own Backlist Burndown reviews. I will offer the link at the bottom of my monthly Backlist Burndown reviews, and also will keep a running record of the reviews on my Dracarys! Backlist Burndown page available from my top menu.