The Gold Seer #1
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Leee 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 muder 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.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is a gritty start to this trilogy, an overland trek to California detailed for us in all its grim brutality, but a stunning cast of characters gives us heart and hope as they step one foot in front of the other mile after difficult mile. Ms. Carson clearly did a great deal of research to bring Leah and Jefferson’s journey to life, so many beautifully small everyday details making us feel as though we’re riding right alongside the wagon train as they battle the terrain, sickness and infighting in the hopes of a better life out west.
Leah is one of many highlights of this story, an only child filling the role of both son and daughter for her parents and thus in possession of a set of survival skills she likely wouldn’t have had if her baby brother had lived. She thinks tactically and logically as she begins the journey on her own, making smart choices at every turn and getting herself out of potentially fatal situations with quick thinking and determination. Once reunited with Jefferson as they join up with a wagon train, she continues to use her body and mind in tandem, pushing herself to her physical limits but never over while using every single thing her murdered parents taught her.
While there’s no real romance to be had in this first installment, the potential for something stunning to develop between her and Jefferson is a subtle thrum throughout, never allowing us to forget its presence despite the dangers that unfold with every chapter. A swoon-worthy romance isn’t missed in the least however, as the secondary cast of westward travelers delights with their many and varied personalities, a sense of camaraderie (and, in the case of some, discontent) building over the course of four hundred pages until we reach an end that displays just how fully the bond between the group has formed.
The only mild complaints with this first installment are with regard to Leah’s ability to sense gold and the somewhat abrupt ending, the former not playing much of a role aside from the occasional twinge she feels along the way. Her gift is the catalyst for the entire journey though, and will likely build in importance as the trilogy continues. The ending feels just a touch rushed after an epic and sprawling life and death adventure through mountains and desert, Leah’s quick and rather convenient run-in with her villainous uncle in the final pages feeling the tiniest bit unnecessary. Those are the smallest of niggles in an overall outstanding story however, and I can’t wait to see how things continue to develop for Leah, Jefferson and company in future books.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.