Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger

WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER
The Gold Seer #1
Rae Carson
Young Adult/Historical/Paranormal-ish
Greenwillow
432 pages
Available Now
Source: BEA

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.


MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4/5
 

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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.

28 comments:

  1. Oh yes I keep hearing about this one but I confess that I haven't read it yet but I really should, it sounds really good and interesting! I'm glad to see you had a good time.

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  2. Everyone seems to be reading this one, except I, and Melli it seems ;)

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  3. I agree with you review of this one! I loved it and felt that despite being a slower kinda book was so great done and not boring at all, but I felt like there was a lil something missing... but I'm sure as with TGoFaT the swoons will come in the next books and the stakes will get higher!

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    1. YES! I just kept remembering that the TGoFaT romance didn't pick up steam until book 2, so I can't wait to see where things with Lee and Jeff go:)

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  4. I felt the same way as you regarding this book. I thought it was entertaining overall, but I definitely wish there was some more romance...maybe in book two! I loved the setting though! Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I've got my fingers crossed for the romance to play a bigger role in the next book! I really like Lee and Jeff together:)

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  5. I really loved Lee too! I love how smart she was when it came to every decision. I agree with you on the romance, her gold sensing abilities and the ending. I really hope we get more of the romance especially in book 2! I have faith though and this romance could turn into something so swoony! :)
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. Lee was AWESOME! I loved her. And of course Peony. I want Peony for myself:) I'm definitely hoping for the gold sense to play a bigger role in the next book, I'm sure it will!

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  6. I really enjoyed this one, too, though definitely felt as if the fantasy elements were downplayed in this installment. I can't wait for the sequel, though, and am curious to see what Carson has up her sleeve. Gorgeous review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Yes. It was more historical than paranormal, but I have a feeling that's going to change now that their overland journey is mostly over:)

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  7. I've heard AMAZING things about this book and I really think I'll love it. It's currently my most wanted book. :) So glad you enjoyed!

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    1. I hope you love it as much as I did Candace!

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  8. Well if I didn't already want to read this you would have sold me on it Jenny! Wonderful review!

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    1. I think you'll really enjoy this Ali. Lee was a fantastic heroine:)

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  9. I am reading some fantastic reviews for this, and I am in the mood for another Wild West story. I will keep in mind that the ending is a bit abrupt and the whole paranormal sensory thing isn't explored.

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    1. YES! I read this and Vengeance Road back to back and really loved both. More Wild West type stories please:)

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  10. Not my usual genre, but I may just pick this up! I love that it has potential for an epic romance. Great review!

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    1. Rae Carson writes very epic romances, they're just slow to start and they take a backseat to the rest of the story, but they're epic nonetheless:)

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  11. *dies a million times over* I adore this book! What attracted me to this book was the whole gold witchery that the summary alluded to (the cover is nothing but gold), but it's interesting how little of an appearance it makes. I'm actually pretty okay with it because it allowed more time to get to know our wonderful cast of characters!

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    1. Yes, I was surprised by how small a role her gold sense played as well, but it didn't bother me for the same reason - all the characters were awesome and I loved spending time with them!

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  12. I've been trying to figure out how to read the title of this book, and every single time, I'm left scratching my head coz I can't figure it out. Lol. Care to explain it to me?

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    1. Walk On Earth a Stranger? There was a reference to the title in the book, but now I can't remember what exactly it said:)

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  13. I’ve seen this book around, Jenny. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Though the lack of romance makes me hesitate.

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  14. WooHoo! I'm thrilled that you loved this one too Jenny^^ So far, I've read nothing but praise for this story, the setting and Lee herself and reading your thoughts on this one have sealed the deal - I NEED to read this one soon :D I love how unique it sounds and how awesome Lee sounds ♥ Fantastic review as always! xxxx

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  15. I can't wait to start this - all these Western styled books are just such a nice change to read. I'm also excited because this will be my first read by Rae Carson and I have heard so much about her wonderful writing.
    So happy you enjoyed it - wonderful review, Jenny!! :)

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