I fell in love with Rae Carson’s writing while reading the Fire and Thorns series so I was really excited to hear she had a new book coming out, and that it was set in the old west. With how easily she made me care about the characters in her other books, I had high expectations of the characters in this one, and they were all met.
Lee was a wonderful character. She was strong, brave, sympathetic, vulnerable, and extremely likable. I liked that she started out physically strong, able to hunt, able to take care of herself, and that she was cunning. She knew some of what she needed to survive on the trail but she was also thrown into having to learn a lot more on the journey. She was doing all that while still grieving for her parents and keeping her abilities and gender a secret.
There were so many wonderful side characters. Jefferon, Lee’s childhood friend and crush, was her rock. Having left for California a few days before her, finding him was Lee’s main goal and kept her motivated when it would have been easier to turn around. The people she met on the wagon train she joined were all so different. Some were more developed than others but I especially enjoyed the college boys, Major, and Lucy.
Most of the book was comprised of the travel to California but it never felt slow to me. There was always something happening, or the sense that something was about to happen. The journey was treacherous and it showed. I couldn’t put it down. I liked that there were more lighthearted moments woven throughout the book as well to show that, even with all the danger, the families on the wagon train had hope of a better life.
The setting and protagonist were so different from the Fire and Thorns series but this was no less addicting to read.