Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

Featured
 
4.5 (2)
 
4.8 (2)
1807 3
Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 22, 2015
ISBN
9780062242914
Buy This Book
      

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

A beautiful, vivid, and compulsively readable portrayal of life in Gold Rush-era America
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Before I dig into my thoughts on the first book in Rae Carson’s new Gold Seer Trilogy, let’s discuss genre for a minute. While WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER is being marketed as a fantasy, and while the opening chapter firmly establishes Leah Westfall’s ability to magically sense the presence of gold, once you move past the events that set Leah off on her cross-country journey, I was surprised to find that the majority of the book reads like a straight historical. Who knows, maybe future installments in the series will play up the magic more, but going off of just this first book, it feels a bit more accurate to call WOEAS historical fiction with some magical realism elements, rather than a fantasy

That said, even though I’d been prepared for a fantasy, I was not disappointed in the slightest to find magic missing from the majority of WOEAS. Leah — who starts going by “Lee” early in the book, when she disguises herself as a boy — is an utterly compelling narrator, and Carson’s prose is simultaneously lush and gritty, masterfully evoking the visuals and sounds and smells of a late-1800s America. The staggering amount of research that must have gone into this novel is evident on every page, immersing the reader in the endlessly beautiful — yet unforgivingly harsh — American frontier.

Though the ensemble cast seems kind of sprawling at first, Carson skillfully manages to develop her characters into fully three-dimensional people after surprisingly little page time. It didn’t take long before I was rooting not just for Leah, but for the families and individuals traveling alongside her. I won’t name names, because some characters have pretty impressive arcs (and some, um, die), but suffice it to say, Leah isn’t the only one who ends the book loving these people like family.

For those of us who grew up playing the video game Oregon Trail, Leah’s journey will come with a distinct sense of nostalgia. While (spoiler alert) Leah never hunkers down for days on end to shoot squirrels, she, along with her fellow travelers, must ford rivers, maneuver covered wagons, manage sick oxen, and battle disease (although not quite as much dysentery as I remember from my Oregon Trail days). Though the wagon train’s trek to California moves agonizingly slowly, the plot never does. Carson is a master of infusing her story with moment-to-moment tension, and even when the characters were sitting still, I found myself flying through the pages.

As with Carson’s first series, [what I suspect will be] the main romantic subplot doesn’t get much exploration in this first book. While there are hints, this is a story of survival and endurance, not romance. However, as a fan of the slow burn, I thoroughly enjoyed the foundations that were so thoughtfully laid in this book, and I think that even readers who prefer a lot of swoon in their fiction will find that, while sparse, there are enough tidbits in this book to carry them through to the next one.

Overall, I found WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER to be a beautiful, vivid, and compulsively readable portrayal of life in Gold Rush-era America, with just a dash of magic. I unequivocally loved it. Whether you are a lover of fantasy or historicals or simply a good story well told, I think you’ll love it, too.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
All that glitters is not gold
(Updated: September 08, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Loved:
This is the second western novel I've read recently (VENGEANCE ROAD was the other) and I was definitely worried that they would end up being very similar. I need not have worried, though. WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER is a unique novel with a tough and caring protagonist and a richly-drawn world.

The author does an amazing job at building the atmosphere of the novel. Lee's journey West is one of constant hardship. Anything could go wrong that could jeopardize the lives of everyone involved. As you read, you can really feel the toil and the stress of always having to watch your back, and even if you do everything right, something like cholera could end your life anyway. Disease, heat stroke, hunger, robbers...you name it, it's coming for you on the trail west.

It's a good thing that Lee is so tough and practical. She's used to hard work and doesn't balk at the daily grind of maintaining a wagon group. She also genuinely cares about the people she meets, even when first impressions aren't that great. Despite the fact that she's been betrayed and dealing with a terrible grief, it doesn't stop her from forming connections with her fellow wagoners. Her ability to sense gold is almost an afterthought to the realistic journey of a girl trying to escape. I thought magic would play a larger role in the story, and though it is the catalyst to some of the main action, it's also just a small part of her story.

What Left Me Wanting More:
While Lee feels fully fleshed out, I found myself feeling that the secondary characters weren't as developed. There's a full cast of characters, but only Lee felt truly real to me. I loved how even when she was in disguise, she stuck to who she was as a person.

The Final Verdict:
WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER is a story full of danger and adventure set against the hectic and overpowering thrill of the 1849 Gold Rush.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.8
Plot 
 
4.5  (2)
Characters 
 
5.0  (2)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (2)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Just as Amazing as I Expected
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
MY THOUGHTS
I've had such luck with books lately! This book has been yet another anticipated read that met, maybe even exceeded my high expectations!

Lee has always been able to detect gold, enough gold to keep her family safe. She's kept it a secret, but someone knows and will do anything for the gold, and to have control of her. To escape, Lee decides to flee to California and meet her best friend along the way. But it's not easy, not at all, and she certainly can't travel as a girl.

The entire premise of this book is just so interesting! It's about a girl who can detect gold, during the Gold Rush Era. This was all done really well, and the plot did revolve around Lee's ability, but the setting actually felt more important. That sounds bad, but I actually loved it. This book includes Lee's journey to California, that's the majority of the book. While in some other books, I find traveling a bit boring, this was actually very interesting! Lee has to go through a lot to get to California, so there's not a dull moment, and the historical element was incredible! It really did feel like I was in that period!

I didn't realize this while going into this book, but it has one of my favorite tropes: a girl dressing as a boy. Major props in general for having my favorite trope, but it also was done in a very satisfactory way. Meaning: She was a boy for the majority of the book. Anyway Lee is a great MC. She's obviously strong and resourceful, she's able to go through so much and make it. Jeff is her best friend and he's also an amazing character! Actually, all the characters in this book are so well-developed, even the horrible ones!

Lastly, there isn't really a romance in this book. This is a shame because I was shipping things, but I expect romance in the next book. Maybe just a little bit?

IN CONCLUSION
Overall, I loved this book! It was as amazing as I expected! The plot was unique, the historical elements were fantastic, and all of the characters were incredible well-developed! I admit I am very curious what will happen next in this series!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Rae Carson does it again!
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Lee Westfall can sense when she’s around gold. It’s been useful to help keep her family afloat but they have to be careful to keep her abilities a secret. When tragedy strikes and Lee is left in the care of her uncle – a man who wants to use her, control her for his own gain, she flees. She disguises herself as a boy and heads west to California, where gold was just discovered. The journey is dangerous, but if she can make it, maybe she can find safety.

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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Secondhand Dogs
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A heartwarming—and heart-tugging—middle grade novel about love, loyalty, and what...
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Road Trip
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join everyone's favorite Wildcats from the Disney+ smash hit original...
I'll Meet You in Your Dreams
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A heartwarming text honoring the ever-evolving relationship of a parent...
Colors of Habitats
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The brand-new sequel to a well-reviewed bestseller that has been...
Noble Thief (Fantasy and Fairytales Book 6)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A prince of two kingdoms. A woman fighting against the...
10 Truths and a Dare
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
It's Senior Party Week, that magical in-between time after classes...
All These Bodies
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation. ...
The Beautiful Ones
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and...
I Am the Shark
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
What makes the great white shark (one of) the greatest...
Made in Korea
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic...
Take Me Home Tonight
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets Nick and Nora’s Infinite...
The People We Choose
 
3.3
 
5.0 (1)
When 17-year-old Calliope meets her new neighbor Max, their...

Latest Member Reviews

Secondhand Dogs
 
5.0
"Gus is the pack leader at Miss Lottie's house, and has kept the peace well with excitable Roo, loyal and..."
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Road Trip
 
4.0
"HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES: THE ROAD TRIP is a fun book that compliments the show by diving..."
I'll Meet You in Your Dreams
 
5.0
"I'LL MEET YOU IN YOUR DREAMS is a gorgeously illustrated picture book about parental love that spans space and time...."
No Adults Allowed (Super Sidekicks #1)
 
4.5
"This is a cute read! No Adults Allowed is the first book in a new series from author Gavin Aung..."
The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans, #1)
 
5.0
"THE LAST FALLEN STAR is a thrilling epic fantasy. Riley Oh is a saram, a person without magic, adopted by..."
I Don't Want to Go to School
 
3.5
"I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL features Dinosaur and Mouse, who are both scared of their first day of..."
The Mother of Monsters
 
4.5
"‘The Mother of Monsters’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, tells the story of Ntombi, the chief's daughter. She..."
Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail: A Story from Chile
 
4.5
"‘Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, is great for younger elementary readers and anyone who..."
Baseball Baby
 
5.0
"BASEBALL BABY is a delightful board book about baseball. The book begins with heading to the park to play baseball..."
I Am Not a Penguin
 
4.0
"I AM NOT A PENGUIN is a silly picture book that manages to teach young readers about pangolins. A pangolin..."
Sam Can't Sleep
 
4.5
"SAM CAN'T SLEEP is a fun picture book read that introduces the concept of nocturnal animals. It's nighttime, and all..."
Welcome to California
 
4.0
"WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA is a fun picture book of facts about the state. It covers topics from the state capitol..."
Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure
 
4.5
"ZOOM: DINOSAUR ADVENTURE takes the reader on a journey to the time of the dinosaurs. Jamie and Jasmine are going..."
Let's Pretend Fire Station
 
5.0
"LET'S PRETEND FIRE STATION is a delightful peek-through board book about firefighters. The book features pictures of children, firetrucks, and..."
Rosa Loves Dinosaurs / A Rosa Le Encantan Los Dinosaurios
 
3.5
"ROSA LOVES DINOSAURS/ A ROSA LE ENCANTAN LOS DINOSAURIOS is a fun bilingual board book about a love of dinosaurs...."
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
 
5.0
"Eva Evergreen is a young witch about to embark on her Novice Quest. As the daughter of one of the..."
Homer on the Case
 
4.5
"HOMER ON THE CASE is a delightful middle grade mystery, featuring unlikely detectives. Homer, a homing pigeon, and Lulu, a..."
The Thingity-Jig
 
5.0
"THE THINGITY-JIG is a fun picture book read about invention and friendship. Although all his friends are asleep, Bear feels..."
Bridge of Souls (City of Ghosts #3)
 
4.0
"What worked: This is a satisfying conclusion to City of Ghosts series. Engaging characters, fast-paced plot, and spooky magic woven..."
This is Your World
 
5.0
"THIS IS YOUR WORLD is a lovely picture book that introduces the world and the importance of taking care of..."