Howdy there me mateys! A new category for me readers – westerns with a fantasy or sci-fi twist! For the first installment . . .
walk on earth a stranger (Rae Carson)
I have conquered yet another port I wanted to plunder. Arrrr! A western with magic. I happen to really love Rae Carson’s writing. I have previously read her other series, Fire and Thorns for my 3 Bells showcase. Prior posts about those books (in reading order) are the girl of fire and thorns (2011); the crown of embers (2012); and the bitter kingdom (2013). Apparently there are short stories set in this world which I should check out sometime. All three books are available in an omnibus edition and the short stories have been gathered in one collection.
In any case, this novel is the first in the new Gold Seer Saga which is currently set up to be a trilogy. Now as a younger human I played Oregon Trail and had a wonderful time hunting bison, running a bare bones wagon train, and trying to avoid dysentery killing off my wagon party. This novel was like getting an inside glimpse of traveling the trail with a strong dose of reality that makes it anything but a game. The trail was hard, people die, and hope for the future is hard to maintain. But hope does remain throughout this novel in the strength of the main character, Lee, the friendships she makes on the trail, and how people can come together to form a bond and work together to achieve their dreams. The characters in this book struggle and change as a consequence of their surroundings.
That being said, even with the dose of reality, there is magic in the novel in the way that Lee can literally sense gold. This trait sets up the plot of the novel and it’s used throughout. Even though Lee can do magic, in some senses the magic is like a curse instead of a blessing. I like the dichotomy of that in the novel.
When I read this book, I failed to know that it was a trilogy so I was confused that the journey was so drawn out. Silly me. I should have guessed by the map. And the structure of the story. And maybe if I would have read the back cover if the novel. I didn’t. However the somewhat cliff hanger ending made me sad and want more. Then I laughed when I found out it was book one of three. I want to read the next book in this series. I loved the character of Lee and her cohort of trail survivors and I must know what happens next.
The author’s website has this to say about the novel:
A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.
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.
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