Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Western, Young Adult
Published by Greenwillow (9.22.2015)
eARC, 432 pages
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. 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? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.
I think everyone knows by now how much I hate historical. I went into this expecting a fantasy. I knew it had a historical aspect, but I didn’t think it would be overpowering. Let me repeat: I thought this was a fantasy. It is NOT a fantasy. In fact, there’s really nothing fantasy about this book at all aside from Leah’s ability to witch gold. This is a historical all the way.
But, surprisingly, that didn’t ruin it for me. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would, actually! It’s historical, true, but it’s about the gold rush so it was interesting. Plus it had a very Dances With Wolves feel that made me enjoy it a lot more. (Hell of a movie!!) It was kind of like Dances With Wolves meets Not a Drop to Drink, but totally its own entity.
This is a very, very character driven novel. There is a lot of focus on the character development and relationships. And it was all very realistic, might I add! There wasn’t really much focus on the historical aspect. It was the setting only, not the actual story, if that makes any sense. This was simply a beautiful story about a young woman trying to find her way in a world ruled by men.
I think Carson captured the difficulty of being a woman in the 1800s beautifully. Lee struggles from the start because of being a woman. She has to hide who she is and there’s always the danger of her being discovered. Her hardships really created a connection to her character! I felt terrible for her in the beginning when she lost everything.
Carson also captured how difficult times were back then. Without technology and modern medicine, there were a lot of deaths from things that would never be an issue in our time, like pregnancy and sickness.
I was impressed by how much Carson’s writing style has improved since Girl of Fire and Thorns. I didn’t like that book at all, but I quite enjoyed this one!
Writing style: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4/5