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. Walk on Earth a Stranger begins an epic saga from one of the finest writers of young adult literature.
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 series, dazzles with the first book in the Gold Seer Trilogy, introducing a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance, as only she can.
Leah (Lee) Westfall has the ability to divine gold, something that has enabled her family to survive and that they've kept a secret for safety reasons. Unfortunately all that goes to hell when the wrong person finds out the truth. Now Leah has to go on the run, heading to California and hoping to meet up with her best friend Jefferson on the way. The journey is filled with danger in the form of robbers, illness and accidents and always Lee has to stay a step ahead of the man who hunts her.
While Girl of Fire and Thorns is a fantasy series, Walk on Earth a Stranger is more like historical fiction with just a touch of fantasy included. There is plenty of historical detail and I enjoyed the prairie setting especially as Lee joined up with a wagon train. I've always loved prairie stories and Lee proves to be a hardworking, smart and resourceful young woman. There are also some great secondary characters introduced and the story examines the plight of women, people of African or Native American heritage and homosexuals (though this is only hinted at with the term "confirmed bachelors") during that time period. Many headed west not just for gold but to make a better life where they hope to live the way they want.
I loved this story and while it isn't as good as The Girl of Fire and Thorns which set the bar really high, it is still an excellent start to the series. The author has a gift for creating settings and strong female protagonists. I do wish we'd had more chance to explore Lee's abilities but hopefully that will change in the second book. I also think the villain was a little one dimensional so I hope the sequel will delve more into his character. I can't wait to read more about Lee and find out what will happen in California. Overall I was really happy with this book and I think fans of historical fiction will enjoy it as much as fans of her fantasy novels. Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss