"Daddy always says I was born with a gold nugget in my left hand and a pickax in my right."
~Leah "Lee" Westfall, WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER
|Don't they look so pretty together!?|
Unlike high fantasy The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy, Carson's new The Gold Seer Trilogy is historical fantasy. Carson taps into a seldom-explored time period--especially in fantasy--and sets the trilogy in 1849 during the Gold Rush. Readers will experience an era full of wagons headed west, lawless bandits, and more as they follow Leah Westfall on her journey to California. Lee is traveling with two dangerous secrets: 1) "He" is really a girl in disguise, and 2) She has the ability to sense gold. People would kill for her abilities, and she isn't safe traveling alone as a female, so both secrets keep her on her toes. On top of that, she's heading West not to find gold, like everyone else, but to stay out of the clutches of her gold-hungry uncle who murdered her entire family in order to get to her. Uncle Hiram is on his way to California, too, and will stop at nothing to get Leah back. The journey West is dangerous in more ways than one, and Lee has to be tough if she wants to survive.
I've said it before when talking about Carson's novels and I'll say it again now: She has a way of turning setting into a character in and of itself. You feel like you're wherever she wants you to be, from the type of food being eaten to the smell and feel of the surrounding land. It's a hallmark of her writing style, and one of the reasons I adore her so much. I always feel like I'm right there with the characters. The setting is especially strong in WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER. The book is very much a "journey" book. Not everyone likes journey books because they can be really boring. And they aren't always necessary. But the journey is absolutely necessary in order to bring the future books to life. Carson manages to balance the journey with characters readers will care about. The route West is perilous and full of danger, which brings new life to something that could have been straightforward and dull. There's also not a huge amount of fantasy in this book, but now that Lee is in California among the gold, I think there will be a lot more to her magic in the remaining two books.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the world open up and become something completely different. I'm intrigued by Leah, a girl who can sense gold, as well as the time period of the novel. Plus, Lee is made of some pretty tough stuff, especially being female in the era she's from. It's so easy to root for her and wish her well! Some characters are more well-developed than others, but that happened in Carson's debut trilogy as well, and several of those characters grew and expanded and became favorites over the course of the series. I have a feeling her writing style will be very similar and that she'll turn characters upside down and give readers scenarios they aren't even expecting yet, and I can't wait to delve into this world all over again!
If you've never read Carson before, I highly recommend her Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy. I've previously reviewed THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, THE CROWN OF EMBERS, and THE BITTER KINGDOM, as well as novellas THE SHADOW CATS and THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN. In fact THE BITTER KINGDOM was my hands-down favorite novel of 2013!
If you've already read her other books--or if you're looking for more historical fantasy, check out Wild West-flavored debut RELIC by Renee Collins or the recently released VENGENACE ROAD by Erin Bowman!