Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)Author: Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer, #1
Released: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Length: 432 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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.
For those of us who are great fans of Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, Walk on Earth a Stranger couldn’t have come soon enough. But for a lot of us who’ve been expecting something similar to her debut, Carson’s sophomore project came as a complete surprise. Following the new Western trend in YA fiction, Carson takes us to a very real place in the middle of actual historical events, and adds just a touch of magic to spice it up a bit.

Carson’s writing is so compelling that it takes no effort at all to sink into one of her stories. Walk on Earth a Stranger is no different: a single chapter is more than enough to get caught in that page-turning frenzy. It helps that she keeps a steady, rather fast pacing the entire time, with peril for Lee and her friends at every turn.

Lee is on the run from her uncle ever since she realized that he killed her parents in a plot to control her and her ability to sense gold. Her goal is to reach California, where gold is said to be lying on the ground, just waiting to be picked up. Her best friend Jefferson is already on his way, all Leah has to do is disguise herself as a boy and catch up to him as soon as she can.

For all the importance they are given, Leah’s powers don’t really get a major part in this book. It’s just another secret she has to hide on her way to California, along with being a girl and a runaway to boot. I really wanted to understand more about her ability to sense gold, and I wish it was used a bit more, but there is still plenty of time to develop that aspect.

It’s silly to talk about worldbuilding when the world wasn’t actually built. It was, however, researched, explored and described so beautifully. Carson has the ability to take us precisely where she wants us to be without going into endless wordy descriptions. All it takes is a few sentences and the setting becomes so vivid that we can almost see, hear and taste everything around Leah and her friends. The road from Georgia to California is merciless and harsh, hard on any living creature, and especially on a young girl pretending to be a boy. I love that we were given insight into the best and the worst of it and that not a single thing was hidden from our eyes.

The romance in this book is weak to the point of being non-existent. We’ve learned from our previous experiences with Carson not to count on anything when it comes to romance, which holds true in this case as well. I saw a lifelong friendship with some potential, but there was very little chemistry between Lee and Jefferson and virtually no passion to speak of. Perhaps that’s what Carson is aiming for. Not every love has to be of the sudden and desperate variety. There is beauty in comfort and absolute trust, and a friendship like theirs can be a far better foundation for something solid and lasting.

It’s quite obvious that what we have in our hands is only a part of Leah’s journey and that more is yet to come. The story doesn’t have a solid conclusion, nothing substantial to hold onto, just a single goal achieved and a lot of uncertainty ahead.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Wow! That cover is beautiful! The story sounds good but I'm a little sad to hear it doesn't talk more about her ability. Still it is just a start to the series so it could get better.

  2. I finished this one recently and can agree with most of what you said! I hadn't read anything by Carson prior to reading this one, but I thought there was going to be a lot of magic in WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER. That's where it fell flat for me because you're right - there is hardly any "fantasy" in this one. The road to California was very fun to read about though! I really liked the relationship Lee and Jeff had together. Wonderful review, Maja!

  3. well dometimes even if we don't have a romance, it's not a bother, it's also nice to have a story like that. I heard great things about the book I confess and I'm curious to try it too.

  4. Her compelling writing sounds wonderful, I haven't read anything by her yet

  5. I thought the romance was very realistic too because it wasn't as overt and passionate. Not every romance is passionate, so I thought it was refreshing. I'm curious to see how things develop between them. I agree with you on the powers too. I would have loved to see more, but no doubt it will be explored further in the next two books. I'm really glad you enjoyed this, Maja!
    Lovely review!

  6. So many people have loved this and I really do love the whole YA western theme. I have yet to read a book like that so this will be a must for me. It is so nice finding something outside of the norm in this genre.

  7. "There is beauty in comfort and absolute trust, and a friendship like theirs can be a far better foundation for something solid and lasting."

    YES! I agree, there was basically only the potential for romance in this book, but I remember that the strong romance in Girl in Fire and Thorns series didn't even begin until the second book and then grew from there, so I have little doubt it will play a bigger role moving forward. So glad you loved this one overall though Maja, I adored it!

  8. She writes to beautiful, I'd read anything with her name on it. Grocery lists included.

  9. I would also have liked to know how her power worked too, but regardless of that minor issue, this seems to be a strong series starter. I also love the fact that it is about the Gold Rush, a topic I haven't read too much about.

  10. Rae Carson has such a way with words! And the descriptions and the development of the characters was fantastic! I'm really looking forward to the next book!
    Great review Maja!

  11. I've heard some really great things about this book and am super anxious to get a copy. I think I'm going to love it!

  12. I really enjoyed this book too. I found it to be completely captivating even with the slower pace. I loved all the detail and character growth. So happy you enjoyed it too.

  13. Her writing is so easy to connect with. It takes me no effort to get swept away in the world and characters she creates. I loved the story, I loved the brutal situations and the gender-bending. The little hints of magic were great and felt so realistic :) I'm happy you also liked it!

  14. I'm excited about his one! And kind of happy to learn it's not romanced focused (at least not yet).

    Karen @For What It's Worth


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.