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Walk on Earth a Stranger (Gold Seer Trilogy) Paperback – September 6, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—This riveting saga features 15-year-old tomboy Leah, who has an extraordinary talent, the ability to sense when gold is near. She uses this skill to provide for her ailing parents, who live in an isolated part of Dahlonega, GA, the site of the first major U.S. gold rush in the early 1800s. They lead a fairly frugal existence so as not to arouse local suspicions. When her parents are robbed and murdered and her best (and only) friend, a half-white, half-Cherokee boy named Jefferson, leaves Georgia for a new gold rush in California, her world is turned upside down. To make matters worse, a nefarious uncle comes to claim her parents' property and use her gold-seeking skills for ill intent. Disguised as a boy, she leaves the only home she's ever known to reunite with Jefferson and join a wagon train. Lee, as she calls herself, is a smart, feisty, and likable protagonist who encounters all the hardships one would expect on the arduous journey West—illness, injury, hunger, exposure to extreme weather, and buffalo stampedes. All the while, she knows her uncle will stop at nothing to hunt her down. At the crux of the story is Leah's dilemma of keeping her gender and talent a secret from those to whom she becomes close. The time period rings true through Carson's skillful use of language and attention to detail. VERDICT Though the wagon train adventure is slightly cliché, the fast-paced plot, a hint of mild romance, and the added element of fantasy make this stand out from your average Gold Rush story.—Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Simply terrific—tense and exciting, while gently and honestly addressing the brutal hardships of the westward migration. …[Leah] takes center stage as a smart, resourceful, determined, and realistic heroine who embodies the age-old philosophy that it isn’t what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Lee…is a smart, feisty, and likable protagonist who encounters all the hardships one would expect on the arduous journey West…the fast-paced plot, a hint of mild romance, and the added element of fantasy make this stand out.” (School Library Journal)
“Carson is known for her world-building and strong female characters and she handles everything with carefully constructed, well-researched aplomb. It’s a book that illuminates an important segment of American history…sustaining YA interest through adventure, fantasy, and romance.” (Booklist (starred review))
“With an organically diverse cast, three-dimensional characters, a vividly evoked setting, and the lightest touch of romance, Carson’s novel captures the trepidation and exhilaration of journeying into the unknown.” (The Horn Book)
“An empowering and powerful read perfect for one who enjoyed history and adventure. …Carson takes us on a wild wagon journey peppered with drama and mystery.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub)
“Pure storytelling gold. …The author capably crosses genres and breaks stereotypes, and the result is an absorbing adventure that only hints at the thrills that will surely come in the next two books.” (The Daily Summit)
“Carson’s world-building skills are extraordinary…The author paints an early America that is teeming with people from an array of backgrounds and beliefs-the diversity of the characters is as integral to the plot of the book as it was to shaping the United States.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Lee is an ambitious, generous, kind and scrappy character…Fans of Carson’s work will enjoy this road-trip-turned-Western, and newcomers will love the flair she brings to her characters and settings.” (Deseret News)
“Carson does nice work adding nuance to her side characters, showing minor evolutions that challenge the racism, sexism, and classism deeply rooted in most of the people Leah encounters…Fantasy readers will likely find Leah and her gold-sensing core to be intriguingly different than the usual heroine.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
Top customer reviews
They were right.
In January 1849 Lee's life changes forever and, for the first time, she is completely alone in the world. Even her best friend, Jefferson, has left her behind to chase the promise of gold and a fresh start in California
With nothing left to keep her in Georgia and every reason to leave, Lee disguises herself as a boy and sets out to make her own way west and hopefully find her best friend along the way.
The road to California won't be easy. With so many people hoping to find gold and security, Lee is sure her witchy ways will give her an edge. If she can make it that far. After losing so much, and with so long to go, Lee will have to decide who she can trust and who she wants to be in Walk on Earth a Stranger (2015) by Rae Carson.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is the first book in Carson's Gold Seer Trilogy. Because this book focuses heavily on Lee's journey to California it does offer a contained story and can easily be read on its own.
While Walk on Earth a Stranger is very much in the same vein as traditional westerns, it does not offer a sanitized or romanticized version of the west as characters grapple with racism, sexism, and the physical dangers on the trail while also beginning to grasp the enormous change this great movement of people will bring to the western territories of the United States.
Although Lee has a magical ability to find gold, Walk on Earth a Stranger is a historical novel at its core, and extremely well-done at that. Carson has surpassed herself in this well-researched and nuanced novel that covers so many details and perspectives of the 1849 gold rush. Lee falls in with a ragtag cast of characters on her travels west. This varied and diverse group add a lot of dimension to what is already a very rich story.
Lee's first person narration brings the landscape and the era to life as she makes her long trek from Georgia to California. Against the vivid backdrop of her travels, Lee's story is often quite introspective as she ponders her own place in the world and her future out west.
Lee's journey to find herself while also finding her way to a new life is riveting and empowering. Walk on Earth a Stranger perfectly captures the freedom and possibility that can come with following gold west at a time when picking a new identity was as easy as adopting a new name. Walk on Earth a Stranger also returns, again and again, to the idea of choice as Lee is left to choose who she wants to be, and also who she wants beside her, on the long road ahead. A stunning start to a series that is sure to be gold for many readers.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
I read this book in a little more than a week, grabbing onto it at every small moment and letting my TV shows go by the wayside. And within minutes of finishing it, I've already bought the sequel. I very much recommend this series to anyone who loves excellent writing and characters.
I enjoyed the characters, the plot, the writing, but it was not what I was expecting nor what I wanted. Some have described this as a fantasy novel… it is NOT a fantasy. This is historical fiction with a tiny little nugget of magic (let's hope that grows in the sequel). It's nothing like Rae Carson's previous series (The Girl of Fire and Thorns) either.. for those suggesting or wondering about it.
The book goes on as I expect a trek across the country during the gold rush would-- slowly and uncomfortably. The romance is hardly there, which could have been somewhat of a saving grace for me. Lee/Leah just rolls over whenever she has an inkling of feeling-- I wanted her to get mad, get jealous, get excited-- ANYTHING. She'll think one thing, but then immediately let it go. I felt no emotions from her and therefore towards her, which is ridiculous for a book written in first person.
And although the characters face hardship, there is nothing that exciting within it. Every problem has a predictable and fairly simple solution, and as I read the last few pages-- I couldn't believe I had trudged through the entire book for that weak scene with her Uncle.
I think this book is better for a younger audience and one more interested in the historical part of it, not of any true adventure, fantasy, or romance.
I will probably read the next book (as long as it promises to improve on this). I think it will be interesting to see Leah's gift for gold sensing in action.
Most recent customer reviews
Although it relayed all the hardship of the wagons going west through the desserts, it did not express the full impact of...Read more