Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Published by HarperCollins on September 22, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Action & Adventure, General, Girls & Women, Historical
Format: Advanced Review Copy
I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Buy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The King's English
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?
I was so excited to see that Rae Carson has a new series coming out. Girl of Fire and Thorns was one of my favorites a few years ago, and I felt like that series ended on such a high note. I knew this series was going to be a departure from that one, given it’s more of the historical fiction slant. But, I do love a good historical novel, so I gave it a go.
I think this is going to be a mixed bag for fans of Carson’s first series. It really is so different from her first one, especially with its rather slow pace. This is a road trip novel with covered wagons, and there is a lot of ground to cover (I seriously didn’t realize that was a pun until I read it again, but I’m keeping it).
However, there are some things that will remind you of the awesome that is Rae Carson. First, Lee Westfall. She’s kind, interesting, generous, scrappy, and lovely. She has a sense for finding gold, but she isn’t greedy. She isn’t perfect, and she’s a tad naive, but she has a lot of room to grow.
Second, the diversity and challenge to convention. It would be tempting in a historical novel to make this all about the types of pioneers you see in paintings of the west: white men. But, there are freed slaves, LBGT characters, and a diverse group of people who have all kinds of conflicting motives and mixes of good and bad intentions.
Lastly, the subtle magic. Of course, this book doesn’t contain the scale of magic that Carson’s first series did. However, it’s there. It’s not very well-developed, but I imagine that’s going to be a driving force in the rest of the series. It’s enough that it gets Lee into trouble, and out of trouble as well. A nice proper blend of the pros and cons of having a gift.
However, and I mean this halfway in jest, I feel like there was a major missed opportunity to bring in some awesome Mormon elements to the wagon train, considering it’s the trail westward, after all.
Overall, I’m going to pick up the next book in this series, because I really think the story will get stronger and I’m hoping the magical element will start to take center stage.