Thursday, July 27, 2017

Walk on Earth a Stranger

My apologies for falling off the grid there! But I swear I do have a legitimate reason--my laptop broke and had to get fixed. And as much as I love my phone, I hate writing a lot on it. And then I moved, and I couldn't get internet for a while. But now I'm settled in, and this new place is starting to feel like a home. So I can get back to our regularly scheduled programming, and catch up on many many blog posts. Without further ado, my review of Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Lee Westfall is an orphan, and it's her fault. Ever since she was little, she could sense gold, and it was that luck that got her parents killed. Her only hope of not falling into the hands of her uncle is to go west to California, where she can put her skills to good use. But her uncle isn't the only danger out there, and the perils of the road lead her to disguise herself as a boy in order to survive. Lee just needs to find her friend and make it to California alive. But nothing is guaranteed in the gold rush.

The series of books that cemented my love of reading was Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet. A key feature of the first two books of that series is that the main character is disguised as a boy in order to make it in a man's world. That plays heavily here, with Lee having to hide herself as a boy so she can make it on the road to California and shake off her creepy uncle. Some of the struggles may seem a bit tired, given the prevalence of the trope, but what really sells it in the first third of this book is the constant tension of Lee being constantly on the edge of discovery. I'll admit, it got my heart racing on more than one occasion. The people Lee meets are interesting and painted with a good, albeit sometimes broad, brush. I'll admit, for most of the story, it doesn't matter that Lee can sense gold, and once she gets further away from her hometown, the threat of her uncle becomes more amorphous. But Carson's writing is solid, and it's the reason I enjoyed her last series as much as I did. The tension slowly ramps higher, and she is not afraid to kill off her characters. In the end, I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to, and I look forward to reading Like a River Glorious.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (More like 3.5)
Up Next: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray