ARC Review ~ Walk on Earth a Stranger

Author: Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Page Length: 432 Pages
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: eARC via EW (Thanks Harper!)
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? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.
The Gold Rush Era of the United States back in 1849 is one of the most fascinating times in our country's history to learn about (in my opinion). People left everything they knew and held dear for a chance of a better life out in the wild west, a dangerous trip with harsh chances and perils. 

Lee has a special ability: she can sense gold. This would make her an odd commodity that people might exploit like her uncle Hiram. She escapes from his clutches and disguises herself as a boy, thinking it'll be easier to travel to California as a boy than as a girl. This book captures all the adventures, the ups and the downs, of her voyage out west. 

This book is a journey both literally and mentally. We see the grueling trip from start to finish, and I'd be lying if I said it was uneventful. I feel so bad because these people never catch a break! Someone lost an animal, someone got sick, one of the wagons broke, etc...  This book might not be entertaining, but it'll keep you occupied and wondering what tragedy will befall the characters next.

Speaking of characters, I really liked the main character Leah/Lee. She's a strong, independent woman, woohoo!! *fist bumps* Here's a girl I totally look up to. She's so responsible and kindhearted. Her hard-working nature and grit really brings her to the next level. She would totally be the winner of Survivor nowadays. She struggles to be herself as she realizes her very being is a lie, she's pretending to be a boy. It's great to see the positive nature she exudes in all areas, especially when in regards to herself. I love the camaraderie in the group of settlers traveling together. It's such a diverse group, and they become a big family. It's quite heartwarming.

The romance was a bit of a tease in this book. It's there, I ship it, now cannon yourself darn it. Hopefully in book 2... It's sweet and doesn't go too far, it's more furtive glances and words exchanged through heated eyes. The history sequences were well-researched, and I loved all the allusions to other events taking place at the time. I thought Rae did a great job describing the feel and mood of the time period along with the dress, lingo, and behavior. Rae's writing is engaging and poetic (at times). I love the emotions that pour out of her writing. This book couples both happy and melancholy moments, and Rae does it so well. 

Overall I enjoyed this one, but it didn't really stand out as an extraordinary read. It reminds me of basically any and all novels about traveling to the wild west during the Gold Rush Era. 
Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.


  1. Great review, Rachel! I'm sorry to hear it didn't stand out for you, but I've been wanting to read this one, so I may end up checking it out eventually. (And YAY to strong, independent women!)

  2. Thank you for this amazing review! I haven't read any book about the Gold Rush Ear and I barely know anything abut this topic since I'm not from the US. You said it's well-researched so I think it would be a good first book to read about this ear.

  3. I agree that the book is not full of twists and turns and it's more about the character's inner journey and growth, as well as the actual journey which was something to give us pause about how easy it is for us to go from one place to another compared to what it was at the time!

  4. I'm happy you enjoyed this one Rachel! I surprisingly adores this one with the lack of romance. I'm hoping in book 2 that those two get a little more time to shine.

  5. Great review! I'm sorry that this wasn't a extraordinary read for you, but I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns and I loved Rae Carson's writing in it, I'm looking forward to reading more of her books, so I think I will give this one a chance!

  6. Lovely review! I read this one and really enjoyed it!

  7. The Gold Rush Era is really interesting! I'm not from the US but I always find it intriguing to know more about all the countries. Kudos for the protagonist. I love when they're strong and independent. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

    Vane at Books With Chemistry

  8. I live in California, so pretty much 75% of my history lessons in elementary school were about the Gold Rush - LOL. Definitely curious to check this out though; there aren't many Wild West books out there in the YA genre, so this sounds like it'll be really unique and fun to read. It's a shame it didn't really leave a huge impact on you, but it sounds like it was a fun read regardless. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

  9. Shame, it didn't stand out for you. I've actually never read a Rae Carson book but I might check out this one. I love the concept. It sounds slightly similar to "Under The Painted Sky" by Stacey Lee. Excellent review, Rachel!

  10. Ah, I have this one and am actually quite looking forward to reading it! I like the sound of it being set then, and I actually haven't read a book set during those times. Because of this I might enjoy this one more because I have nothing to compare it to. You did mention it being not as unique when it comes to books of the era. I also love the sound of Leah/Lee, and I can understand her mini identity crisis when she is pretending to be someone else!

  11. GAHHHHH I love Leahh already! I'm going to start this one this coming week but you've made me want to start reading this RIGHT NOW!! I love slow romances in fantasy and dystopia as they always help me focus on what's important--the fantasy part. Too bad it didn't stand out as extraordinary for you, but I'm really really glad you've found a heroine to look up to :)

    Rhea @ Rhea's Neon Journal

  12. Bummer this one wasn't as memorable for you! I'm afraid since I just read and LOVED Vengeance Road, that I might feel the same way about this too. We'll see though. I wish there were more romance in this one.... I hate having to wait!


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