Another Wild West Falls Flat

September & October Reviews-3

Goodreads Summary:

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. 

Earlier this year, I read a YA set in the Wild West – Vengeance Road. I had high hopes for it, but it fell a little flat. Finding out about Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson made me really excited about the Wild West again because Carson integrates fantasy elements in it. Again, I had high hopes for it especially because I hear that Carson’s previous fantasy series is phenomenal. Unfortunately, Walk on Earth a Stranger also fell a little flat for me.

my review

Earlier this year, I read a YA set in the Wild West – Vengeance Road. I had high hopes for it, but it fell a little flat. Finding out about Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson made me really excited about the Wild West again because Carson integrates fantasy elements in it. Again, I had high hopes for it especially because I hear that Carson’s previous fantasy series is phenomenal. Unfortunately, Walk on Earth a Stranger also fell a little flat for me.

THE FANTASY PART DOESN’T MAKE A PRESENCE


In this story, our main character Leah Westfall can sense gold around her. These magical senses prove to be extremely helpful because of the era she’s living in, where the California Gold Rush is all the fame. However, she keeps her power a secret. Otherwise, she would get taken advantage of.

I think this concept is so cool, but honestly, it’s only prevalent in the beginning of the story, and then kind of fizzles out. Her ability is rarely used: only a few more times as the story progresses. It’s the only fantasy element in the story, so I was really disappointed that it doesn’t make a larger presence in this story.

Instead, we get a story about the trek to California, and to be quite honest, it feels like a Little House on the Prairie story.

CHARACTERIZATION IS GREAT


That being said, I have to admire the characterization that happens throughout Walk on Earth a Stranger. Leah Westfall disguises herself as a boy because she will be safer and more empowered as a male. Not only does she appear stronger on the outside, but she herself grows stronger internally as well. She’s smart and is able to become almost a leader of the group, and learns to bond with nearly every member travelling with her.

It’s quite remarkable because she’s only fifteen years old when she embarks on the journey to California, but she matures quickly because of her circumstances and I love that about her character.

OH, THE ROMANCE


Leah pines over her best friend Jefferson in the story, but it’s not obsessive or annoying. I loved this friendship-to-romance development and I think Carson executed this just right.

TO CONTINUE, OR NO?


At this point, I’m not sure if I want to continue with the rest of the series. If the rest of the series contains the same amount of fantasy (aka close to none), I probably won’t continue – it’s the main reason I picked this book up. However, I did really like Leah Westfall’s characterization and her romance. I truly would like to follow her characterization more. Walk on Earth a Stranger is primarily a journey across the US to California to seek gold – with very little fantasy. If I went into the story knowing this, I feel that I would enjoy it a lot more, because it certainly is a decent story.

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2 thoughts on “Another Wild West Falls Flat

  1. I felt the same way about the fantasy elements but I feel as if I’m definitely going to continue with the series because I think those elements will be more prevalent in the sequel. But, not sure. :/ I wasn’t disappointed by this, per se, but I expected more after The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I think. Still, I enjoyed this despite not loving it. Great review, Jen!

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  2. It’s a shame this book felt flat to you. I was really charmed by the story, the character and the slow-building romance. I think her magic will play a much bigger role in the sequel. I can understand it’s disappointing if you expect more fantasy elements! Perhaps you should wait for the reviews of the sequel before deciding whether you continue or not 🙂

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