Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer, #1)Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Read Oct 21 – Oct 26, 2015
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Magical Realism
431 pages

Walk on Earth a Stranger is a young adult historical fiction set during the California Gold Rush of the 1800s. It follows the main character Leah, who through a set of circumstances finds herself traversing the barely-settled United States, running from a  murderous uncle who has ‘plans’ for her. The group of travelers she finds herself with are all after the same thing – gold. Leah though has an advantage – she can sense the gold in the ground, in someone’s pockets, or hidden away in a wagon. She can feel it like we feel a tickle on our skin or a cough building in the back of our throats.

This book is by the author who wrote the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, which I really liked. And this book is no different. It’s a strong opening for what I’m hoping will be an even better trilogy than her first. The main character grew on me immediately. She reminds me of the main character from Carson’s first trilogy, but there are differences that set them apart for sure. I feel that Carson just writes really good, strong female characters. Well developed and well rounded.

Another thing I liked about this book is the relations between then the different women in the cast and the subtle ‘well I’m not gonna listen to traditional gender roles’-ness about it all. I really like it. I mean, they fit the roles for the time period but at the same time you can see them striving for more. It was a refreshing read. The women, even when obviously interested in the same person, were kind and caring towards each other. No ‘cattiness’ or whatever you want to call it that’s so stereotypical. I’m noticing that in Carson’s books in general – a lot of positive female friendships. I love it. :”D Another point – I know people are sticking the label ‘romance’ in there, and there can be hints of a love triangle at times, but like I mentioned earlier, all the drama that usually comes with one was absent in this book. And the romance I feel is gonna turn into one of those oh-so-delicious slow-burning ones that by the end of book two or three I’ll be screaming ‘JUST KISS ALREADY’. I can see it there, it’s definitely there, but I feel like Carson’s gonna toy with our emotions for a bit before doing anything with it. So don’t mind me, I’ll be over here agonizing.

And finally, the historical setting and surroundings, from what I can tell seems accurate. I am by no means a historian, but the setting felt authentic, the situations the characters found themselves in felt real. I was totally engrossed by this book. I like historical fiction but don’t pick it up too much. I’m glad I did so with this one. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it as a library copy, but now I want my own. Gimme. And book two, hurry up and get here please.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Book Review – The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

When I first heard about this book, what really made me interested in it was how the main character was described. She has all of the typical characteristics of an unwilling hero – reluctancy, being thrown out of her element, so on. But she is also overweight. She has a food addiction. She thinks about eating (and eats) constantly. And she’s the heroine of a fantasy novel. I can’t say I’ve ever read about a character like that before. Usually if you’ve got a female lead, she’s a good fighter, or a good thinker… but always -always- she is described as slim or average. Never have I read of a heroine who was fat, especially in a fantasy setting (If you have, tell me the book, I wanna read it). Another thing that intrigued me about this book is the religion in it. Whenever the main character Elisa prays, her god seems to answer her, like immediately. It was refreshing reading about an omnipotent entity that actually seemed to interact with the world on a normal basis.

So anyways, the plot of this book. This book is about Elisa, who is marked as the chosen one by a Godstone in her navel. As described earlier, she’s not exactly the prime candidate to be chosen, and those around her know it. The land she lives in is surrounded by a few other countries, all with political and warlike stresses to them, and after being married off at the beginning of the book to the king of one of them, Elisa has to somehow survive as more and more people learn who she is, fulfill her duty as the chosen one and come to terms with the fact that’s she’s been married to someone she doesn’t know.

One of the things I really liked about this book were the characters. Each one seemed to evolve a good amount throughout the story. Elisa especially goes through a huge character development, and I love who she becomes. The characters around her too flesh out a good deal and some you liked you decide you don’t and some you didn’t like you decide you do. It’s all just so wonderful. The plot of this book is rather interesting I think. Even though if you read the synopsis on the back of the book, it’s clear that a certain event happens, but I was so engrossed with the writing that I kind of forgot about it and when it happened it still took me by surprise. This book is fast paced and might make you tear up a bit here and there, and it was exactly what I needed after almost two weeks of not reading anything. This book is good, I really liked it. I didn’t love it like I was hoping I would, but I feel like, with the way the characters had developed by the end of the book, I will probably love the next one, which makes me really excited.

The main character to me was uncomfortably relatable. I think that’s why I liked her so much. I used to be really bad when it came to food. (I’m not perfect yet. If you’ve ever seen me, I’m definitely wigglier than I should be), but I’ve gotten better when it comes to portion control and impulse eating and whatnot. Watching Elisa go through the same struggles really made me fall in love with her as a character, and I hope her personality at its core never changes.

There’s only one part in this book that I had a problem with, and if you haven’t read the book yet and plan to, don’t read the rest of this paragraph because it’s a major spoiler (just this one, the rest after it will be fine, I promise). The problem I had is how grief is handled in this book. I feel like the author didn’t want to cover it at all and just skimmed over it. So y’know after they show up at whatshisface’s place and he has Humberto’s throat slit – the one who Elisa loves and the one who is Cosme’s brother… and he dies… and NEITHER OF THEM cry for more than like five minutes. All of the sudden, they’re fine. They’re dandy. My brother is dead, or the boy I love is dead. I’m totally peachy. I’m fine. I understand not mourning immediately due to being in the middle of a tense situation, but later when everything has calmed down, not even in Elisa’s inner monologue did she seem to be mourning aside from occassionally being like ‘oh, I miss him’. No sadness. That is the part that disconnected me from the book. That character’s death had more of an effect on me than it did those two. I teared up, thinking about my own boyfriend. I would be a wreck for.. for.. I don’t even know how long, but it would definitely be more than five minutes, man. Come on, Rae Carson. THEY CAN CRY IT’S OKAY I PROMISE.

Spoilers over! So yes, I definitely plan on continuing this trilogy. I’m hoping that they get ever better (and that issue I mentioned in the spoiler is resolved or at least improved upon, buh). If you want a refreshingly different lead character, read this book. It’s a nice change in perspective.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5 stars
Cryyyy a little