Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson


Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson


I generally steer clear of western novels, but I couldn't resist anything that has Rae Carson's name on it. So, I pounced on this book as soon as I got the chance. And boy am I glad that I did. On the other hand, I do love western movies, and this book was filled with all of the elements that make this genre so compelling.

Although it was setting the premise for the rest of the trilogy, there was still enough action scenes, suspense, drama and despicable characters to keep you satisfied until the end, and hungry for the next installment. We follow the story of Leah (aka Lee) Westfall, who is a smart girl, in a small town, who carries a big family secret. Leah can sense the presence of gold, the way metal detectors can find metal in the middle of the ground. Feisty, independent and proud of her life with her loving family, her life is thrown upside down as her parents are murdered by an estranged relative. 

Distraught yet determined to build a better life for herself, she becomes the Mulan of the Gold Rush-era. On horseback, with her parent's murderer at her heels, she makes the treacherous journey to California alone. This results in a harrowing adventure, filled with new friends, old enemies, new loves and old-time traditions, all tied by their desire to get lucky in the Golden State. Rae Carson does an excellent job of depicting the Gold Rush-era from every angle. We see how it was a time where any man could become somebody, yet it was plagued by injustices against women and African-Americans and tense relations between the Indigenous groups and western America. This dynamic backdrop sets the tone for the rest of the trilogy as Leah struggles to reveal her true self and fights for freedom in a society set on keeping her on a leash. 

Rae Carson is an amazing world builder. She creates these landscapes, and depicts them so well that you can practically feel the dust being kicked into your face by the wagons, and recoil at the smell of the oxen pulling the carts. I was thrilled that she created another trilogy where she introduced a strong heroine who wasn't afraid to the question the world around her, had strong values and family ties and was prepared to do whatever it took to take control of her future. Like Elisa in her "Girl of Fire and Thorns" trilogy, Lee took everyone by surprise and used her intuition and ingenuity, to take care of herself when no one else would. I can't wait to see how the series plays out in the next installment (so stay tuned)!
“There's not a place in the whole world where everyone isn't willing--no, eager--to give a girl up to a man.”
― Rae Carson, Walk on Earth a Stranger


~Alexandra

Who's your favourite heroine?


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