Release Date - September 22, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.Rae Carson's newest novel is perhaps not what one would first expect. This is not the high fantasy of her previous series. This instead is a well researched, well written, historical novel that just happens to have a nugget of magic at it's center.
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.
Everything from the plot, setting, and characters felt different and exciting. Rae Carson's setting is pitch perfect. You feel propelled into the Gold Rush era along with Lee. Losing yourself into this world is effortless, and this combined with Rae Carson's writing made the novel a quick read. The story is primarily a journey based one, and therefore is a little quieter, but it allows for the characters to truly shine, and the moments of intense action feel just a little brighter when they do happen as a result.
Lee is an incredible heroine. Tough, filled with conviction, and someone who isn't afraid to take risks and grab any chances she can. She is hard working and isn't put off by making the harder choice when needed. She is also fragile, as the secret she keeps leaves her on constant edge just waiting to be found out. This makes her cautious and thoughtful. She thinks before she acts, and looks at all possible angles before rushing off. It's a character trait that really made her stand out.
I do not know much about the gold rush, other than the bare basics, but Rae Carson's novel felt incredibly authentic. The details that went into creating the long, dangerous migration to California are both stunning, and awe inspiring. From the illnesses that plagued the trip, to the people who took advantage of those along the way, and the accidents you never saw coming, there was no end to the risks involved. I never thought of how tiring and dangerous the passage actually was for those who took the journey. This novel drove home the fact that, for some people, making it all the way to California was not a reality. Rae Carson did not shy away from this heartbreaking truth, and we see the cost and toll this journey would taken for those who ventured out. This brutal truth is matched only by the beauty that is seen along the way and equal importance is given to both. This journey was life changing, and that all encompassing experience is found within these pages.
Those who favour romances that are given time and space to breath, a slower burn before igniting into a flame, will fall under the spell of the romance in this one. It also happens to be a friends first situation which are my favourite kind of romances. The foundation is there, and seeing it tentatively turn to something more is wonderful to experience. It's easy to embrace this couple as each member is better with the other, and each of them provides a stability that the other needs. This relationship evolving in the subsequent books is one of the things I am most looking forward to as this series continues.
A quiet, but engrossing, start to a new series that boasts incredible realism with just a smidgen of magic that feels organic to the setting. Rae Carson blends a historical truth with this magic effortlessly and leaves you eager to join Lee in the next chapter of her adventure.