By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian
If you’ve ever heard me raving about The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, it should come as no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the first book in Rae Carson’s next series. Lucky for me, I managed to score an advanced copy to get a sneak peek at the book, which will be released on September 22!
What I’m Reading Now: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
What’s It About (Jacket Description): 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.
Do I Like It: I’m racing through it and it’s written by Rae Carson, so I think it’s safe to say yes!
Thoughts: Walk on Earth a Stranger is a very different book from The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, but that’s not necessarily bad. If you do want to know what it has in common with the GoFaT series, rest assured that Lee is a strong, smart heroine, that there is action and adventure, and that the magic is compelling and a big part of the main character’s life.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is in many ways a Western – a trend that seems to be popping up more and more in young adult literature, and which I’m starting to be a fan of. Lee has grown up in a small Georgia town that was founded on a gold rush, though even her ability hasn’t been able to keep her family rich, unless they want the world to know about her magic and try to use her or hurt her as a result. So Lee mainly helps provide for her family by hunting, caring for their animals, splitting wood, and doing whatever else she can to keep their small farmstead running. Unlike many novels, this isn’t portrayed as Lee being better than other more “ladylike” women, but instead as a simple necessity for her family. I really like that aspect of the book, since I sometimes get tired of a heroine being portrayed as better just because she’s less girly. In Lee’s case, she’s not better, just different.
I also liked how quickly Carson establishes the world of the story. In the first few scenes, we are introduced to Lee as a character, some of her abilities (like hunting and gold-seeking,) and her family. I immediately felt connected to Lee and her family in just a short time, which is important so that we as readers can understand how devastating it is for Lee when things start to go wrong. Where I’m at, the tension is really starting to ramp up, and new adventures are beginning. I’m excited to see where the story goes, how the hints of a more widespread magical world play out, and how Lee’s abilities come into play in this only slightly altered version of our own world. Walk on Earth a Stranger promises to be a great adventure story, a good friendship story, well-researched historical fiction, and an introduction to a fascinating magical system.