After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram.
Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom.
The second epic historical fantasy in the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson, the acclaimed author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published: September 27th 2016 by Greenwillow
Four stars: An epic, historical adventure with danger, romance and a bit of magic.
Leah and her friends have finally arrived safely in California. It is time to put down some roots and find some gold. Leah has a heavy heart because she knows that her friends are in danger, thanks to her uncanny ability to sense gold. Leah is being hunted by her greedy uncle, who will stop at nothing to retrieve her. Leah knows she must come clean with her friends and tell them of the danger that she faces, and she fears that they will reject her. All too soon, the danger finds Leah, and once again, she could lose all that she has fought for, and all those she loves. Will Leah ever escape her uncle?
What I Liked:
- I loved the first book in this series: Walk on Earth a Stranger, so I was more than eager to jump back in and pick up the adventure. Thankfully, this book doesn't suffer from second book syndrome. I got another thrilling, action packed adventure set in the Wild West during the Gold Rush era. This is a terrific series. Don't miss it.
- Leah is a wonderful main character. I admire her strong spirit, her courage, and her ability to to be comfortable in her own skin. Leah doesn't fit into the mold of a proper lady. She is fierce, good with a gun, and not afraid to do a man's work. She values her friends above all else, and despite her ability to sense gold, she is never greedy or cruel. She continues to grow in this book, and I appreciated that she harbored no prejudices, and instead she chose to help others who were being harmed and abused, regardless of race.
- The romance continues to evolve and blossom, and I am loving every minute of it. This series features one of the best kind of romances: friends to lovers. I like that it is slow and sweet, building and building to the sweet spot. No love triangles, stumbles or miscommunication. Simple and sweet, just the way I like it.
- I love the era and the setting of this series. I grew up in the West, and so I have always had an affinity for Westerns. The author does a fantastic job of transporting the reader back to California during the gold rush of the 1849 period. In the first book, you experience the hardship of journeying across the country to reach the promised land of California, and then in this book, you get to experience all the danger, and troubles that the settlers encountered once they were in California. There is no sugar coating in this one. You can expect lots of danger and plenty of action.
- I appreciated that the author called attention to the horrid and appalling way that the Chinese and Native Americans were treated. It is tough to read, and eye opening. I liked that Leah never saw these people with prejudiced eyes, instead, to her they were people who were suffering, and she wanted desperately to help them.
- The ending was neat and it surprisingly tied off most of the main story lines. The series could stop here, but I am excited to know that another book is ahead, and I am interested to see the direction the series will go from here.
And The Not So Much:
- I am still struggling with the whole concept of Leah's ability to sense gold. In this second book, her power grows and evolves, but there is no explanation for the how or why, you just have to accept it for what it is.
- Mary and Wilhelm, two secondary characters that Leah meets in this book, were both fascinating. I wanted to know more about them and their history. At the end, there were hints that more of their past will be revealed, and I am anxious to learn more.
- Jasper and Henry are interesting because they are gay. I wish the author was a bit more upfront with them. Instead, there is a lot of dancing around, and their relationship just isn't discussed. I am hoping it will evolve a bit more in the final book.
- I was hoping that a secondary romance was in the works, but alas, it was left hanging. Perhaps in the final book.
- I worry that because this series is listed as YA that it will be overlooked by adult readers. This series does not at all have a YA vibe. It is mature, smart and informative, and it will appeal to readers of all ages. If you like historical books, give this series a go.
Like a River Glorious was a sequel that lived up to its predecessor. I love the historical era, the action and danger, the pinch of magic and the many characters of different races that make up this wonderful, eclectic cast. If you want a thrilling series set during the California Gold Rush era, this is a terrific series to try. Don't hesitate for one minute thinking this is YA, it is sophisticated and informative, and it can be appreciated by readers of all ages.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.