Author: Rae Carson.
Published: September 22nd 2015 by Greenwillow Books.
Sort: The gold seer trilogy #1.
Source: eARC from the publisher on Edelweiss.
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?
Don't go in this book thinking you will get a lot of fantasy though. This is more on the background and expect it will play a bigger role in the sequel, but it's more about a journey from a girl to a new future.
Leah “Lee” Westfall keeps her family together after het father’s sickness. He keeps promising that he will get back to work once his cough goes away, but Leah and her mother both know that is not going to happen. When Leah returns home after a visit to the village, her whole life is turned upside down. Her uncle claims her house and her life, so she does the last thing she can think off: she runs away. Her best friend Jefferson is on his way to the West and she wants to meet up with him to start a new life. Her magic ability to find gold is both dangerous and useful.
Leah’s journey, where she disguises herself as a guy named Lee, is treacherous. Gender-bender is one of my favorite things, so I was happy this was incorporated into the story. I loved her strength and how she pulls it off to portray as a guy. First she has to deal with a difficult situation at home and then she manages to survive on her own in the wilderness. Even a robbery can’t break her spirit. It was a tough road and a lot of people would have returned back home. She has a motivational way to look at life and I thought it was inspiring.
Leah also has her weaknesses. She isn’t perfect and she makes mistakes, which made her likeable and realistic. It is the same with Jefferson. He was flawed in such a way that he didn’t turn in a cardboard character. I think it's weird how he reacted in a certain situation, but I think that's how humans are. Sometimes we do strange, unpredictable things.
The focus between them is mainly on their friendship, despite their obvious attraction, and that was good. This part of the story doesn’t need much romance, but I look forward to the development between them. I think they were their best version when they were together and I think we are up for some swooning in the sequel. Their romance was a bit like the pace of this book: a bit slow, which fit the story perfectly, but you got to be in the mood for it!
Leah and Jefferson travel along a group of people and you start to get attached to all of them. The broad cast grows on you and Carson doesn’t shy away to hurt you with some situations. It's something I always appreciate about authors, because sometimes you got to be brutal to make a story realistic. And I want more of that!