Book Review: WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger.png

Genre: Fantasy, Historical
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Yes - first of trilogy


walk on earth a stranger.jpgGold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

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.

Want to read this book? Add it to your Goodreads shelves here.


Rae Carson is the author of my favourite book (CROWN OF EMBERS) so I was excited to read this book. It’s never been published in the UK, and then in the four years (!) since I heard about this book, I drifted away from historical fiction for many reasons. I’m so glad I decided to track down a copy of this book though. I was hooked from the first page and read far longer than I should have.

I know very little about American history – being a Brit, we don’t really study the world across the pond. I went into this book knowing only a general idea that people made a long trip across America after gold. I can’t say how accurate the book is, but it paints a harsh picture of the journey.

The main threat of this story (beyond the initial kick-starter) is the nature. It throws everything at Lee and the travellers she joins. I loved how the main villain is nature – undefeatable and omnipresent. It is a villain to be weathered, head down and together. This makes the antagonist force a looming presence that raises stakes and puts everyone in danger.

Of course, there are human antagonists – the trial of the crossing really brings out both the good and bad in people. The characters are wonderfully drawn and complex. There is quite a large cast, but they all feel real and human. The death are shocking and some are heartbreaking – but it all feels realistic not just there for shock/pain factor.

Lee was an engaging protagonist, caught in her web of lies (pretending to be a boy among them) and hating it. Her growth is evident, as are the strength of the friendships she forms. Her gold sense doesn’t feature as much as I was expecting, mainly because there’s not much gold about.

It was interesting (and frustrating) to see how differently she was treated by the same people as a boy and as a girl. Period opinions, I guess.

Now to track down the other books in the series…

Read my reviews of of books by Rae Carson

The Gold Seer Trilogy (this series):

Fire and Thorns:

One thought on “Book Review: WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson

  1. I finished this book a couple weeks ago and it was just an average read for me. I am glad you enjoyed it way more than I did. I am not a big historical fiction fan myself and the main character annoyed me. It was just her tone of voice honestly that bugged me and I found the story to be predictable. I wanted more of her secret to come out but maybe since it’s a series the next couple books will be better….. However, I don’t think I am going to continue.


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