First Lines: I hear the deer before I see him, though he makes less noise than a squirrel–the gentle crunch of snow, a snapping twig, the soft whuff as he roots around for dead grass.
When I saw that Rae Carson was coming out with a new series, I couldn’t have cared less what it was actually going to be about–I just had to read it! But when it turned out to be a historical fantasy, well, I was definitely there!
Lee has everything she could want–a homestead with loving parents, space to hunt and roam, and a best friend that may be something more. Lee also has a secret, a dangerous one: she can sense gold, wherever it is around her. In veins in the ground, in nuggets, in heirlooms or hidden on a person–she can find it. This talent helps keep her family fed through even the harshest winters. But what would someone do to get that kind of power? They may murder for it. So when everything Lee holds dear is ripped away from her, she flees to California to join the gold rush. Perhaps she can reinvent herself out west. If she survives the journey.
I was really looking forward to an awesome historical fantasy, but unfortunately, the “fantasy” term should be used incredibly loosely. I thought since Lee has this power or whatever, there’d maybe be others with abilities or something else fantastical about the book. Nope. Lee’s ability is literally the only thing that can be considered “fantasy” and even then, it’s really not a big part of the story (except for how it gets the plot rolling). So in that respect, I was a bit disappointed.
But the history is awesome. I don’t know much about the Gold Rush, but I do know how dangerous it was to journey across the country in 1800s. (I may be too young to have ever played Oregon Trail, but I’ve certainly heard about the ill-fated Donner Party.) So it was really cool to see that journey played out. It’s not always exciting, maybe, but it was interesting.
The action was a mix of predictable and not-so-predictable. I was blindsided a few times by things, which was fun, but there were plenty of other times where I totally saw things coming. Such is the nature of books.
Lee is a pretty cool character. She seems to trust people that others may not trust (and vice versa), which was interesting and led to some things happening in the book. But at the same time, I thought Lee was kind of a forgettable heroine. She was so…normal is not the right word. More like typical. There wasn’t anything about her that really stood out. I can’t tell if that was intentional or not.
Anyway, definitely worth the read for the historical stuff. And the other characters. There’s this minor character that I’ve really taken a shining to, who happens to have the same name as my dog…so that might explain it.