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.
♥ Quick Thoughts and Rating: 4.5 stars! I was so pleased with this installment! The setting and characters felt and sounded very authentic to the Gold Rush era, and I loved almost every single second of it. In my review of Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first installment of this trilogy (you can find my review of it here), I said the following:
“Things that I’m hoping to see more of in the second installment? I’d really love more of Leah finding herself and us understanding more about her gold witching. (I’m also hoping that makes it have more of a fantasy/paranormal feel.) I absolutely want more time with Leah and Jefferson and watching them explore their potential as a romantic couple. I want all the history of being a part of the gold rush in California during the 1840’s. Lastly, I want in-my-face action and for her uncle to be knocked down a few pegs. It’s a great start to a trilogy, now I just want more, more, more.“
After having just finished the second installment, I can say that Carson gave me everything I wanted and then some. A solid sequel and it definitely has me anxiously awaiting the final book!
♥ Review: Like a River Glorious picks up right where its predecessor left off and we find our little group of settlers finding their territory in California and staking their claim, benefitted by Leah’s gift, they find a place rich with gold. I feel like the first book introduced our little cast of characters, but this book really allowed us to get to know them… and it was amazing! I could go into the vital role of each of our cast, talk about all their strengths and quirks, what made me want to join their little settlement or make them a part of my family, but that’d take up way too much of your time, so I’ll keep it simple and talk about our narrator instead. I learned to appreciate Leah “Lee” Westfall’s character in Walk on Earth a Stranger, but I think she really grew into her own in this book, and that made me connect with her more. She’s always been a strong person, but she became a super badass in this book. When it appeared that she was being submissive or vulnerable, she was actually exercising her intelligence. Additionally, I was happy to see her opening up herself to the joys and happiness of finding a new home, using her gift in selfless ways, and having a family, even given her current predicament (I know, totally vague and on purpose. #sorrynotsorry) and the losses she suffered in the first book. We also see her witchy powers changing and intensifying, and now I can’t wait to watch her evolve even further in the next installment because her character development arc seems to have already grown so much.
As far as the plot goes, this one became a little more raw and grittier for different reasons than we saw in WoEaS, whose struggles were mostly rooted in the journey across the US. I would love to have a deeper discussion on a lot of ways the plot impacted me and made me look at our US History a little differently than I previously had, but I don’t think it would be fair to you to spoil all those reasons. So, instead, I’ll simply just add that the plot certainly thickened in this sequel. There was more action, more moments that will make your heart hurt or race, instances that will have you gasping and speeding through the pages and gulping down words to see how it will all unfold. It was paced better than the first book as well. I read a majority of it all in one sitting (I read a bit before bed the previous night and woke up with my kindle propped against my face), and I didn’t want to take a break any time I had to run errands or pick up my kids from school. (I know, greatest mom ever, right?)
But the two best things about this novel for me were easily the setting and the romance; both filled my heart equally. Carson has done an amazing job from the beginning setting this old world up. Her descriptions are lush and made me feel like I was truly there. I’ve always loved history and so it felt incredible to read this and actually feel like I was a part of everything. I know I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again: Everything just felt fascinatingly realistic. As I even stated in a Goodreads update, this story and narrative felt like I was reading a journal entry straight out of a historical textbook. You can tell that Ms. Carson has taken careful measures to keep the text, dialogue, and setting as true to history as possible to maintain its authenticity. As for the romance, you knew it was brewing there in the previous book, but in this one, we get to watch it blossom and I couldn’t have been any more excited about it. Jefferson…. *siiiiiiiiigh* that Jefferson. He made my tummy flip-flop, my heart get all fluttery, and had me sporting the biggest grins. He was certainly more forward and direct about his intentions in this book and that provided an endless amount of swoons. I absolutely love the way this novel ended and I look forward to seeing Leah fulfill her declaration.
♥ Teaser Quote: *twirls around merrily* There was definitely more romance this time around and that Jefferson fellow sure made me fall in love with him. So many swoony lines that made my heart go pitter-pat.
As if sensing my thoughts, Jefferson’s arms come up around my shoulders, and he pulls me tight to his wide chest. He smells of campfire smoke and fresh dirt, and there must be a bit of gold dust caught in the seam of one of his sleeves because it sets my belly to buzzing.
His head bends toward mine, and his whispers tickle my ear. “I’m going to change your mind about marriage, Leah Elizabeth Westfall. Just you wait.”
–quote taken from the eARC of Like a River Glorious at 18%
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♥ Rec It? Absolutely, especially for people who love their YA with a good heaping dose of history! I loved almost every single aspect about this book, and where I felt the previous installment felt like a prequel to the trilogy, this one kind of felt more like a conclusion to one. I’ll be curious to see what the author is cooking up for Glory, California and its people in the next book. I know I can’t wait to get my hands on it to see how exactly it will all end.
♥ A very special thanks to Greenwillow and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.
*Disclaimer: An e-copy of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.
Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.
I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥
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