“Like a River Glorious” (The Gold Seer Trilogy #2) by Rae Carson (2016)
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Page Length: 406 pages (hardcover edition)
Synopsis: Lee Westfall survived the dangerous journey to California. She found a new family in the other outcasts of their wagon train, and Jefferson, her best friend, is beginning to woo her shamelessly. Now they have a real home—one rich in gold, thanks to Lee’s magical ability to sense the precious metal in the world around her.
But Lee’s Uncle Hiram has survived his own journey west. He’s already murdered her parents, and he will do anything to have Lee and her talents under his control. No one is safe. When he kidnaps her, she sees firsthand the depths of his depravity.
Lee’s magic is changing, though. It is growing. The gold no longer simply sings to her—it listens. It obeys her call. Will that alone be enough to destroy her uncle?
*To see my review of the first book in the Gold Seer series click here
In the second installment of the Gold Seer trilogy, readers follow Leah’s journey to California where she and her “family” have finally settled down. After their treacherous journey to the West the group faces newfound dangers as other thieving prospectors are also on the search for gold.
I loved the sequel to this book, but I felt that the plot was somewhat scattered and followed the same structure of the first book. Leah is still on the run from her horrible uncle Hiram and still ends up being chased by him once again. It was a bit frustrating that this seemed to be the only push for the plot and I hoped for the novel to actually spend time focusing more on some of the secondary characters in Leah’s camp. I like that there is one part of the novel where Leah (at this point she’s captured by Hiram and forced to work at his gold mine) gets checked by her privilege. She thinks life for her is tough until she sees how the Native Americans are overworked and Mary (the maid) shares her horrible experience as a Chinese immigrant. Her realization of her self-centered thinking knocks her down a pedestal and allows her to grow as a person.
As for the fantasy aspect, I still feel a bit disappointed with it overall. Not too much else happens besides what was already exposed in Walk on Earth a Stranger. The only thing that’s really changed is that she has a better grasp on her “gold powers”. She can pinpoint locations of gold more accurately and then during the climatic ending she can move the ground where gold runs underneath. I was a bit underwhelmed and I feel that Carson should have just removed the fantasy aspects of the novel and just focus on writing a purely historical fiction story.
When looking at the historical fiction part of the book I felt that Carson again did a great job of weaving together a tale set in the Gold Rush era. The language, clothing, and historical events seemed representative of the time. Of course with historical fiction it’s never a hundred present accurate timeline wise because you’re shoving years of history into a 400 page novel, but everything seemed to flow very well.
Despite some of the issues I had with the sequel, I’ll still be continuing with the book as I enjoy the historical setting.