Title: Like a River Glorious
Author: Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #2
Genre: Teen Fantasy [ish]
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: 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. -Goodreads
Rae Carson is one of my favorite authors for the amazingness that is Girl of Fire and Thorns, which still holds the spot as the best YA Fantasy I’ve ever read. The Goldseer series, so far, has many of the same attributes that set GOFT above the rest:
- Strong heroines who are endearingly atypical and always feel like real people.
- Beautiful, immersive writing that will totally transport you.
- Enough magic to drive the plot without being the sole focus.
- Gut-wrenching moments that will Tear. Out. Your. Heart.
In fact, even more so than GOFT, the Goldseer Trilogy will hit you left and right with horrible injustices (some which make me so mad I could spit). Carson really understands conflicts and how to put her characters through hell. To be honest, it was so well done that I wondered on several occasions how I was able to enjoy the story while hating it at the same time. It never ceased to evoke emotion and make me feel engaged.
As far as the magic goes, Like a River Glorious had more magic than the first book, but not enough for me to feel confident recommending it as a fantasy verses a historical fiction. I’ve always been of the mindset that the more magic, the better, but I still enjoyed the book for all the other elements. It’s one of those stories written so well that it’ll appeal to readers of multiple genres. I’ve read a little criticism of the supposed historical inaccuracies in this book, but as someone who remembers only what I was taught in grade school about the gold rush, it was realistic enough for me. I thought she did a great job transporting me to this era and, let’s face it, I didn’t pick it up for a history lesson… Even so, the criticisms surprises me because Carson acknowledges at the back of the book that she had to take some creative liberties to streamline her story.
Anyway, Like a River Glorious was a strong sequel that could have satisfied me as a series-ender, but there’s still one book yet to come. I can’t figure out what it will entail, and find the prospect (no pun intended) of discovery really enticing. It’s a damn shame it’s going to be a year before it comes out!
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