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.
My Rating: 3 Stars
Historical Fiction has always been a huge hit or miss for me – particularly in the YA genre. While I am partial to half-naked highlander romances, I don’t always enjoy something with little romance, and little to no fantasy. For these reasons, I had extremely mixed feelings about this particular novel.
In the first book in the series, Lee decides to venture out West to not only escape her Uncle, but to put her gold-finding ability to good use. Along the way, she reconnects with her childhood best friend Jefferson and makes a slew of friends whom she begins to consider family. In this second installment, Lee and her makeshift family have made it to California and are beginning to choose their land and develop a settlement. Unfortunately her Uncle Hiram has also makes the trip to California, and will not stop until Lee is in his clutches.
Like all of Rae Carson’s books, Like a River Glorious is beautifully written. Although I have never been to California, she manages to paint a beautiful picture of the landscape. She writes in such a way that all of the characters are easy to picture, and Lee as a narrator is clever and easy to relate to. She is a strong heroine, not a damsel in distress, definitely something that endears readers to her character.
The romance in this novel, like in the first novel, is almost nonexistent. While it is a bit more present, it still takes the back burner. The story doesn’t suffer as a result, however, I miss the romance at times. Like a River Glorious is by no means action packed as Lee spends the majority of her time plotting and scheming. Unfortunately, the pace is a bit slow, and detracts from the reader’s enjoyment of the book.
My Takeaway: Like a River Glorious is a mixed bag for me – although I love the author’s writing style and connect with the female lead, the pace and lack of romance put me off a bit. Because it didn’t end on a cliffhanger, I’m not sure if I will purchase the next book in the series – I don’t know that I feel the need to continue reading about these characters.