Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical
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.
"Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,Over all victorious, in its bright increase;Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way."
Like a River Glorious is the second installment in author Rae Carson's The Gold Seer series. Protagonist Leah "Lee" Westfall and her friends Jefferson, Wally, Hampton, Rebekah, Henry, Tom, and Jasper, have finally reached California. A month has passed since Leah and company have been in California. With Leah's extraordinary ability to find Gold, it is now time to settle down roots, and get to work making their fortunes before Leah's murdering Uncle Hiram finds her and tries to drag her away.
The first part of the story is the most fun, in my humble opinion. Leah finally let's her friends, who have also become her family, know about her ability in finding gold. They can't rightly believe what she is saying, but when she proves it, it is like let's party! Now it is time for them to strike their own claims while the going is good. This leads to some fun, and some more characters joining the group from Ohio in making a new town called Glory, California. It also leads to the inevitable trouble since Uncle Hiram and his men won't let Leah experience her own happiness without being victimized, and kidnapped.
The second part, not so much. Especially for Leah who is forced to bow to her uncle's whims thanks to him kidnapping Jefferson and Tom. Hiram knows Jefferson is her weakness and uses that weakness against her. Leah gets to see first hand how Non-White people are treated, especially thru the eyes of Mary, and Muskrat. She gets to see the horrors of being slaves to a maniacal lunatic who is apparently not working alone in his desire to make a mint. Hiram is evil incarnate, and Carson spends a whole lot of time laying out her points of what makes him such a evil, money grubbing, murdering, psycho, bastard who is willing to use his own niece and her abilities to make his fortune.
Even if that fortune comes on the backs of Chinese immigrants and Native Americans who are caught up in a no- win situation where they really are expendable when it comes to gathering gold from the earth. I think this part of the story is the most heart breaking. Not only because there are some historical facts to back up Carson's points, but because we've seen this scenario played out over the course of this countries history and we keep repeating history over, and over again to the point where people have had enough.
There are several underlying storylines besides Leah finding herself at the mercy of Liam. First, there is a whole lot of curiosity when it comes to Leah's parents, and why her mother actually married her father. Second, there is the whole Leah and Jefferson issue that hangs in the balance, and carries over right to the end of the story. Third, Leah's abilities seem to have a mind of their own and own grow stronger as the pages turn. Leah also has some minor issues, but that is to be explained away by saying she's a young lady in a camp of all men, and these men would eat her alive were it not for Wilhelm.
I am all in for the sequel, as I am sure you are aware. I want to see what happens to Leah, Jefferson, and her new friends and family. I want to see what more Carson can throw their way. I want to see if Becky gets a bit of her own happiness now that she's settled in and started being more of herself. I am also curious whether Carson intends to push this story to when California actually becomes a state, which was September 1850.