Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
This is a tough one to review. Western novels aren’t really my thing, so I knew going in that Ms. Carson would have to work extra hard to convince me otherwise. While it is a rarely discovered territory in YA, I can see how it could easily be a popular niche. For seekers of adventures in books, what could be more exciting than discovering The Last Frontier? Or the Wild, Wild West as it were.
If you’ve seen any Western movies or tv shows such as Little House on a Prairie, I think you’ll see that the world building in this book is pretty much on par with we’ve seen or read in the past. But if you’re like me who’s not an ardent reader, we’d probably wouldn’t know the difference. Still, I can say in all honesty that Ms. Carson did a splendid job in constructing just the perfect world.
I enjoyed reading about Lee’s ability. It’s something that I’ve not read too many of in this genre. It’s not so much that Lee can find the gold, it’s more like the gold finds her and tells her exactly where to look. Unfortunately, her ability was not really explored in this first offering. She spent most of her time trying to get to California where the gold rush was on a boom. About 40 % of the book was dedicated to this journey – which ultimately slowed the pace down by a considerable amount.
I do like Lee. There’s something to be said about a girl who’d been kicked around by life but was strong enough to keep on fighting. This girl dusted herself off and did what needed to be done to give herself a fighting chance. She’d become an orphan in so little a time. And the only relative she had left was about to take advantage of her ability if not for her quick thinking and the goodness of her father’s old friend.
There is very little romance in here. In fact, I didn’t really feel a spark between Lee and her beau. They were best friends, but I felt like they were more like siblings because they looked out for each other.
This is a well-written book, and with the right reader, it’s a great adventure to experience. If you can get past the lull in the middle, the start and the ending will leave you breathless.