Why I Am in Love with Walk on Earth a Stranger

Why I Am in Love with Walk on Earth a Stranger Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1) by Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on September 22nd 2015
Pages: 432

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

This isn’t going to be a great review, I don’t think. I don’t know what to say without A) Failing, and B) Spoiling. So we’re going to keep it short and sweet, and then we’re going to play a game! What kind of game? Well, Walk on Earth a Stranger is about The Oregon/California Trail so….. 

Be excited. Be very excited.


I think it goes without saying that I loved this book, because well, the title says so. And because of that, I am just going to briefly explain why, so you can all just go read it for yourselves or something.

  • Leah is fabulous. See, Leah is the kind of heroine that doesn’t come along often. She’s smart, and strong, and she knows that society’s views on women are flat out asinine. But she also knows that she must do what she has to to survive, so if she has to play the part of a boy, she will. She’s resourceful like that. At the same time, she isn’t all tough- she has feelings and emotions too, and she stands by her convictions. Basically, I love her, and I cannot wait for more of her story.
  • The other characters are so complex and well done. There are quite a few minor characters in this book, since Leah’s traveling the trail with a wagon party, as was customary. I thought I’d be confused and overwhelmed with all the different people, but it was actually really easy for me to keep up with! Some were more flawed than others, but they all had backstory that made me really care. There were a few side characters who I especially had the warm fuzzies for, but I think actually including some of their names could be spoilery? So I will just let you decide for yourselves who gives you the warm fuzzies.
  • The romance was minimal, but it has definite potential. This is absolutely not a romance driven book. Suffice it to say there is no insta-love (win!), because Leah and Jefferson basically had more important things to deal with during most of the book. But I did enjoy him, and I am hoping to see more of him in the future.
  • The most epic trip ever takes place! Look, for me, The Oregon Trail basically signifies the ultimate in “road trips” (even though, fine, it isn’t an actual road). To travel from one coast to the other in the mid 1800s is such an undertaking, I don’t think we can even begin to comprehend the hardships. So, the fact that Rae Carson was able to make me feel like I could somewhat understand how this must have been was really quite remarkable. I remember playing the game when I was younger and thinking “I wonder what all those people felt like, what kind of emotions they had”, and Rae basically brought that to life for me.
  • The hint of magic and the allure of gold are enticing and unique. I mean, it’s gold. People would do just about anything for gold. And since Leah has a special power to find gold, it stands to reason that if someone finds out about that, she’s in a heap of trouble. There are tons of kind people along Leah’s journey, but tons of unscrupulous ones.
  • This first book in the series is a journey. There is action, yes, but there are slower parts. This did not bother me in the least, but I figured I should point it out for those of you who do enjoy a faster pacing.

Bottom Line: What’s left to say? Other than thanks to Rae Carson, for writing the book that I’d dreamed about since forever.

This also sums it up:

FireShot Capture 2 - Goodreads I Shannon (It Sta_ - https___www.goodreads.com_review_show_1154120999


Let’s play a game!

Well, since I was thinking about The Oregon Trail game so much while both reading this book and writing the review… I decided I’d play for you, and maybe try to kill off some characters/things we don’t like! (Am I the only one who used to do that? I never put people or things I liked in my wagon, because like, what if they got cholera and died? I was sure I’d be jinxing people.)

I have played every iteration of this game (well, probably not the first one from 1971), but this is the one I happen to own and is still somehow compatible with my computer, despite being released almost 15 years ago. This is the 5th version, but I think the 4th was better. Maybe I can try that one next time 😉

Step 1: Pick your wagon party and buy your supplies! 

Screenshot (97)

If you’re going to travel the trail with someone, let it be Katniss. And remember that she told Coin that she kills Snow, so he has to come too. Annalise from Half Bad got to join in, as did Insta-Love, which I made the youngest age possible, as Insta-Love is. And Bird People, because everyone knows I am not a fan.

Step 2: Travel as fast as possible with as little food to ensure the most destruction

Screenshot (98)

InstaLove got a concussion because I insisted on driving the wagon through a storm and we tipped over. I did rest for IL, though. It seemed early to kill it off.

Step 3: Lose someone early for something kind of silly

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 But on the bright side- InstaLove is finally dead!!! 

Tip: People will die for absolutely no reason

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Seriously, homegirl wasn’t even sick!

Sidenote: Rivers are your enemy.

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Well crap.

Step 5: Choose what to do to get across the river. Inevitably choose wrong. 

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Oopsie? I didn’t need that dress anyway. It was wholly unflattering.

Step 6: Check to see who the casualty is.

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But he didn’t! See, he is a tough guy to kill, Katniss!

Step 7: Stop in some god-forsaken Kansas town. Wave to Amber.

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Well, he doesn’t look like Amber. Or maybe he does.

Tip: Just because someone doesn’t die in the drowning doesn’t mean they won’t die from it two weeks later. 

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Nice job, Katniss. Though rather anticlimactic, wouldn’t you say? Moviegoers aren’t going to pay for this.

Sidenote: This looks creepy as hell, but I always search them, hoping one day I will find something cool like a ghost.

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“You searched the wagon and found nothing useful.” But the question is, did I find anything unuseful? Because I want that too!

Step 8: Avoid that shit. 

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Except I didn’t, I totally went that way, hoping some cannibals would eat Bird People.

Step 9: Win 

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Because it’s freaking Katniss, so of course she did.

So, let’s discuss: Have you ever played The Oregon Trail? If not, you probably should. Any chance you’d survive? (I would definitely not.) And would you put people you liked in your wagon, or would you be too afraid like me?

Posted September 24, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Funsies, Quasi-Review, Review , / 39 Comments

39 responses to “Why I Am in Love with Walk on Earth a Stranger

  1. Omgggggggg, I freaking LOVE this so much. Hahaha. My interest in this book has finally (I know) peaked. I never played Oregon Trail, I think I probably told you this before, but whatever, I just said it again. Bam.

    Awww, it’s meee. Or is it?. . .

    I found it hilarious you never put people you liked in the wagon. That actually makes so much sense, because everyone knows they’d die anyway. This is a horrid, wretched game.

    Guess who wins best review?? YOU DO.

    • Aww thanks!! You NEED to play Oregon Trail! I think there are even some free versions of it online now- like, legit free versions!

      I sincerely hope I don’t have to room with that strange old dude from Kansas at BEA. I mean, he isn’t even cute 😉

      And it IS a horrid wretched game! But that is basically how it was back then so… yeah. AWWWW THANK YOU! You are the best <3

      • You’re welcomeee. I KNOW. I played it once, on an iphone, but then I died, so I quit.

        Well, you know, I can’t make any promises about the rooming situation…

        I know, poor people. Dying from diseases and drowning and…driving through storms.

  2. I keep saying this. But I’ve been dying to read this for a while now lol. Though I’m kind of sad that there’s not much romance since that’s what I’m in the mood for right now. But I’m glad that the female lead is amazing as I really love to enjoy the main characters. Also I’ve never heard of this game before but now I want to go and play!! It looks so freaking cool XD

  3. Bahahaha, this was hilarious, Shannon! xD I still can’t get over “InstaLove died,” and “Pres Snow almost drowned.” Dying of laughter here!

    Anyway! I’ve been meaning to read Walk on Earth a Stranger and I KNOW for a FACT that I will TRY to read it in October. Please cheer me on. I’m really excited to meet Leah and Jefferson, since the romantic in me is crazy ecstatic for the supposed very slow-burn romance! 😉

  4. AHAHAHA, I love your game progress! Plus all the HG references. WOEAS has SUCH a glorious cover, and Leah sounds like a FANTASTIC protagonist, plus a roadtrip story, plus magic and gold, plus fantastic minor character? Just, I CAN SEE WHY YOU’RE IN LOVE.

  5. OMG, this was a riot! 🙂 I love how InstaLove died so quickly. Bonus! I’ve never even heard of this game but I definitely wouldn’t use my favorite people to travel with… not at the rate they were dropping. Ha! Glad Walk on Earth a Stranger was such a win for you!!

  6. OMG, I loved this book too. And I love your post! I didn’t really play The Oregon Trail much, it was a few years after my time, but I remember the game, and now I want to go play it.

  7. Hah, I love that Katniss survived. I played this all the time in elementary school! I’m really glad you liked the book. I’m curious who some of these secondary characters are now if you think they may be spoilers.

  8. Yeah so books looks good, review was great, blah blah blah – Lets’s get to the Oregon Trail. I remember waiting for time we got to play in computer class. It was the freakin highlight. Because Mavis Beacon sucked (that was the typing game I think)You totally brought me WAY back and I loved it so thanks!!

    • Bwhahha RIGHT!? That was legitimately the highlight of ANY week. I hated ALL the other games. I mean, I guess I didn’t REALLY but they got in the way of my Oregon Trailing. They’d always give us like, 15 free minutes at the end of class, so everyone would play, but you can’t even get your wagon loaded in 15 minutes! 😀

  9. I need this game. It sounds so freaking hilarious! I’d love to play it and record myself playing it and upload it there for shits and giggles. HAHAHA. I am not kidding. This game – NEEEED.

    In any case, I totally agree with you here for EVERYTHING. This book was amazing in all, all, ALL accounts. I loved Leah, I loved her development and the development of other people who took part in this long and arduous journey, I loved the trip and how slow-paced it was and how immersive it was. I just don’t like Jefferson a little bit 😛 He feels way too indifferent and detached for me, but otherwise, YAY TO THIS BOOK!

    • You DO need this in your life, no question. It is out there- for free, legally- so find it!

      I agree with everything- even Jefferson. BUT I am feeling like that might have even been the point? Like, to make us unsure of him, to make LEAH unsure of him, but then have him do something awesome. I hope? Fingers crossed? Either way, this book was fabulous!

  10. I loved this book too and was rather thrilled that it was more historical than fantasy. I am still so impressed with the level of detail and research involved here. I also liked that Carson gave a largely balanced view (not glossing over the ugly parts) although I’m still not sure how I feel about the American Indian portrayals which were the least nuanced in my opinion.

    Either way I loved this book and am fully invested and on board for the rest of the series.

    In my fifth grade computer classes at school we always got to play Oregon Trail (or Spin Doctor) and I loved it so! I even had a version on my iMac but that’s long gone. I wish someone would make a decent app version. If you search around you can also still find places to play the original (or nearly the original) version online which is pretty rad.

    • I agree! I LOOOOVED that it was more historical! I assume some people will disagree, but meh 😉 I know, the research was on POINT. I did a project once when I had a momentary lapse in sanity and was going to become a teacher, and seriously, Rae did her research.

      And YES you can play the original! Like, the SUPER original which is like, too original for me 😉 The newer version is too easy though. I need like, 4th edition. The Wii version was SO easy too. I need more death and destruction, people! 😀

  11. This book looks amazing. I can’t wait to read it.

    I never played Oregon Trail because my computer classes in elementary school sucked. All I remember doing was this horribly tedious typing program. If we finished our horribly tedious typing early, we got to make pictures in Paint until class was over.

  12. HAHAHAHHAH I FOUND AMBER HAHAHAHHAHAHHA THAT WAS THE BEST PART. Let’s be honest, I didn’t read your review, BUT I CAN SEE THAT WAS AWESOME. No, I was more invested in your Oregon Trail, where with each summary I lived vicariously through your playing hahahah.

    Poor Annalise. I don’t know who she is though.
    Wait so BirdPeople is still alive? (LOL Magonia??) LOL.

    I loved this book too for all the reasons that you mentioned, but especially for Lee because the girl was awesome and everything that I want out of a heroine in a setting like this one. I totally appreciated the lack of romance too. I’m hoping it will develop more in the next book though and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops.

    But OMG! I’ve never played The Oregon Trail because it wasn’t a thing back home, but it sounds like so much fun. But I can tell I’d lose. Haha!

    • I agree with all of that- I think the romance will develop, BUT it was first and foremost Lee’s story, because she is amazing! And you MUST play! You may not lose the newer versions, they’re a bit easier- but the older ones? EVERYONE died 😉 Glad you enjoyed this one too!

  14. I have to admit this doesn’t really seem like my kind of book, but I was highly entertained and nostalgic watching your game of Oregon Trail and relating to your desire for wanting all the unuseful things (which may or may not apply to my real life as well lol). As if this game wasn’t bad enough, I used to play like every trail game there was back in the day. Now you’ve got me sitting here thinking about ALL the random, strange computer games I played as a kid, haha. This post is too much fun!

  15. I am so glad to know you were able to LOVE this one. I have it but haven’t read it yet – and wasn’t entirely sure of it when I did get it. I have read a road trip book recently and although this isn’t quite a road trip, I do like the sound of this YA Western book quite a lot. The romance not being the forefront thing works for me, and even though this one was the first set up book in a series it seems like it did a pretty good job of holding its own and still being quite good.

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