Book Review: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

Like A River Glorious by Rae Carson

Posted September 10, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Like a River Glorious

Like a River Glorious

by Rae Carson

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books on September 27, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Western
Target Age Group: New Adult, Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

After her harrowing journey west to California, Lee Westfall has finally found a new home—one rich in gold, thanks to her magical power, a power that seems to be changing every day. But this home is rich in other ways, too: with friends who are searching for a place to be themselves, just as she is, and with love. Jefferson—her longtime best friend—hasn’t stopped trying to win her heart. And Lee is more and more tempted to say yes.

But her uncle Hiram hasn’t given up his quest to get Lee and her power under his control. When she’s kidnapped and taken to him, Lee sees firsthand the depths of her uncle’s villainy. Yet Lee’s magic is growing. Gold no longer simply sings to her, it listens. It obeys her call. Is it enough to destroy her uncle once and for all?

 

It’s a rare treat for me to read a sequel in the same year as book one, but I couldn’t help with this one! I absolutely loved Walk on Earth a Stranger and it set me up for some really high expectations for Like a River Glorious.  And guess what?  Book two did not disappoint.

A lot of trilogies fall victim to a book 2 slump.  Like a River Glorious sets itself up to be a powerful story that continues Lee’s adventures into California while still managing as its own solid story.  Our villains grow a little more villainous, and our heroes continue to grow and shape themselves are more dynamic individuals.  There are moments that made me want to scream in perfectly crafted frustration, but there were also moments that made my heart flutter.

I couldn’t be happier with this installment of the story.

Rae Carson makes storytelling look effortless.  She’s crafted Glory, California into a rich land.  The town  is populated with diverse characters.  One of the things that impressed me with Walk on Earth a Stranger was the way Carson took this turbulent, unjust period of history and refused to make excuses for the treatment of Black and Native peoples.  She continues to call out privilege in Like a River Glorious, and expands to show the decrepit living conditions of not only the Natives, but also the Chinese population.  Even well-meaning, privileged Lee needs to be accountable for her pettiness and presumptions.  It’s beautifully done, and uncomfortable, but in all the right ways.  This is how historical fiction should look – portray things accurately, but don’t excuse them.  Characters and readers alike should be horrified and called to action.  Like Lee is.  Thank you for this, Rae Carson.

I continued to love the characters.  I liked spending time with some different characters in this book – we’re out of Glory and at the mine for a large person of Like a River Glorious, so we get to meet some new players I’ll look forward to getting to know in book three.  Even though people like Henry and Becky aren’t forefront in this story, you can still witness their growth in the background.  This series is good because it has a heartbeat.  It breaths and lives and grows in every detail and it’s masterful.

Believe it or not, I even loved the romance.  It was give and take, and sweet and playful.  The love story felt organic rather than superfluous.  It was a nice change from most romance in YA and I was glad to see it.  I’m also interested to see how it further develops.  There’s a lot to stand in the way of the couple, and I have no doubt that Carson will play it through perfectly.

I wasn’t bored for a minute, and the last pages set up so much potential for Into the Bright Unknown. The odds are going to be higher than ever in the last book.  While Like a River Glorious finished easily, and I was satisfied with the ending Carson gave… I want more.  I love this world and her writing and these characters and I know there will be even bigger adventures to be have.

If you like a western setting, great storytelling, a socially conscious storyline, and a pinprick of magic, you’ve got to try this trilogy.  Even with one book left to go, it’s on my list of all-time favorites.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

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When was the last time your read book two in a series… and loved it?  I think a solid book two really points to a well-plotted book and great writing skills… so hit me up with those great book twos!  I’d love to check out those series. 🙂

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