Like a River Glorious
By: Rae Carson
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Format: Print ARC
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.
I am really loving Carson’s newest series and her foray into westerns. I think she has captured the harshness and tension that had to have been present during this time period in California. My take-away from this novel- the gold rush was not fun. I’m not sure I’d have made it due to the hardships but reading Lee’s journey was incredibly riveting.
This book was very dark at times and the tension was hard to get through. I had to read this one slowly because all the struggles Lee had to endure really took a toll on me. I am really emotionally connected to these characters so their journey was my own. It was hard reading about them coming upon one bad thing after another. And Hiram- ack what a sadistic jerk. Carson has given his character incredible depth but my dislike for him runs deep. I wanted to throttle him throughout his scenes. His treatment of Lee and the people working his mine…grr.
There was a romance that started in the first novel and grows some in this one. It wasn’t a focus of the novel although it does push along the plot and Lee’s motivations at times. I really love this couple and I hope that at the end of the series there ends up being a HEA. I need it. This novel wasn’t at all filler to me, the plot points of the storyline were done wonderfully and this didn’t end on a cliff-hanger which I appreciated. I’m not all that sure where the last book of the series will go but I’m excited to find out.
The historical aspects of the novel were well done though I don’t have much to base them on. I’ve not done much study into this time period or the treatment of the Native Americans or Chinese workers but this depiction seemed incredibly realistic and makes me want to further my education and learn more about what it was like for them. It wasn’t easy to read but I think necessary for all of us to remember. I think it’s so easy for our historical knowledge to gloss over these nasty bits and that really needs to change.
I love that this series is so based in history and reality and the magical elements are incorporated seamlessly. Lee’s magical ability was such a blessing yet curse for her. I love how she struggles throughout both novels to really grasp the extent of her skill and its impact on others around her.
Like a River Glorious was such a beautifully done novel though certain aspects were really hard for me to read. I had to take it slow and read another novel in between because the struggle Lee goes through as well as the treatment of people in this book could be really depressing. I was always riveted to the storyline and feel it was a strong follow up to the first book.