3 out of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this work.
For my review of the first in this series, please go here.
This is a fantasy/historical fiction series set during the California gold rush. Leah has the power to sense gold, so after her uncle murders her parents, she and her best friend Jefferson held to California in a wagon train to seek their fortunes.
In this book, Leah and Jefferson and most of their friends have made it and are setting up homesteads. Unfortunately, Leah’s knack for finding riches leads to the wrong sort of attention.
What I loved about the first book was the sense of travel and adventure. It really read like a Laura Ingles Wilder book as the group traveled across the country using oxen and wagons. It was lots of historical fiction, with the relationships between the travellers bringing most of the drama. In this installation, more of the focus shifts towards looking at Leah’s powers and the fallout that comes with being able to find gold. We see less of the friendships and struggles that I loved in the first novel, and more of Leah’s powers.
Leah’s uncle also comes back in this volume and I did not like him much as a character. He is evil, but in a very cartoonish manner. He has no redeeming qualities and seems to have no depth. It if far too easy to hate him and seems like a cheap move by the author.
Too much of the book is just Leah and her uncle, which is definitely dramatic, but not in an interesting way. He is evil and she wants to destroy him. I didn’t have to expend much brain power figuring who I was supposed to sympathize with and who would inevitably win. The other characters fade into he background and not much more of the world is explored.
This was a good addition to the trilogy in that it carried the plot along, but it really did not have the wonderful feel of the original.