This is Carson’s second trilogy: her first, Fire and Thorns, was a masterpiece of gorgeous cover art with a plucky heroine, plenty of action, and an imaginative world. After staying up late to read the second book in Carson’s new planned Gold Seer trilogy, Like A River Glorious, I can confidently proclaim this an equally intelligent masterpiece to her first threesome. Carson does not waiver in her abilities to create realistic and likeable (or very dislikeable) characters that wrap you up in their world.
Memorable character: I’m going to go with the man behind the woman on this one. I’m not going to talk about our main character, the kick-butt and take-names Leah Westfall, who makes bad decisions, thinks about them, tries to correct them, and realizes that home is not a place, but people. Instead, I’m going to talk about Jefferson McCauley Kingfisher who has been in love with Leah since they were tykes, a man that will “do just about anything for the woman he cares about.” And even though this relationship is friendship and romance, it’s not the kind of romance that overpowers this magical history ride. It’s his supportive nature, his ability to overcome insane odds from an abusive household to discrimination and physical abuse at the hands of Leah’s Uncle Hiram. And he does it with a smile because “if he can find something to grin about in our situation, then maybe there’s reason to hope, after all.”
Memorable quote: So I’ve already quoted the book twice and have about twenty such highlights in my digital copy, but I’d say the paragraph that sums up Leah’s epic journey as well as her magical ability is “for a moment, I am happy, maybe the happiest I’ve been since Uncle Hiram murdered my parents and stole my life from me. I have sunlight on my face, and the siren call of gold singing under my skin. I’m with family again, my real family now, whatever the law says, and I’m doing something I’m good at.” It’s Leah’s confidence even in the face of adversity and indecision that ultimately pulls through.
Memorable scene: And the quote leads to my favorite scene, though not a particular scene, but instead the setting of Glory, California; the shanties that become a small town with the teamwork of Leah and Jefferson, Widow Joyner and her kids, Major Craven, Hampton, Jasper and Thomas, Henry, and the Hoffmans. To see this grow from nothing as they move westward is a phenomenal sight.
I would advise everyone to pick up this series if they haven’t already and carve out the next day or two to soak in every word. It needs to be on library shelves and shared widely because with adventure, history, and magic, a reader can’t go wrong. Then it’s the little things interjected (like justice and friendship or questions of loyalty and sexuality) that like the gold dust that coats Leah, adds just a bit more shine to make it sparkle.