Wednesday, December 23, 2015
I liked Rae Carson's Walk on Earth a Stranger very much, with one notable exception: the lazy, useless, no-good burden of a reverend. That trope was thin and tired seventy years ago, and I'm taking off a full star for it. I expected better from the author of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series, which explored the complexities of faith and belief in a beautiful, authentic way.
Still, there was much about Walk on Earth a Stranger to love. The main character yearned for freedom, and deeply enjoyed her taste of it while posing as a boy, but she didn't gleefully throw off all trappings of the feminine. Putting back on a skirt, she said, felt like being in her own skin again. She didn't want to abandon being a woman--she wanted freedom as a woman.
There were a wide variety of other well-developed female characters, with complex relationships and motivations. And the male lead, Jefferson, was wonderful.
This book reminded me, too, of why I loved the Western genre so much as a kid: the danger, maybe, the thrill and drama, but mostly the possibility. The wide-open sky. The idea that anything could be around the next bend or over the next ridge. Adding a touch of magic just makes it better.