Despite having the odds stacked against her, Leah Westfall has travelled from her home in Georgia all the way to California. It was a journey that started with the murder of her parents, and she has seen both hardship and joy on her journey. Since she settled in the town of Glory she has even dared to dream of a safe future for herself and the circle of close friends who know her secret - that she can sense the presence of gold and even call it to her. It is a secret that she keeps closely guarded, but her uncle Hiram knew, and because he coveted it so much he brought Leah to the attention of James Henry Hardwick.
Hardwick is a wealthy man, used to getting what he wants, and he is willing to play dirty to get what he wants. Leah was able to make a deal with him that would see Glory with its own town charter, keeping it safe from claim jumpers and people who wanted to take over the town - but Hardwick is yet to deliver. When news arrives that property belonging to the Joyner family has arrived in San Francisco and that it must be collected or it will be sold, Leah and her friends head to San Francisco to reclaim the property and try and get their town charter.
When they arrive in San Francisco they find things are not what they expected. Becky Joyner is unable to reclaim her property because in the eyes of the law it belongs to her husband, and since he is dead the only choice they have is to try and buy it at auction - but Becky is stubborn and refuses to pay for her own property, so they decide to take some risk instead. Becky is not the only one who is disappointed, Leah and the rest of her party are also disappointed as it seems that Hardwick has a stranglehold on San Francisco that is blocking all their hopes and dreams. With all their futures on the line Leah must find the strength and courage to fight for what she believes in - at a time when a woman is property, and the law favours the rich and powerful.
Into the bright unknown is a very satisfying end to the Gold seer trilogy. From the start Carson has woven her own magic, using all her skills as a writer to take a time in history and add a subtle layer of magic that is totally believable. It is too easy to forget that women were treated as property for centuries, and that people of colour were once treated as second class citizens and slaves. I found the historical setting fascinating and very sympathetic to the time - you can see the research involved when you read the acknowledgements and recommended books across the series. I was a little worried that the ending of the series would be a fizzle or a cop out, but Carson has brought the series to an end in a believable way that sits well with her attention to the rest of the series.
I started reading this series because I had read Carson's previous series, and I wasn't sure if I would like it because it seems like a historical series rather than a fantasy series, but I loved it from the start and I'm very glad I gave it a chance. This is an excellent series and this final book was a challenge to review because I didn't want to spoil the surprises and sweet moments that make it such a great read. Here's hoping there are more series from Carson in the future - whether they are complete fantasy or set in our own world/past they are sure to delight and engage readers of all ages.
If you like this book then try:
- Walk on Earth a stranger by Rae Carson
- The girl of fire and thorns by Rae Carson
- Soundless by Richelle Mead
- A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J. Maas
- Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
- Alanna the first adventure by Tamora Pierce
- The scorpion rules by Erin Bow
- Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas
- The blue sword by Robin McKinley
- Grave mercy by Robin LaFevers
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Crown duel by Sherwood Smith
- Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
- Daughter of smoke and bone by Laini Taylor
- Winter of fire by Sherryl Jordan
- Court of fives by Kate Elliott
Reviewed by Brilla