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On Thee Golden Luster Shed

Into the Bright Unknown, the final book in Rae Carson's Gold Seer Trilogy, doesn't shine as bright as its predecessors.

On Thee Golden Luster Shed

BOOK REPORT for Into the Bright Unknown (The Gold Seer Trilogy #3) by Rae Carson

Cover Story: Powerful Pretty
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Real (Historical) Talk
Bonus Factor: Old Friends
Factor: Heists
Anti-Bonus Factors: Old Enemies
Relationship Status: It’s Been Fun

Danger, Will Robinson! Into the Bright Unknown is the third book in the Gold Seer Trilogy. If you have not read the other books in the series—Walk on Earth a Stranger and Like a River Glorious—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first book, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Powerful Pretty

I’ve liked every one of the covers of this series, and this one is now exception. The scenery is gorgeous, the gold threads tie well into the story, and the title treatment continues to be impressively stately. But looking back, I kind of wish the woman at the top wasn’t there, on any of the books. I appreciate how her expressions and clothing “match” the way Leah is/becomes by the end of each novel, but she just gets lost amongst the rest of the stuff going on (and blocks the pretty landscapes).

The Deal:

Having settled in Glory, California, and gotten rid of Uncle Hiram for good, Leah “Lee” Westfall, Jefferson Kingfisher, and the rest of the found family they picked up on their way across the country have struck it comfortable, verging on rich—in no small part thanks to Lee’s special gold sense.

When Becky Joyner gets a message that the house her husband Andrew had shipped via boat has arrived in San Francisco, the majority of Glory’s residents trek to the city to run some errands. There, Lee’s surprised, but pleased, to run into James Hardwick, the businessman who helped with the Hiram situation, and who promised to help Glory get a town charter. Quickly, however, Lee realizes that though Hardwick might have been the lesser of two evils in their previous dealings, evil’s still evil when it comes right down to it.

BFF Charm: Yay

I’ll be honest—I miss the scrappy Lee I met in Walk on Earth a Stranger. Life was harder for her then, but the adventure and hardship she experienced made her a strong, no-nonsense individual. She’s turned into a great leader and is still more than willing to get her hands dirty if the situation calls for it, but our friendship has dimmed.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Spoiler warning! In 3 … 2 … 1 …

I cheered when Lee proposed to Jefferson in Like a River Glorious; it was such a Lee thing to do. And while Jefferson was around in Into the Bright Unknown, it seemed like they only had three or four actual scenes together. One in particular was cute, and swoony in a sweet kind of way, but the chemistry was seriously lacking.

Talky Talk: Real (Historical) Talk

I applauded Carson for the historical “accuracy” of the first two books in this series, and Into the Bright Unknown is no exception. The book was an excellent, if fictionalized, representation of California during the Gold Rush, and Carson doesn’t shy away from touching on tough topics, such as the inequality of women and the mistreatment of people of color during this era.

That said, I missed the action-packed nature of the earlier books. Yes, Into the Bright Unknown had a villain Lee and team had to foil, but it seemed tame after the tension of the second book’s plot, in particular. Into the Bright Unknown had more of a heist feel, which I typically enjoy, but the “reveal” at the end of the novel was more tell than show, and caused the series to meander to a finish rather than going out with the bang I was expecting.

Bonus Factor: Old Friends

For living in such a large country, and not having any quick modes of communication, Lee sure has good luck running into people she knows. The familiar face that shows up in Into the Bright Unknown was a nice (if not totally unexpected) surprise.

Factor: Heists

I really love a good heist story, and I don’t mind having to be filled in on what happened when all is said and done. (The first time I watched the Ocean’s Eleven reveal, my mind was both blown and delighted.) But the heist in Into the Bright Unknown wasn’t very complicated, and I had pretty much all of it figured out before being told what had happened.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Old Enemies

Some people should just stay dead.

Relationship Status: It’s Been Fun

For the most part, I enjoyed our time together, Book, but this last date left a little to be desired. Where was the spark? Where was the adventure? I guess settling down comes with a lot of, well, settling, but I had hoped for one more blood- and fist-pumping experience before our time came to a close.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Greenwillow Books, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Into the Bright Unknown is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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