Title: A Golden Fury
Author: Samantha Cahoe
Year Published: 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books (Imprint of Macmillan)
Genre: Young Adult ~ Historical Fiction ~ Science Fiction Fantasy
Warning: A lot of mentions of mad/madness/people performing actions due to their ‘madness’, as that was the term used back then. Those actions are mostly in terms of violence and violent acts. There’s also a bit of assault, but it doesn’t seem to be sexual. Mention of suicide.
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc through Netgalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for a free and honest review. The link in the book’s details is to the book’s Goodreads’ page, place to buy the book, and the book’s Storygraph’s page. . The summary and author details were provided by the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
Set in eighteenth century England, Samantha Cohoe’s debut novel, A GOLDEN FURY (Wednesday Books; October 13, 2020), follows a young alchemist as she tries to save the people she loves from the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone. The streets of London and Oxford come to life as this historical fantasy unravels. Weaving together an alluring story of magic and danger, Samantha’s debut has her heroine making messy decisions as she toes the line between good and evil while it becomes blurred.
Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.
But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.
A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.
I’ve probably mentioned it before here (on my blog, of course) but I don’t have the greatest love for historical fiction books. They’re usually a hit or miss for me, more so a miss for me. But I couldn’t pass up the premise of the Philosopher’s Stone! Usually I am a huge (okay, massive) fan of a lot of fantasy in a book, I do also like little slivers of fantasy and science fiction in a book.
That is definitely the case in this book. Even though I first thought it would be hard to understand, what with all the alchemy and science information, but I’m glad it wasn’t! Thea (the main character) is more than passionate enough about alchemy and trying to complete any alchemist’s life goal and dream. I felt Thea’s need and want to create the Stone – it wasn’t just for her, she also wanted to prove herself to her mother.
Oh, her mother. What a character and a half. While she isn’t actually physically by Thea all throughout the book, her mom’s words and actions are most certainly there. And they affect her as the mom is really manipulative and only thinks of herself. She’s so dismissive of Thea’s alchemy skills and only wants Thea to help her in her triumph.
I won’t say much of the romance because it holds some spoilers, but it did not go the way I thought it would have. But I’m also impressed that it went that way. I enjoyed it and the fact that it wasn’t the usual cookie-cutter romance we see.
There was something I’m always not keen (in the slightest) to see and that was girl-on-girl hate/pitting girls against each other – whatever you prefer saying. And I’m so so tired of seeing it in books! Why do they have to think less of the other? Because the one girl enjoys ‘pretty’ things while the other prefers to study? Because a certain boy pays more attention to the one girl than the other? Would the story change if it were taken out? In this book, I think it wouldn’t change much if the criticising of the girls (by the girls) were taken out.
I think a big reason why I stay away from historical fiction is that there’s so much of the writing, usually of the narrative and description. Which is probably funny because if you present me with a fantasy book that has an overabundance of narration and description, I’ll probably thank you. But I didn’t feel that way in here! I could easily keep up with all the alchemy talk and kept being intrigued by how much Thea’s mom annoyed me (with how unfair she was to her daughter).
About the Author
Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.
Samantha’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/smcohoe
Samantha’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samanthacohoe/
Could you imagine making the Stone? Admittedly, it would be cool, but I don’t think the end results would be the best… What say you? Tell me your thoughts, even if you haven’t read the book yet, down below in the comments!