A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe
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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.
DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review as part of the A Golden Fury blog tour hosted by Wednesday Books.
EXPECTED OCTOBER 13TH, 2020
We all know the Philosopher’s Stone.
The legendary high point of alchemy, the ultimate act of creation, the mythical object with power over life and death, not to mention wealth. For us, it’s a fable. For Thea Hope, it’s a dream and a last chance in equal measure. Surrounded by danger on all sides in A Golden Fury, Thea must find a way to succeed where no alchemist ever has before, despite the lifetimes of research and alchemical practice that have come before her. If she fails, the lives of her friends and family hang in the balance, not to mention her own sanity.
But the real question remains: is the Philosopher’s Stone worth the costs?
A Golden Fury is a book brimming with ambition at its sharpest.
Any alchemist worth their salt will be ambitious, of course. With the Philosopher’s Stone ever out of reach, promising limitless health, wealth, and power, the practice is cutthroat at best, and full of skeptic disregard at worst. To succeed as an alchemist requires demonstration of the impossible.
And this is what made me love Thea Hope.
Raised by the most famous female alchemist in Europe, only to suddenly be excluded from her mother’s pending triumphs, Thea is a relentlessly focused protagonist. She makes little secret of her skill as an alchemist, and while there are some altruistic motives driving her quest for the Stone, Thea first and foremost wants the credit. She wants to surpass the mother who froze her out, defy the society that disparages her on account of both her gender and her field of study. She wants, plain and simple, and I found it incredibly refreshing. As much as I love a good reluctant hero still uncertain of their desires, there’s enormous power in a protagonist who’s already made up their mind.
Set against a supporting cast that seems to waffle in their desires (or disguise them altogether), Thea stands out sharply. Even though A Golden Fury is a stand-alone, I would love to read more about her!
“Power to do harm is still power. That power in your hands becomes the power to do good. To do anything.”
Ultimately, this is what A Golden Fury is all about: power. The quest for it and the use of it alike permeate every page of the book. Who deserves to wield power like the Stone’s, and what will that power cost?
For the most part, I enjoyed the way A Golden Fury interrogated power, especially since it confronted abuses of power not directly related to the Stone’s legendary gifts. However, this was also the part I felt was most lacking. Often, the book fails to answer why someone deserves to wield power or knowledge. This is most glaring during the final stretches of Thea’s attempt to make the Stone, and has been on my mind since. The thematic questions regarding power start strong, but remain incomplete.
A Golden Fury is a perfect fit for stand-alone historical fantasy lovers.
Clever and sharp, with a well-formed cast in the space of a single book, A Golden Fury is likely to please anyone who likes their historical YA with a splash of magic and a full complement of willful characters. It’s also hitting shelves tomorrow, October 13th, leaving you just a little time to squeeze in a pre-order if that’s your thing!
Think you’ll be worthy of the knowledge of the Stone?
CW: violence, alcoholism, loss of a loved one, graphic injury, gore, torture, suicide, self-harm