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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.
*A Nerd Daily YA Debut to Watch Out for in 2020*
“Sharply written with a crackling, compassionately determined heroine, A Golden Fury is a vivid ride through eighteenth century Europe with darkness and dread creeping at its corners. Utterly enchanting.”
– Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints
“An engaging concoction of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.” – Booklist
“Cohoe situates the supernatural among the historical, referencing the French Revolution and the Enlightenment while…keeping a sense of urgency as Thea struggles with the magical, demonic pull of the Stone.”
– Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The attention to detail in the story is excellent…. Thea herself is a confident lead with a strong voice. A solid fantasy to
flesh out the world of alchemy that most readers know only from ‘Harry Potter.'” – School Library Journal
“Cohoe transmutes the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone into a dark, intoxicating tale of ambition, obsession, and sacrifice. Prepare for a magic that will consume you.”
– Rosamund Hodge, New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire
“Steeped in mystery and magic, Samantha Cohoe’s A Golden Fury immerses readers in beautifully rendered world where magic and science mix, and where the intoxication of power can be deadly. Whip-smart Thea is a heroine readers will root for.” – Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician
Alchemy? A Philosopher’s Stone? A dark secret? A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe has all three and more. A magical read about a powerful curse and the girl who is trying to warn everyone and save them. This was a delightful read that felt a bit short in the excitement area.
Let’s begin with what I enjoyed…..
I think the author has the potential to create a creative storyline. This was shown at the very beginning of the novel. I enjoyed the backdrop of Thea and her mother’s story. Two alchemists close to creating the elusive Philosopher’s stone. But through the work, we also are introduced to the relationship between Thea and her mother and realize all is not glitz and glamor. Thea, desperately wants to leave the emotional abusive person her mother is. Her mother’s madness prompts Thea to find a solution to cure it, thus beginning Thea’s own journey into creating a Philosopher’s Stone of her own. Without spoiling anything, the story takes a dark turn and you begin to question which character Thea can truly trust. I enjoyed the mystery of figuring it all out.
As you may have seen in my previous reviews, I am really driven by characters and Thea was another character I enjoyed. She was relatable in some way, was not perfect and was allowed to make and learn from her mistakes. The author did not disappoint in that part and I was very pleased with reading Thea’s character development. Thea’s focus toward her craft was a bit of a refresher from stories geared mostly toward a romantic partner or romance storyline.
I loved the focus on Alchemy. As a person who grew up watching Full Metal Alchemist, this part of the book intrigued me the most and was my second driving force to finishing it. I would be happy to see more works with this magic focus from the author.
Now on to the part I felt meh about….
While the first part of the book had a strong storyline, the last third of the book felt unfinished. You get a sprinkle of a romance that I would have liked to see develop earlier in the story and you are left with an average ending. To sum it up, the pacing felt a bit off and may have made an overall story with great potential fall just a little short. With that being said, was it terrible? Not at all. Would I still recommend? Of course! This book will have a fan base in anyone who loves magic mixed with a historical element.
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.