Thanks for Wednesday Books for the free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I think I said this before, but I’m actually catching up with these digital ARCs. It makes me so happy to review them on NetGalley, too, and have them gone from my shelf, lol.
Title: A Golden Fury
Author: Samantha Cohoe
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release date: October 13, 2020
Genre: Young adult, historical fantasy
Length: 352 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”
I really had no expectations going into this book outside of the fact that I’m just a fan of historical fantasy. I was immediately intrigued because this setting is post-French revolution, and I thought it would be more involved with this actual time period, but that wasn’t the case (yes, I know the synopsis says Thea goes to Oxford, England but still). To be honest, I thought you could set this book in any similar Western setting and nothing much would change.
You have the main character, Thea, who is an alchemist, along with her mother, who apparently made some really great armor for the king and that is her one claim to flame. Apparently, Thea’s mother doesn’t like that she has someone to compete with (against?), and to be honest, I struggled to understand Thea’s love for her mother because it didn’t seem to be something based on actual love but almost… obligation. Like, hey, this person raised me and taught me everything I know but she’s also a horrible person. So…yeah. Her father tried to be a little better, but you can tell he’s working through the fact that he has a daughter whom he knew nothing about until she arrived on his doorstep. Don’t get me wrong, Thea is determined and ambitious, especially in a world that doesn’t hold much value to women (thanks, time period).
If the author tried to make her readers feel the romance between Will and Thea, it really isn’t there. The whole story about him how he came to be in his present situation doesn’t seem believable, and even Thea questioned it. It makes me wonder if Will even cared for Thea in the first place because as the story progressed, I don’t think that’s even the case. He becomes (is?) a selfish person who seemed to take advantage of people for his own personal gain. I’m not sure what to make fo Dominic either. There’s nothing really that commends all of three of these characters. Thea acted the way she did because she thought she was saving people, but when she discovered the Stone isn’t exactly what everyone thought it would be… Well… Meh. The only person I sort of cared for is Valentin and it’s only because I thought his whole connection with Will/Thea and the events were rather heartbreaking.
The ending also makes it seem like there could be a sequel, but it’s not something I would be interested in reading. I think I mainly wanted a lot more of the historical aspect of this book, while the fantasy part was just okay.
Check out these other reviews here:
- Janel wrote an in-depth review, including content warnings and quotes.
- Kaite at My Way by Starlight thought this book was unpredictable and surprising.
- Divya at Girls Who Love to Read said the execution and pacing of the book failed to impress.