A Golden Fury
Published October 13, 2020
About A Golden Fury
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 loved all the twisty, turning elements of this story. The quest to create the Stone. The evolving relationships, especially between Thea and her parents and Will and Valentin. I love that she faces things her mother taught her about relationships, and about men in particular and has to decide for herself if they are true. There’s a lot of exploration on trust and how much someone deserves, and some about what forgiveness looks like, and the nature of power.
Thea is a complicated character who struggles with a desire to please her mother and also resents her mother’s control over her. She desperately wants to find her own way, but also desperately wants to save her mother, too. I felt like she was so relatable in all of that, and I felt her anxiety about being on her own and her butterflies about meeting her father for the first time.
The tone in the story has an older feel to it (as in centuries, not the age of the characters), which fits the historical genre. It reads a little bit like a scientist’s journal, in that there are a lot of observations and internal thoughts and long stretches where there isn’t much dialogue.
This didn’t really bother me at all once I got into the story. By about chapter four or five, I felt pretty hooked, and even before that I was enjoying the story and really interested in what happened. But for me, my reading seemed to take off once I was a few chapters in.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Major characters are white. There are some clashes of class, rich versus poor.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
One curse in German.
Some clear attraction between a man and woman. References to others having had sex.
One character is Catholic and visits a priest to confess sins. The Philosopher’s Stone gives its bearer a great amount of power, but also carries a curse that destroys the sanity of anyone who tries to make it.
Several violent altercations with some brief graphic violence. Some reference to and events leading to torture. Multiple characters are restrained with chains once they’ve gone mad.
Some historically appropriate social drinking.
Note: I received a free copy of A GOLDEN FURY in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.
About Samantha Cohoe
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.