Blog Tour & Review: A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Golden Fury!

A Golden FuryTitle: A Golden Fury
Author: Samantha Cohoe
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: 13 October 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Synopsis:

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.

Book links

Amazon || B&N || Book Depository || Google Play Books || Goodreads || Macmillan


REVIEW

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Warnings: physical and emotional abuse from parent, physical assault, threat of sexual violence, gore, suicide attempt described, character tries to drown themself, description of torture, self-harm, hallucinations

If I would want to describe the vibe of this novel, I would probably go with scientist thriller. The story is about alchemy and the Philosopher’s stone, but it is so much about secrecy and guarding your research too! Thea Hope’s mother is a prominent alchemist, though prominence hardly means anything since they both, as women, would never be allowed into academic circles and universities. Nevertheless, her mother funds her research through her patrons, and the two of them are close to making an actual Philosopher’s stone when her mother gets psychotic and violent, and nearly tries to kill her and destroys the forming stone. As this is also set in the aftermath of the French Revolution, and with Thea and her mother being British in France, it is decided that she be sent to Oxford to live with the father who doesn’t yet know of her existence.

If alchemy was our religion, then we were its priests. We held the power, and we would reap the rewards, but the burdens were ours alone. No one could take them from us. If my mother had been judged unworthy by some god of alchemy, then there was no priest who could make her better.

As she lands in Oxford, she finds evidence to suggest that her mother’s mental state was caused not due to stress but due to a curse that protects the making of the stone. When she tries to warn her father and his colleagues about the danger, they don’t listen and instead steal her research. An accident has her running with her father’s apprentice, Dominic into hiding, but the ally she hides with, her boyfriend Will, has her in more trouble than before. His enemies want her to make the stone, and with lives and people’s sanity on the line, she agrees to sacrifice her own sanity in the hope that the stone will cure all of the above. The making of the stone leads her deeply into hallucinations and psychosis, but there is a lot also going on among her captors and Will that she doesn’t know of. I would say, this was quite and unpredictable plot – I was constantly anxious about how they would solve their problems and whether the stone itself would be created or not, and what would happen if it did.

But it did not sound so terrible, to be changed. After all, what was I without it? Without alchemy? Just a clever girl with nowhere to apply her talents. Beyond that I did not know.

Thea is a brilliant protagonist, sharp-witted and fierce, but when it comes to Will, she kind of is naive. There’s also the fact that she is held between her mother and Will – both of them speak ill of the other, so she has sort of learned to disregard her mother’s objections to Will, which makes her more susceptible to his charms. Will, on the other hand, makes for an interesting antagonistic character in that while he is technically still the love interest for quite a bit of the book, his intentions are deeply suspicious. I wish she had been more wary of him, because that would definitely have helped the pacing of the second half. But I have to give the plot props for not pursuing a romantic subplot (I totally considered two more love interests available because of genre tropes) and instead making a story about a young girl pursuing a dangerous path for something she desperately wanted in her life – acknowledgement. Her driving force for creating the stone is not the riches or the miracles, but whether she could actually do it, and I stan this scientist for that! I also liked the take on the ‘price’ one has to pay to make the stone – quite horrifying and also very definitively nails the ending in a conclusive manner.


AUTHOR INFORMATION

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.

Author links

Author website || Goodreads || Twitter || Instagram

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