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.
This is a fantasy standalone that follow Thea who is an alchemist assistant to her mother. Her mother goes mad while trying to create the Philosopher’s stone and Thea is sent to her father in Oxford.
Okay the things that I liked about this story. The writing style is definitely for older YA. This reads like an adult novel, in terms of the writing style, it’s immersive and you really get to know the characters. Because this is a YA novel it is very plot driven and there is something like a romance in this. I went into this book not knowing what it was about and I had no problem picking up what was going on. Also, I really did like our main character, Thea. She was strong but she also had weaknesses that made you want to shake her. This is what I enjoy in a YA heroine because they often seem to be strong to a fault. Thea wasn’t like that and I found myself rooting for her.
Something else that I liked about the book was the alchemy vs. science debate. I really love fantasies that have alchemy in it, so the nerd in me was rejoicing. I thought that the author did a good job of balancing the alchemy but not bogging down the story. The discussion of what would you do with infinite power was done well and while what happened was a bit predictable, I still was on the edge of my seat.
Things that I didn’t like about the book. While I was rooting for Thea, there were moments when I wanted to slap her. Everyone around her was trying to show her that her affections were misplaced with the love interest and yet she kept letting him treat her like trash. This was really frustrating to me and I couldn’t stand it. Also, I wanted to know more about her relationship with her father. I wanted that explored a little more. The book left them in a place that wrapped things up but still I wanted more.
Overall, this was a pretty solid fantasy story, if you’re looking for a standalone that wraps up nicely. The story is good, the setting is interesting, the plot moves at a steady pace. I definitely will be recommending this.
****Thank you Wednesday Books for the free copy in exchange for a free and honest review. All views expressed are my own.*****
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.
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