A mysterious tale of alchemy, family and love... A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe (Interview & Review) #yalit #fantasy @wednesdaybooks @smcohoe

Welcome! You do not want to miss the interview with the
author below and you can check out my review as well...

A Golden Fury
By Samantha Cohoe
YA Historical Fantasy
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 320 Pages
October 13, 2020 by Wednesday Books


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.

Advanced Praise

*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

Q&A with the Author

What inspired you to write a story about the Philosophers Stone?

I love the ambition of alchemists. They really thought they could achieve endless life and wealth if they just tried hard enough. Brilliant men and women spent their lives pursuing this. It consumed people. It’s such a seductive goal. I was drawn to the scale of it, and to its dark side.

Would you tell us more about the main characters from A GOLDEN FURY?

There’s Thea, a young and ambitious alchemist in training, who hates, hates, HATES to be underestimated. There’s Will, her charming first love who is in a lot of trouble. Dominic is a skeptic. He wants to help people, too, but he thinks good old-fashioned medicine is probably a better bet than the Philosopher’s Stone. And Theas parents are… well… you’ll find out about them.

Which character do you most relate to and why?

I relate most to Thea, probably because I put her together out of a lot of myself. We share some of the same traumas, and her fears were mine at her age, minus the magical elements. Her voice was easy to slip into. I’ve had some readers find Thea too critical and sure of herself and all I can say is that I don’t disagree!

What advice would Thea give about navigating her world?

At the beginning of the book, Thea would probably give a lot of advice that came from her mother, even though she wouldn’t want to admit it. Don’t trust anyone, don’t give anyone the chance to hurt you twice, pay attention to how you can use any situation to your advantage. By the end of the book, her advice would be different.

What part or aspect of this story do you love the most?

I really love the relationship between Thea and her mother. For a lot of the book, Marguerite is off-stage but still very alive in Thea’s head. That was very real to me, and also very easy to write. I also really love Dominic. I’m always meanest to my kindest characters, but it’s not because I don’t love them.

As a debut author, what has been the most challenging and the most rewarding about becoming published?

It’s an incredible thing to see my book go out into the world and live in other peoples’ heads. That is what we write for, in the end, and nothing compares to knowing that it’s happening. The most challenging thing is the same thing. Somehow, I didn’t anticipate what a knife in the gut it would feel like to get bad reviews! I try not to read them anymore, because rationally I know that no book can be for everyone. But I think I still actually expected everyone to like it. Or at least I wasn’t prepared for what it would feel like when not everyone did! But that’s the flip side of your beautiful baby being a thing out there in the world. Everyone who wants to read it gets to feel however they feel about it, and that is good! Anyway, I have Goodreads blocked now.

When you're not reading or writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I love cooking, throwing parties, playing piano, going to parties, talking, doing skincare, and eating. I do not love messing around on social media, but I seem to do it a lot anyway.

What are you working on next?

My next book, BRIGHT RUINED THINGS, is a 1920s YA retelling of the Tempest, and it comes out next fall with Wednesday Books. I just finished edits on that, and I’m about to dive into another secret project with a Roman-Celtic setting.

My Review

A GOLDEN FURY is a story of a girl trained in alchemy who has her world upended and must find her own way. Full of mystery and twists, it's a tale of desperation, madness, friendship and trust. Recommended to YA fans who enjoy light fantasy or magical realism of a Gothic sort.

I know this book is set during the French Revolution period, and you definitely get a bit of a taste of that, but this felt very Gothic to me with all the alchemy and the rough edges of the tale. I never knew exactly who these characters could trust, if even themselves. It very much carried that mysterious and dark feeling through the entire story. Thea flees from a madness to find it just about everywhere she goes. She's thrown into a world much lower than what she has actually grown up in with having her mother living more opulently with those who supported her. She's lost that and is just trying to survive, but also save those she loves. She's thrown into constant moral battles and choices. What will she choose? Who does she trust? Who will she save? I think a lot of those themes are so easy to connect to as a reader, especially as a teen who is trying to find his or her own way in the world. Thea has the same vulnerabilities, struggles and doubts. She also has a bit of confidence and fearlessness that's a trademark of youth.

The first half of the story moves at a fairly steady pace. There is a bit of intensity here and there, but I didn't feel the story really gets moving until the second half when Thea, herself, begins making the Philosopher's Stone. Then her life becomes a mix of danger, madness, and desperation to the very end of the tale. The story gets a bit edgier and darker, friendships are lost and formed, and Thea must make the toughest and most important choice of her life. I literally could not turn the pages fast enough! Thea was an intriguing and likable character throughout, even when I wanted to shake her. I cheered her on to the very end. I also really liked how it all wraps up. I felt like it was perfect for Thea's character and the story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was one of those stories that is a bit mysterious and dark from beginning to end, with plenty of twists, and a likable heroine. I will definitely be checking out this author's next release!

Content: Some innuendo and violence (some of it a bit gruesome), but I would consider this clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not require a positive review. All opinions 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.

Photo Credit: Alison McQuain of Alison McQuain Photography

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