On the surface, there should be much to enjoy about A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe. It has female alchemists in a time period where women did not do such a thing. Plus, it shows alchemy being successful and explains why no one was able to create the Philosopher’s Stone before Thea/Bee. A Golden Fury is a story full of possibilities.
Sadly, A Golden Fury does not live up to those possibilities. While the idea of women flouting the conventions of the time to do something they love that just happens to be in a men’s domain is something I always enjoy, I feel that Ms. Cohoe takes it a bit too far in that her heroine faces little opposition in chasing her dreams. She travels by herself without any repercussions. Even worse, she lives with an unmarried man who is not a relative. In general, she acts like a twenty-first-century woman even though the story takes place right before the French Revolution. I am all for woman power, but it has to make sense when placing your story into a historical period.
To make the situation even worse, there is nothing about A Golden Fury that is not predictable. Whether it is her ability to create the Philosopher’s Stone to her childish infatuation with Will to her relationship with her mother and father, Thea’s story follows in the exact directions you expect it to. Not only does this make the story boring, but it is also disappointing as well. After all, no one wants to read a story that holds no surprises.
There were many directions in which Ms. Cohoe could take her story. Unfortunately, the paths she chose were the most obvious ones available. Add to that a character whose behavior does not even remotely fit the social boundaries of the time and whose alchemical skill is beyond any other alchemist in the known world, and you have a story that is not only predictable to the point of boredom but also requires more suspension of disbelief than a reader wants to give. Simply, A Golden Fury is one big disappointment from start to finish.