I love YA books but I tend to get frustrated with ones that follow the exact same types of formulas. So, I was excited to see that while “A Golden Fury” has some steadfast and true YA elements, it does take interesting turns away from standard YA tropes.
The fantasy novel follows Thea Hope, a 17-year-old French girl living in the 18th century. She’s a trained alchemist (like her mother), and the book starts right off with an exciting bang when Thea’s mother appears to go mad after working in her lab. As she goes off the deep end, Thea escapes to visit her father in Oxford, England – even though the two have never met. The characters of Thea’s mother and father were both really uniquely written (nearly all of their actions felt surprising to me). The rest of the story follows Thea’s quest to make the Philosopher’s Stone – an alchemic element that is said to have ultimate healing powers. The only problem is that Thea’s mother’s illness is directly linked to her working on the stone. So, will Thea also go mad while trying to make the stone and save the people around her?
I felt like the pacing of “A Golden Fury” was perfect. The frequent change in setting made it feel like new dangers and conflicts were present after each couple of chapters. I also loved that the traditional love triangle so present in YA books was there, but had several unique and fresh twists so that the theme didn’t feel stale at all.
I enjoyed the ending of the novel as well – all loose ends were tied up and it felt satisfying to find out where each character ended up. The best part is that there were still sad yet realistic conclusions for each of the characters – it felt more genuine instead of the author trying to wrap up everyone’s story with an unnecessary happy ending.
The writing style is really strong with a great flow to it, but there was an element of cohesion that felt like it was missing at times. Otherwise, I’d happily recommend this to YA fantasy lovers! Thea is a heroine who fights for what she wants and is still willing to sacrifice her best interests to help others – a perfect YA protagonist!
*Free ARC provided by Netgalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review*