Review – Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Book description

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

First impressions

After reading the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes, I was excited to know she was releasing a new book, a historical fiction story nicely packaged in a hardcover book with an amazing cover. This could be one of those books you can safely buy because you like the cover and still be confident the story is just as good.

Review 

I’m not so much into historical fiction, but if you add fantasy to the equation, I’m sold. Fawkes is not only inspired by true historical events, in this case the gunpowder plot, but it has a creative magic system that adds flavor to the narrative.

Story

Color power is controlled by speech which in turn can only be effective by wearing a mask given to you by your parents. The influence of the power of each mask is dictated by its color. In Nadine’s words (visit her insta account for pics):

Green masks control green things—plants and trees and growing things mostly. A lot of apothecaries are Greens for this very reason.

Ironically, this the story about Thomas, a boy that cannot use color power, but most importantly, he doesn’t have a clue about his own father. The one who is the one supposed to care for him and help him in the process to bond with a color. Oddly enough, when he finally gets to find him he’s introduced by Guy Fawkes in a plot to kill King James I. 

Characters

Thomas seemed to me a very polite character, because of his age he obviously has this reckless attitude towards adults and problems. He struggles with the person he wants to become, the person others expect him to become and ultimately the person he is supposed to become once he find the truth about himself.

Emma, which belongs to the Igniters, is very interesting character and as you can guess she becomes Thomas’ love interest. The good thing about romance in Fawkes is that it becomes part of the story and not central. Nadine builds a love story slowly through pages filled with big doses of action and political turmoil, giving the readers a balanced story. But Emma is not only that, she’s a character with a personal and difficult story to tell (one that certainly deserves an spin-off).

Finally, can I talk about White Light? This may or may not contain spoilers so just be cautious. White Light is a background character that has very little participation but brings deep truths into the view. I liked the way it spoke differently to each character and the way Nadine crafted the story so you can make you own theories.

Conclusion

Fawkes is a standalone novel, an awesome standalone novel that has the ability to make you part of the gunpowder plot and absorb you into a fictional London filled with magic, intrigue, romance and a search for your identity. If you’re unsure about reading Fawkes because of the fantasy touch, give it a chance and you’ll not be disappointed.

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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