Book Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

fawkes

About the Book-

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.

My Review-

I’ve heard about Nadine Brandes’ books all over the internet, and follow her amazing Instagram, but hadn’t actually read any of her books, until now! (Her Out of Time series is also on my TBR . . . I just haven’t read it yet!)

Fawkes is about the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, but it’s not historical fiction! It is, instead, a historical fantasy almost-allegorical retelling of the event, and it’s a lot of fun!

Initially, getting into the world is a little difficult and the entire beginning/middle of the book is a bit slow. The world is set up very well (which is needed, because of the alternate universe type setting that it’s in), but sometimes it felt a little bit too much.

Part of this was probably also because of Thomas, the protagonist. He was very difficult to like, and for a lot of the book, seemed increDIbly dense. I’m also not sure how I feel about Guy Fawkes himself, or, for that matter, his group of friends. (And yes, I understand that was intentional, but I didn’t quite realize that right when they were introduced).

However! I really like how the social situations of the historical time period was set up in the fantasy realm. The White Light was SO snarky and sassy and I loved it (even though it doesn’t . . . really fit what it’s supposed to stand for? but I loved it still!!!). And like lots of other people have said, I like how the two sides–the Igniters and the Keepers–weren’t ALL right or wrong.

ALSO CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT EMMA. I LOVEDDDDDDD her!!! She was amazing, but if I say any more, it’ll all be spoilt. So I’ll shut up about it. BUT EMMA.

The magic was also super cool! Although it could probably have been defined better, I really liked how the concept of it worked, and it really fit into the time period well too. Also: the StoNe PlaGue??!?!?! It sounds so real and horrifying and yipes.

My Rating-

7/10

Things Liked-

  • No right or wrong side
  • The White Light
  • EMMA
  • The magic system
  • Historical portrayal in the fantasy world
  • The allegorical side of things
  • Cool time period to write about: I’ve not read Gunpowder Plot fiction before!

Things Disliked-

  • A bit long and slow in the beginning
  • Thomas himself?
  • Feels a little incoherent sometimes?

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a complimentary ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

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