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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 pe 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. 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.


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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 pe 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. 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.

30 review for Fawkes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Brandes

    ARE YOU READY? (Okay can we take a minute to talk about how Goodreads has a "read", "to read", and "currently reading" option...but what about "wrote"? Because just clicking "I read this book" doesn't really capture what me and this book truly went through.) *added later* Per request from several readers, I have included a content guide below: PARENTS'/CONTENT GUIDE This book is recommended for readers ages 14 and up. PROFANITY: None SEXUAL CONTENT: brief kissing VIOLENCE: sword fights, people turni ARE YOU READY? (Okay can we take a minute to talk about how Goodreads has a "read", "to read", and "currently reading" option...but what about "wrote"? Because just clicking "I read this book" doesn't really capture what me and this book truly went through.) *added later* Per request from several readers, I have included a content guide below: PARENTS'/CONTENT GUIDE This book is recommended for readers ages 14 and up. PROFANITY: None SEXUAL CONTENT: brief kissing VIOLENCE: sword fights, people turning to stone due to a magical plague, mention of drawn-and-quartering. At one point a man strikes a woman with his hand. (She strikes him back) Click on "spoiler" to read about scene details: (view spoiler)[ - a character drowns, trapped inside a prison cart. Non-graphic. - a character tries to cut the stone plague out of his skin with a knife - a character almost gets hung - there is description of executions (decapitated heads are seen on spikes) - deaths take place in numerous ways: being shot, stone plague, falling a long distance to the ground (non-suicidal), etc. (hide spoiler)] Readers, if I've missed anything, please say so in the comments and I'll add it here. :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    I'm always here for a good bit o' dark magic and assassination plots, so I was really excited to read Fawkes! I also know like NOTHING about the original Guy Fawkes, so this reimagining of London with Guy Fawkes' son as the narrator, and add in a bit of a devastating stone plague and a magic system based on colours?! Well it was great. Also I learned a lot! I mean, apart from the magic. 95% sure the Brits didn't have magic...or did they and hello hOGWARTS' ORIGIN STORY. Mwahahah... okay um yeah, I'm always here for a good bit o' dark magic and assassination plots, so I was really excited to read Fawkes! I also know like NOTHING about the original Guy Fawkes, so this reimagining of London with Guy Fawkes' son as the narrator, and add in a bit of a devastating stone plague and a magic system based on colours?! Well it was great. Also I learned a lot! I mean, apart from the magic. 95% sure the Brits didn't have magic...or did they and hello hOGWARTS' ORIGIN STORY. Mwahahah... okay um yeah, I'll stop. Remember, remember, the fifth of November, The Gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot! Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent To blow up the King adn the Parliment; Threescore barrels of powder below, Poor old England to overthrow. By God's providence he was catch'd, With a dark lantern and a burning match. + It's narrated by 16 year old Thomas Fawkes, who is a hopeless honourable little mite. He is like the ultimate Gyrffindor. HONOUR. GOODNESS. GENTLEMANLY PLEDGES. Giveth me my sword and I shALL DEFEND THE WORLD. He's such a good hearted little dork, look at him go. He also has the magical-stone-plague, which is dormant but he's ostracised because of it. And he's also lost an eye to it. I really like when books feature characters with disabilities and illnesses! (Although I don't like "cure" storylines, but I think this was fair because it was an illness and could kill him so I get that he was desperate for the cure.) And I like how it was that twist on the London Black Plague by making it this magic-infected-illness that slowly turned you to stone. I really felt for Thomas, and there was this one scene....omg...the writing was just vivid with his pain and agony and my hEART LURCHED. (view spoiler)[That part where he nearly dies as the plague comes back and suddenly spreads and he's just having the stone take over his whole face jakfdlsad. It was terrifying. (hide spoiler)] + The magic system was also awesome! It's based on masks and colours! So like my Phantom of the Opera obsessed youth is delighted. Thank you. Basically you can do magic via speaking or commanding certain colours --> but you have to have your mask, made by a parent, to be able to connect with the magic. Thomas' father, Guy Fawkes, ditched him because he thought his kid was going to die of the plague so Thomas is travelling to get his dad to give him his bloody mask. + Do we have father/son issues? Why yes we do. I do so love a book with a complex and intriguing magic system AND FAMILY STRIFE. Thomas trying to figure out if he's onboard with his dad assassinating a king and if that will solve the plague, the war between magicians??? Like I felt for him. + There's quite a big secondary cast. I admit I got all the guys in on the plot confused, haha, except for Catsby because I think people name their actual cats that, but like thinking of Gatsby. Right? ANYWAY. But they were all actually the names of the real people in on Fawke's plot! So that was cool! And I love loooooved Emma! She is a badass young woman from Thomas' school, who's kind of blackmailed into being with this rich family and Thomas has this lITTLE CRUSH. It's such a small but wholesome romance, and definitely doesn't overshadow the plot! So if you're not a super romance fan this would work for you too. But Emma paints, kicks ass, takes names, and has the most vibrant personality in the book I think!! LOVE HER. + There's so many elements to the story too! Gunpowder! Conspiracies! Disguises! Plagues! Discussions on race and the disgusting racism in London. There's like a twist/retelling on the religious wars (but this time with magicians instead of religion!) and THERE IS MURDER. ALL IN ALL: I enjoyed this one! It's not super face paced, but it crafts such a detailed view of London and I am so so in love with the colour-coded magic system (heck I colour-code my LIFE so sign me up). I enjoyed this twist on the original Guy Fawkes and I love how you get torn from both sides on which is good vs bad.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ivana - Diary of Difference

    Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is one of those books that draws you into a world, enlightens you with its magic, and then sends you back to reality, so you can enlighten others while you glow. Nadine used the history of Guy Fawkes and the failed attempt to blow the parliament as a base to her story, that follows Guy Fawkes’s son, Thomas, into an incredible magical journey. ‘’A foundation of truth represents what life was intended to be.’’ Thomas is Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is one of those books that draws you into a world, enlightens you with its magic, and then sends you back to reality, so you can enlighten others while you glow. Nadine used the history of Guy Fawkes and the failed attempt to blow the parliament as a base to her story, that follows Guy Fawkes’s son, Thomas, into an incredible magical journey. ‘’A foundation of truth represents what life was intended to be.’’ Thomas is about to get his mask, that is supposed to make him control one colour. He also happens to be affected with the plague, that turns his face into stone. His family are all Keepers, and he, by default is a keeper too. But things are never that simple. What will happen when he might not get his mask, and the plague is about to kill him? We follow the journey of Thomas through a first - person perspective. He feels incomplete when he has the plague, and all his life he is waiting to get his mask, and to be able to control a colour. Any colour, even though he prefers Grey. Only with my mask could I bond with a color. But on the day when he is about to receive his mask from his dad, he learns that his father is in London, and is not willing to come. Scared for his life, and angry at his father, he goes into an adventure to find him. His father is Guy Fawkes, a Keeper that is involved in a Gunpowder plot, which will kill the whole parliament, and most importantly, the king of England, who is the cause of the plague! Thomas joins the plot, knowing that this is the last chance for him to survive the plague! If the king is dead, the plague would be gone. But will it? I never imagined a single moment of acceptance could reverse a year of bitterness and prejudice. Through Thomas’s eyes, we see a war between the Keepers and the Igniters. It might be a metaphor for the Catholics and Protestants, but I won’t go into this now. The Keepers were loyal to one color only, and Igniters wanted to control all colors. Igniters used the White Colour as a source to control all power. But White Color doesn’t obey like other colours do - the White Color makes people go crazy for power and glory. Something similar to the ring in Lord of The Rings. ‘’Igniters believe that for each Keeper that dies, one person is cured of the plague’’. We see Thomas caught between two sides - the keepers want to be free of oppression, and the Igniters want to be free to use color speech as they wanted. On such a crossroad, Thomas wants to find the truth for himself. But there is no time, and not many people that he can trust. ‘’You’ve given me your truth. I have to find it for myself for it to become mine. And curiosity is the first step’’. On his journey, his relationship with Emma becomes stronger. She is an Igniter, and they share different beliefs, and she also knows he has the plague. But she is still around, and she accepts his as he is. And Thomas, taught to always hide his face, because otherwise he would be killed by the Igniters, is able to relax around Emma. This will teach him to accept Emma as she is, once she tells him her secret. I loved the character of Emma. She is a strong person, but unable to show her true self due to the fact that she is not like the others, that she is not the same. In this book it is also shown quite well how women were underestimated in the 17th century. How they were thought to be unworthy. The only bit I didn’t like about Emma is that, even though such strong character, she would have never fought for herself if Thomas wasn’t there to ‘’save’’ her. This book is a lovely story about Thomas, and how he finds his true self, how he is not afraid to stand up for the things he believes in, how he learns that he shouldn't be hiding his true self anymore and embrace his fears, as they might turn out to be the best things that ever happened in his life. ‘’Take a breath, Thomas. There has always been fear. There will always be fear. It’s up to us to stand tall, even when the fear demands we bow to it.’’ So yes, my lovely readers, I loved this book so much! I loved the magical moments, I loved how it turned out to be an amazing plot, based on real history events. I loved Thomas’s character, and I loved Emma. I loved Guy Fawkes as well, especially in the end of the book. If you happen to love these types of books, please get your copy as soon as you can. You won’t regret it at all! I have received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie Grace

    If you think the cover is epic, just wait until you read the book. SO GOOD.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Brigid

    “Not a single day has been promised to me. Do not deny me this moment.” Firstly, I need to express my admiration for the stunning cover. I’m an absolute cover-judger and I must say that the art work is so alluring! It is what first drew me towards this book, and the synopsis only reinforced my initial desire to dive into the story. With that being said, I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I had hoped. I’m not a huge historical-fiction reader, but a retelling of the Guy Fawkes assass “Not a single day has been promised to me. Do not deny me this moment.” Firstly, I need to express my admiration for the stunning cover. I’m an absolute cover-judger and I must say that the art work is so alluring! It is what first drew me towards this book, and the synopsis only reinforced my initial desire to dive into the story. With that being said, I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I had hoped. I’m not a huge historical-fiction reader, but a retelling of the Guy Fawkes assassination attempt in an intricate, magic-based England? I’m all ears! How Brandes mixed true events with fiction is truly outstanding. If I were to write my review on that aspect alone, I would happily rate Fawkes four or five stars. The story was also a couple hundred pages too long, in my opinion. If the pacing had been faster, and the length, shorter, I might’ve appreciated the story more. However, I simply couldn’t connect with the protagonist, Thomas. He lacked a unique voice, and I found myself struggling to read through his perspective; it was tedious and rather dull. I admire it when characters have strong beliefs, but Thomas was in this constant state of confusion, and it was frustrating because his reasons for abstaining from choosing a side never made sense. His actions were quite immature, and it grew wearisome to read through. His selfishness and incessant complaining didn’t make me like him any more either. I had also hoped that the relationships with each of the plotters were expressed in greater detail. Aside from their names (all of which belong to true historical figures), there wasn’t anything wholly stimulating about them. On the other hand, the chief villain was entertaining. Predictable as he might’ve been, I still enjoyed his gradual development. The relationship between Thomas and Guy Fawkes had so much potential that was never tapped on. I love relationships between parents and kids and the possibilities for a bond between these two were endless. His father could’ve expressed a plethora of feelings after abandoning Thomas. Perhaps it was too painful to look upon the face of his son who is dying of the same curse that stole his wife? Maybe he couldn’t bear the thought of his only son not being able to forgive him for leaving? He could’ve been frightened of involving Thomas in the dangerous plot that could truly end his life. While a few of these were vaguely shown, it wasn’t depicted as intricately as I hoped it would be. How color powers work was another pressing issue for me. I love the idea of the color powers, and the Stone Plague. While the latter’s origin was eventually explained thoroughly, the former never had such luck. It’s never truly made clear how color powers work and what their practicalities are in the world. From what I’ve gathered, each color is capable of bestowing its user control over a particular element or aspect of nature. How strongly the color forms a bond with the individual, determines the extent of power one can possess. Now, my concern, is what are the types of powers each color grants? Grey controls stone, black controls shadows, – or at least, I think it does – and brown controls dirt and soil. It isn’t described what other colors, such as purple, blue, pink, etc. can do. I also wish there was more details as to what each color can contribute to society. How does it affect employment in the 17th century, for instance? My main fault is that I expected too much from the story. It’s a solid novel, and even though I didn’t enjoy it too much, I can see why many others have given it positive reviews. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and magic, this might be your cup of tea, but be warned that the protagonist can be quite irritable at times, and the relationships aren’t very developed. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review! Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A parallel England, 1604 Thomas Fawkes is embarrassed. He’s sixteen now, the only student at St. Peter’s Color Academy in York who hasn’t been given his own mask and can’t speak to any color. (I’ll explain to the best of my ability, something the book itself neglects to do). Thomas gets booted from school. With no friends or family to take him in, he heads to London, drawn by the rumor that his father, Guy Fawkes the famous mercenary, has returned to England. After a number of misadventures, Thoma A parallel England, 1604 Thomas Fawkes is embarrassed. He’s sixteen now, the only student at St. Peter’s Color Academy in York who hasn’t been given his own mask and can’t speak to any color. (I’ll explain to the best of my ability, something the book itself neglects to do). Thomas gets booted from school. With no friends or family to take him in, he heads to London, drawn by the rumor that his father, Guy Fawkes the famous mercenary, has returned to England. After a number of misadventures, Thomas stumbles upon his father. But dear old Dad isn’t nearly as enthused about discovering his long-lost son as he is about the plot he and some allies have concocted to assassinate King James and all of Parliament. This plot is just the latest escalation in a century-long war between two different philosophies of magic. The Keepers believe that each individual should only manipulate a single color, and the White Light at the source of the color spectrum is too dangerous for anyone but the wise to talk to. The Igniters commune directly with the White Light and use it to manipulate all the colors. Thomas is a Keeper like his father before him. But he learns that someone else has a plan about that… Content Advisory Violence: Several brief but rather nail-biting sword fights, and a shootout at the end. A man goes about stabbing people and animals with an infected knife and giving them the plague. The MC and his young lady friend are frequently menaced by hoodlums and conspirators in dark alleys. One of these scuffles leaves Thomas bleeding profusely. There are two mass hangings, one including a child, who escapes the noose and runs. Brief discussion of the full punishment for treason: hanging until nearly dead, drawing (disembowelment) and quartering (dismemberment). A man strikes his fiancée across the face. She hits back. The whole plot revolves about a bunch of men plotting to blow a building filled with hundreds of people to kingdom come. Sex: Some verbal sparring, buttoned-up, costume-drama flirtation, and a single kiss between Thom and Emma. Our hero watches with contemptuous amusement as a young couple sneaks away from a party with obvious horniness. Language: One or two uses of “bloody.” Substance Abuse: Some of the plotters seem to be heavy boozers. In fairness, they could hardly drink the water in 1604 London… Nightmare Fuel: This universe suffers a magical blight called the Stone Plague, which literally petrifies its victims. Sometimes it spreads quickly through the host body, turning them into a statue in a matter of minutes. Other times it fastens to a particular part of the anatomy and destroys it long before it kills the victim. When we first meet Thomas, he has a stone eye and eyelid which he hides under an eye patch. (view spoiler)[He briefly becomes entirely stone, before the plague recedes but maintains its hold on both his eyes. A while later, he regains his sight in a highly symbolic manner (hide spoiler)] . Politics: We see the beginning of racism in England as it joins in the African slave trade. Many Londoners get spooked when they see a black person. King James holds a masquerade with a slavery theme, wherein white nobles paint themselves ebon—it’s not quite the same thing as the vile minstrel shows that appeared in the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but this is where it started. Thomas rightly feels uncomfortable watching. Religion: The whole thing is an allegory of the Protestant Reformation, veiled very thinly indeed. The White Light is clearly God, Who is portrayed with more affability and snark than grandeur. Kill the King, Brandes’ historical notes at the end of the book are extremely brief, and assume the reader already knows most of the true story. I myself knew little of this particular episode, so here’s some background info. Let’s start with a timeline of the Reformation: 1517 – Martin Luther, disgusted by the corruption of the Renaissance Vatican, writes the 95 Theses, starting Reformation fever throughout Europe. 1532 – Henry VIII, driven by paranoia over a lack of male heirs and an obsession with one of his wife’s ladies-in-waiting, declares the Pope has no authority in England. Catholic religious, and secular subjects who refuse to follow Henry as religious leader, are executed. 1553 – Mary I, Catholic daughter of Henry and Catherine of Aragon, inherits the throne from her Protestant half-brother Edward VI. Intending to eradicate Protestantism from England, Mary has nearly 300 Protestants burned at the stake as heretics. 1570 – Pope Pius V issues a papal bull declaring Elizabeth I, Protestant daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, illegitimate and absolving her subjects of having to follow her. Elizabeth doesn’t want to kill subjects just for having a different religious practice—it didn’t exactly make her father or sister popular—but she has no qualms about executing those she sees as disloyal, and as her reign goes on, these people become disproportionately Catholic (or Puritan, but that’s a story for another time). 1603 – James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England. English Catholics hope for an ally in James, since his mother Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was a staunch Catholic. But James is Protestant and continues his cousin Elizabeth’s legacy of persecution. Ostensibly, Catholics in England had the right to worship as they chose, provided they professed the British crown, and not the Papacy, was the most important power on Earth. But thousands of Catholics cherished the Church above the State and were called traitors for it. The punishment for treason, as mentioned earlier, was hanging, drawing, and quartering. This was the environment in which several desperate, unhinged Catholic Englishmen concluded that the only way to stop the persecution was to blast King James and Parliament to smithereens. The plot itself proceeded quite closely to how it was portrayed in the novel. The only major difference, besides the given one that the real plotters had no magical powers to help them, is the presence of young Thomas Fawkes. The International Genealogy Index (IGI), compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, records that Guy Fawkes married Maria Pulleyn, daughter of his schoolmaster, in 1590, and their son Thomas was born in 1591. But these records are considered a secondary source, and there’s no other known information about the marriage or Thomas. Covered in the Colors, Pulled Apart at the Seams I give Nadine Brandes all kinds of credit for coming up with this world. It’s colorful (I’m sorry), exciting, and a fine place to immerse yourself for a few days of reading. There’s just one problem. The magic system, while beguiling, doesn’t make any sense. Magic is a hard thing to write well. Too much explanation takes the wonder out of it, when wonder is the whole point of having magic in the first place. But at the same time, too little explanation of the magic in a given story can be maddening. Especially if it’s one of those books where Everyone is a Mage. Fawkes is one of those books. My favorite example of a magic system remains the one Garth Nix created for his Old Kingdom universe. It’s consistent and as lucid as magic ever could be without completely stripping it of mystery and glamour. He spends a few pages in the early chapters of Sabriel detailing the MC’s magical education and methods. By taking a little time to explain, instead of dropping the reader headfirst into a foreign world, Nix never needs to repeat it, and we can follow the rest of the story with ease. When Sabriel writes a rune in the air or rings any of her sacred bells, we know precisely what she’s doing, why she’s doing it, and what the likely result will be. Whereas when Emma Areben, Benedict Norwood, and the other characters of Fawkes did their color-speaking, I often had no idea what to picture. Below, the magic system of this book as far as I could understand it: In this universe, colors are semi-sentient entities. A given person can bond with a specific color (never really explained how) and the objects around them that are their color obey them. Someone who communes with Red can drain the blood from an enemy’s body, or alternatively coax the heart of a freshly-dead friend into beating again. A Blue-speaker can manipulate water. A Grey-speaker can lift rocks. A Brown-speaker, like Emma, can command wood and soil. It would appear that everyone but beggars has some color power in this society. Wearing a mask painted a given color solidifies a person’s bond with that color, which is why Thomas is so ashamed to be the only conspirator with no mask. But the function of the masks themselves is unclear. This is a good place to mention that THERE’S NO FUN IN A MASQUERADE BALL IF EVERYONE WEARS A MASK ALL THE TIME ANYWAY. The most powerful color is the White Light, which is the font of all other colors. Let the Spectrum In By the time this story begins, the color-control system has been in place for one-thousand six-hundred years. In the olden times, the White Light reached out to people directly, but the wise men taught that ordinary people were too weak to speak to it, the source of all power. So for centuries, only those sages could interact directly with the Light. Ordinary folk were discouraged from seeking it out and told to ignore it if it sought them instead. Each mage was allowed to only manipulate a single color… …until the mid-sixteenth century, when someone whom the book refers to only as “Luther” and some unnamed allies had a breakthrough. Why, everyone should be able to talk to the White Light! And use it to manipulate all the colors! These radical dudes became known as “Igniters”, opposed to the “Keepers” of the old ways. It’s like the Verities vs. the EƋians in My Lady Jane, only without the humor. Brandes actually does an excellent job showing the brutality of the Protestant English regime to its Catholic subjects. But while the book is sympathetic to the Catholic plight, it’s still based on a misunderstanding of what the Reformation was really about. What a lot of people don’t know about Martin Luther is that he really didn’t want to split from the Church in Rome. He had no problem with the Catholic practices modern Protestants tend to find unnerving—perhaps most startlingly, he maintained a lifelong devotion to the Virgin Mary. Luther never even left the Church of his own volition; he was excommunicated by the Pope. He felt compelled to speak against Church corruption, which by his time was rank. Luther was sent to Rome for a conference of his monastic order, where he witnessed priests mocking their faith and participating in debauchery. In 1516 – 17, Pope Leo X initiated a new program of indulgences—wherein people paid the Church to forgive their own sins or let the souls of their dearly departed out of Hell. The Vatican coffers were empty because Leo emptied them on hunting expeditions and depraved parties. The higher branches of Church bureaucracy were heavy with equally rotten fruit. From Luther’s famous anti-indulgence post on the cathedral doors, other thinkers piled on until they had a movement, and what had started as an uptight, fiery German monk trying to clean up the extant Church became innumerable men building churches of their own. Heads of state saw the opportunity to drive papal authority out of their lands. Henry VIII was about as spiritual as the average aardvark, he just wanted the power to grant himself divorces. Back to Fawkes . Keepers = Catholics. Igniters = Protestants. White Light = God. Talking to the White Light = prayer/reading the Bible. So Brandes is implying that the Catholic hierarchy did not even allow the faithful to pray to God directly. Wow. What?!? And then there’s that “They weren’t even allowed to read the Bible!” meme that Melanie Dickerson already beat to death five books ago. The average pauper or peasant during the medieval and Renaissance eras couldn’t read, period. Public schools didn’t exist; only the wealthy could afford tutors or college. But the Church, for all its other horrifying problems, really did want the people to know the foundational stories of their faith. So they covered churches in art depicting scenes from the Bible and the lives of the saints. The major episodes of the Life of Christ were also told through the specific artwork/meditation combination called the Stations of the Cross, and the lengthy meditative prayer, the Rosary. The lower classes may not have been able to quote the Scriptures word for word, but they knew what they believed, and they prayed frequently, multiple times a day. The idea that the entire Catholic Church conspired for centuries to keep the populace ignorant of the Bible’s contents is ludicrous. If you want to make the Reformation look like a good or at least necessary thing, all you need to do is tell the truth. The Vatican was a playground for power-hungry monsters, and they preyed on peoples’ fear of Hellfire to take their money. Someone needed to shine a light on these cockroaches, and Luther (who had some serious issues himself) wound up being the one who started it. As a Catholic, I’m grateful that someone did it, because I hate to imagine what my church would look like now with no reform. The reality is a much better story than the Don’t-Let-Them-Read-the-Bible conspiracy. Conclusions Fawkes merges history with fantasy elements, which don’t always make sense but are certainly entertaining. The book is a lot of fun for its own sake and would make a fantastic movie. That said, I found that it misconstrued what the fight between the Gunpowder Plotters and the King was really about. Just remember that it’s meant to entertain more than educate and I think you’ll enjoy it as I did.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jill Williamson

    I loved it. This is a brilliant book that fulfills every expectation. Brandes turns 17th century London into a magical place. I was captivated by the allegory of her magic system and how she blended that fantasy with history. I highly recommend this gripping and beautifully crafted book to all as it will leave you both entertained and pondering matters raised in the storyline long after you’ve finished reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Serethiel

    5 stars // f a w k e s OH. MY. WORRRRD. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. THIS WAS SO FREAKIN' AMAZING, YOU GUYSSS. <333 Thomas was so relatable; Emma was fantabulous. The worldbuilding was wonderfully immersive. The story was just SO masterfully written, so fantastically told... THE ALLEGORY. WAS. INCREDIBLE. I just. Aaaaaaaaaack. I NEED NADINE'S NEXT BOOOOK! 😍😍😍

  9. 4 out of 5

    JonathanT

    This book is a perfect example of why I ABSOLUTELY LOVE historical fantasy when it’s done well—it’s grounded in facts but leaves plenty of room to be wildly imaginative. And wildly imaginative is exactly what this book is! Even as someone who doesn’t typically read about magic, I’ve got to admit that a color-based magic system (with MASKS and a stone plague) is so creative and pretty cool. Throw that inventive magic into London and the Gunpowder Plot, and you get a fabulously vivid setting for a This book is a perfect example of why I ABSOLUTELY LOVE historical fantasy when it’s done well—it’s grounded in facts but leaves plenty of room to be wildly imaginative. And wildly imaginative is exactly what this book is! Even as someone who doesn’t typically read about magic, I’ve got to admit that a color-based magic system (with MASKS and a stone plague) is so creative and pretty cool. Throw that inventive magic into London and the Gunpowder Plot, and you get a fabulously vivid setting for a fabulously vivid story. And OF COURSE we’ve got some incredible characters to go with that. (This is Nadine’s book, after all.) Thomas was an awesome hero, and his relationship with his father was definitely a strong point in the book. Not to mention his relationship with Emma... dare I say that this is a romance I actually approve of? I loved watching each character add to the conflict, and I loved how the villain came with some great plot twists. Such a vivid book with such fantastic writing! Recommended for 14+. (Minus one star because the implications of the allegory ARE a bit problematic. It wasn’t a huge issue for me, since it was just implications that I basically ignored, but that could be an issue for some.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I love the gorgeous cover and liked the sound of this book but unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations. Based on the story of Guy Fawkes, Nadine Brandes retold the gunpowder plot in a magical version of England. Unfortunately I never got a clear idea of the system of magic or more importantly why two factions with different beliefs were constantly trying to kill each other (and the King). What I did understand was that a year before finishing school, students in special colour schools wo I love the gorgeous cover and liked the sound of this book but unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations. Based on the story of Guy Fawkes, Nadine Brandes retold the gunpowder plot in a magical version of England. Unfortunately I never got a clear idea of the system of magic or more importantly why two factions with different beliefs were constantly trying to kill each other (and the King). What I did understand was that a year before finishing school, students in special colour schools would be given a mask made by their father (for the boys) or mother (for the girls) and this would allow them to bond with a colour and then control anything made of that colour. People who could only control one control were called Keepers and thought themselves to be pure, people who could command more than one colour were called Igniters and thought they were superior and that Keepers should be caught and killed. I never really understood why and I think a bit more time setting up the magic system at the start of the book would have been interesting and made the reason for a war clearer and less confusing. I also found the book a bit slow with not a lot of suspense given the topic. Thomas, the son of Guy Fawkes and the main character was difficult to engage with and I also thought more could have been made of the father-son story. The reworking of the black death into a plague that turned people and animals to stone was a clever touch and added an interesting facet to the story. I also liked Thomas's love interest Emma and their unfolding relationship. With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Thomas Nelson for a copy to read

  11. 5 out of 5

    R.F. Gammon

    Okay, so first of all, a MASSIVE thank you to Netgalley for giving me an ARC of this book!!!!! Now let's talk review. Wow! I read the Out of Time series not long before blasting through Fawkes, and while they're both very different (and I think that in general I liked OoT a little better) they both have a distinctive Nadine feel to them. So that was really awesome. The premise of this book is the Gunpowder plot, a real event in England in the early 1600s where a group of plotters discontent with t Okay, so first of all, a MASSIVE thank you to Netgalley for giving me an ARC of this book!!!!! Now let's talk review. Wow! I read the Out of Time series not long before blasting through Fawkes, and while they're both very different (and I think that in general I liked OoT a little better) they both have a distinctive Nadine feel to them. So that was really awesome. The premise of this book is the Gunpowder plot, a real event in England in the early 1600s where a group of plotters discontent with the king (he was a Protestant; they were Catholic; the Protestant church at that time did shameful thing to Catholics.) Guy Fawkes was one of the leaders of that plot, and November 5th in England bears his name. If you don't know anything about the Gunpowder Plot, don't look it up before you read this book. I, I'm afraid, knew a little bit about it, so some of what happened didn't come as a surprise. But! It was still a great book!!!! LIKES -Guy Fawkes himself. Like just HOLY WOW. Talk about the complex dad character. You kind of have to read the thing to know exactly how awesome he is, and his character arc...man, this is my kind of character. -EMMA. I can't really say anything about her because SPOILERS HAHA HER EXISTENCE IS A SPOILER but still. I loved her so much. <33333 -The fact that the real plotters were the characters of this book! -While there's both Keepers (the side Thomas and his father are on) and Igniters (the side Emma and her family are on) within this story, both are portrayed as having major faults and not being totally in the right OR the wrong. Keepers are a persecuted minority, and Thomas and his father fight for them, but Brandes still shows that there are fundamental flaws with them that cannot be explained away simply because they're the minority. Igniters are in power and technically, supposedly, in the right, but their method of holding onto power and the way they torment anyone different is not once depicted as a good thing. Which I LOVED. Both sides were wrong, but neither side was TOTALLY wrong. This made it complicated. And I loved that. -Just the whole historical fantasy aspect. That was so cool. -The color masks/powers! I found that whole concept amazing. -THE VILLAIN. I will not tell you who it was or anything about them...but holy cow it was so so neat when VILLAIN is revealed and I just start shrieking. Heh heh...I totally didn't scream in the middle of the doctor's office or anything like that.... DISLIKES -So, Thomas himself really was whiny and selfish for a long time? He does have some character development, but since this is a standalone where there's already a TON happening he doesn't get a ton. I didn't HATE him...I just didn't love him, either. -The whole White Light thing just kind of weirded me out a bit. (view spoiler)[So, I know that the Keepers are supposed to stand in for Catholics and Igniters for Protestants, but because of that I kept thinking that eventually the White Light was going to be revealed as the Holy Spirit. Which was kind of happening, but I just wasn't feeling it...something about it was weird. Especially how sassy it was. I'm sure it's just that my expectations and the fantasy side of things collided, but it was weird, especially since Thomas and the others have to basically find salvation by coming to the White Light. (hide spoiler)] This is probably just a matter of taste, in all honesty, but it was still a little weird to me. -The book was a TEENSY bit slow in the middle. All in all, four stars, and I definitely recommend this one! Thanks again to Netgalley for providing a free copy! All opinions are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary Weber

    Fantastic.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roobie

    ⭐4 stars⭐ There has always been fear. There will always be fear. It's up to us to stand tall, even when the fear demands we bow to it. I reeeeeally enjoyed this! It was a tiny bit slow at times and I didn't really care for Thomas (he was kinda selfish and whiny) but I loved the rest of the characters and the story was awesome. The historical fantasy aspect was great and I loved the masks, the colour powers and the fact that Guy Fawkes and the plotters were actually in the book. Also, EMMA IS M ⭐4 stars⭐ There has always been fear. There will always be fear. It's up to us to stand tall, even when the fear demands we bow to it. I reeeeeally enjoyed this! It was a tiny bit slow at times and I didn't really care for Thomas (he was kinda selfish and whiny) but I loved the rest of the characters and the story was awesome. The historical fantasy aspect was great and I loved the masks, the colour powers and the fact that Guy Fawkes and the plotters were actually in the book. Also, EMMA IS MY QUEEN! I just loved this girl she was amazing! ★I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.★

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)

    About this 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 About this 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. 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.” Series: No. Spiritual Content- Mentions of prayers & praying; Mentions of cathedrals & churches; Mentions of a school named after a saint; Mentions of Christmas (though not the reason for the celebrating); A few mentions of blessings & being blessed; A couple mentions of God; A mention of a miracle; *Note: “Home sweet hell” is said once; Mentions of someone likening himself to a god & someone resembling God’s divine power on earth; A few mentions of people believing dark skin is of the devil & evil; A mention of someone sounding cursed. Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘curse *name*’, an ‘idiot’, two ‘stinking’s, two ‘what in Thames’ name’s, twelve forms of ‘blast it all’, and twenty-five forms of ‘blast’; A couple mentions of curses (said, not written); A bit of sarcasm & sass; Fighting, Injuries, Blood/Bleeding, Cutting one’s own self, & Pain (up to semi-detailed); Thomas is hit & put in jail; Thomas faces prejudice for having the plague; Seeing a handful of hangings, near hangings, those fixing to be hung, people being cut, blood/bleeding, & mockers (up to semi-detailed); Seeing a group of people drown (barely-above-not-detailed); Seeing fights, people shot and dying/die, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); All about mentions of a plan to assassinate the king and government & kidnap a child; Many mentions of exiles, being hunted, hangings, beheadings, awful death sentences, executions/murders, & treason; Mentions of past hangings, dead bodies, those set for execution, blood/bleeding, tarring, & torture (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a massacre & blood (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a death through stoning (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a fire, drownings, & deaths (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of duels & killing; Mentions of deaths from a plague; Mentions of being hit, slapped/slapping, nearly being stabbed, injuries, blood/bleeding, & pain (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of fights, fighting, & blood (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of prison, inmates/criminals, & the smell of blood; Mentions of thieves, stealing, & crimes; Mentions of wars; Mentions of slavery, slaves, & people being captured and sold; Mentions of hatred & threats; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of gossip & rumors; Mentions of prejudice & comments that Thomas faces; Mentions of alcohol, drinking, & drunks; Mentions of animals dying from the plague; Mentions of hunting animals & trips; A few mentions of animals & blood at a butcher’s (up to semi-detailed): A few mentions of whips & whipping animals; A few mentions of animal and human waste & stench; A couple mentions of poison; A couple mentions of blackmail; A couple mentions of gambling; A couple mentions of pipes & tobacco. Sexual Content- a semi-detailed kiss; A few touches & embraces (barely-above-not-detailed); Some noticing; Mentions of flirting, a blown kiss, & hand kisses; A couple mentions of a kiss & kissing; A mention of a young man forcing himself upon a girl & castration (did not happened); A mention of a carnal lover; A mention of a concubine; A bit of love, falling in love, & the emotions; *Note: A few mentions of a man having two wives & him abandoning the first; A few mentions of nakedness; A mention of women showing cleavage; A mention of a boot to a rear-end. -Thomas Fawkes, age 16-17 1st person P.O.V. of Thomas Set in 1604-1606 (Fantasy) 448 pages ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Pre Teens- One Star New Teens- One Star Early High School Teens- Two Stars (and a half) Older High School Teens- Three Stars (and a half) My personal Rating- Three Stars (and a half) {Not for those sensitive to hangings or magic.} If there’s one author I hear a lot about on the bookish Instagram community (especially the Christian fiction branch), it’s Nadine Brandes. While I’ve followed her account for a while now, this was my first time reading one of her books. Thoughts on “Fawkes”? Hang on a second, we’ll get there. In the first couple of chapters of starting this novel, I decided to look into the actual Gunpowder plot of 1605. After reading the Wikipedia page, my only thoughts were, “This isn’t going to end well.” I’ve said many times before that I’m truly not a fantasy fan and was honestly worried if I would be able to keep up with this mix of historical and fantasy plot. Not to mention the fact that this novel is four-hundred and forty-eight pages long. I’m proud to say that I was able to follow along well as nothing seemed too confusing; props to the author on that note. I do believe that I was able to understand the fantasy elements of this one more due to the author sharing behind the scenes and information about the masks on Instagram. The original Gunpowder plot was based on religions while this one was based on the masks and powers of those in the society. A reader who knows the actual history could read into and possibly put in them names of the actual groups that were fighting each other while reading this novel. That aside, “Fawkes” did not have any true Spiritual Content, which while I wasn’t shocked over the fact, I was a bit disappointed. It seems the true history does have the faith and Christian content in it, however. Overall, this novel was cleaner than I was expecting due to the plot to assassinate a king and government. There were still hangings, blood, and fighting, but nothing went over semi-detailed, which I really appreciated. Some families who follow this site might prefer not to read books with magic, so this would be one to stay away from. No witchcraft type magic, but there are those who abuse their powers. I personally found “Fawkes” to be a unique plot and I enjoyed parts of it (especially Emma). I hope to read the author’s next book releasing next May, but I do hope it’ll have more faith content than this one. :) Link to review: https://booksforchristiangirls.blogsp... *BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author. *I received this book for free from the Publisher (Thomas Nelson) for this honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    lisa elis

    Oh wow Nadine Brandes DELIVERS AGAIN and I'm an eternal fan 😂 This book is set in autumn/winter so HEY YOU ALL PERFECT TIME TO GO READ IT!! I started reading and the first third of the book was kinda slow?? So slow that I let off a third way through for TWO MONTHS basically. Until a great friend reminded me I SHOULD BE READING THIS so I quickly picked it up and SWOOOSH FINISHED IT THAT VERY DAY (I think??). So yep other than that slow beginning I DEFINITELY ADORE THIS BOOK. Thomas was a great main Oh wow Nadine Brandes DELIVERS AGAIN and I'm an eternal fan 😂 This book is set in autumn/winter so HEY YOU ALL PERFECT TIME TO GO READ IT!! I started reading and the first third of the book was kinda slow?? So slow that I let off a third way through for TWO MONTHS basically. Until a great friend reminded me I SHOULD BE READING THIS so I quickly picked it up and SWOOOSH FINISHED IT THAT VERY DAY (I think??). So yep other than that slow beginning I DEFINITELY ADORE THIS BOOK. Thomas was a great main character! (I'm very biased towards characters called Thomas *cough*). I've heard people complain he's a bit weak and whiny - so while I admit he doesn't have a huge amount of backbone or this steel strong determination which carries him through making him look heroic ... He's a kind of unsure/searching main character??? And I don't really mind?? I've seen more exciting characters for sure but Thomas fit his role, I think. So EMMA. Everyone LOVES Emma and at first I just wasn't feeling it. At first she just seemed like another attempt at a strong female character and I didn't care. BUT. SHE REALLY REALLY GREW ON ME and by the end I could say YES! EMMA REALLY IS AWESOME!! (And you know, there's a spoiler about Emma and no one talks about it but I happened to read the author's note at the back of the book FIRST and haha the secret was out and I was very unsurprised when the spoiler was revealed. WARNING: DO NOT READ THE BACK OF THIS BOOK FIRST. Also note: the surprise is still awesome. For the rest of you.) And the other characters!! ESPECIALLY ALL THE MEN WHO WERE PART OF THE PLOT. SO COOL. AND GUY FAWKES HIMSELF!!! He just might be my favorite character 😊 OK but here's some cool stuff -- The plot includes … . Identity mysteries . Rescue attempts . Sparring with swords . Color magic battles . A love triangle-ish conflict [note: Henry should have his own book, I really feel for him XD] . Undercover jobs . Schemes and spying and smuggling . Masks!! . Including a masked ball!! . PLOT TWIST WITH THE 'VILLAIN' (which was genius and I didn't see coming till about five seconds before it's revelation). AND I loved the story world so much especially . The mentions of the clothes!! . The fact that it's a real historical event retold!! . Also the dates (at the beginnings of various chapters/sections)!! The magic system - the best part. I mean come on - COLOR POWER. YOU CAN CONTROL STUFF OF A CERTAIN COLOR!! How creative is that?? And the plague = turning to stone. I have wanted to see 'petrification' in a book for a long time and this! Was! So! Brilliant!! And the White Light!! By far my favorite character! I know some people were weirded out but as I see it it's symbolic - it's a representation - it's a God-figure and NOT GOD. You know?? And I loved how sections of the book were divided into parts and labeled by color like WOW SO COOL AND CONNECTED TO THE STORY!! I found really educational the representation of the religious conflict in the day. So the Protestants and Catholics are supposed to be the Igniters and the Keepers and they believe different things about the White Light + the magic rules. Igniters supposedly feel the Keepers are keeping truth + power from people and that they are responsible for the plague while the Keepers believe that Igniters are power hungry and defy the rules of color power. And I was so ashamed of myself for not knowing that PROTESTANTS PERSECUTED CATHOLICS AT THIS TIME IN HISTORY. So this was so educational!! (view spoiler)[ And I know some people felt uncomfortable with Thomas's supposed 'conversion’ and … like I'm 100% okay with how Thomas came to a new understanding of the White Light and the world but ummm … he afterwards called himself an Igniter even though the White Light specifically said he wasn't on EITHER side. So I feel that whatever you label yourself as by denomination doesn't make you on the /right/ side. I mean there were JERK IGNITERS and ‘GOOD’ KEEPERS. I totally understand how Keepers might label you an Igniter heretic once you 'converted’ but in the end it's just a label. So that is the only thing I can say to people wondering about this denomination conflict in the book. The only 'problem' is that Thomas and others label him an Igniter, while a lot of us do think that labels don't really change things. (However, I don't really see how Thomas could really have avoided it *shrug*) (hide spoiler)] AND THE ENDING. If it weren't for the ending this would have been a four star book but THAT CLIMAX BATTLE. AND THAT CLIMAX WITH GUY FAWKES. It seriously made me almost cry and made me feel so so so happy in a way that only nonfiction books can that WOW I'M RIDICULOUSLY IMPRESSED and therefore am rating this 4.5 stars (the half star off just cos SLOW START). ALL OF YOU WHO LIKE MAGIC AND HISTORY AND CONFLICTED MAIN CHARACTERS pls read this it's such a precious book <333 ok then *lisa out*

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cesar

    2.75 stars. Historical fiction has always fascinated me in the sense that I am reading a story that takes place hundreds of years ago. I get to read about how people lived back then, important historical dates and figures, as well as learning something new. Add in elements of fantasy to them and it makes the reading all the more fun. You'd never expect to see magic in a story that takes place in 18th century USA or in 14th century Asia. Any time in history is fun to read about. Fawkes (Which is da 2.75 stars. Historical fiction has always fascinated me in the sense that I am reading a story that takes place hundreds of years ago. I get to read about how people lived back then, important historical dates and figures, as well as learning something new. Add in elements of fantasy to them and it makes the reading all the more fun. You'd never expect to see magic in a story that takes place in 18th century USA or in 14th century Asia. Any time in history is fun to read about. Fawkes (Which is dangerously close to the word fu-) is a perfect example of historical fiction with fantasy elements in it. But was it a fun book? Kind of? After some thinking, I've come to the conclusion that Fawkes, while not a bad book, was just not that good and didn't live up to the expectations I had. Fawkes is a historical fiction story based on the actual events of the assassination of King James using gunpowder. (Don't look it up if you don't want to get spoiled. Seriously.) Our main character Thomas is plagued with an illness that will slowly turn his body into stone. When he doesn't get his masl (something I'll get into later) he sets out to find his father and get his mask. He's then enlisted in the assassination plot to kill King James and rid England of the plague. But Thomas has doubts about it as he discovers secrets about the Igniters and Keepers while also developing feelings for Emma, a girl who may get killed in the assassination. Fawkes is an ambitious story that entices its readers with historical events and magic. However, I was let down by all the potential that seemed to be going everywhere and nowhere at the same time. As ambitious as it tried to be, it was shot down by flaws. It wasn't a bad experience, but that same experience wasn't exactly bright or fun. I'll start off with the positives and say that I liked the setting as well as the magic system. Historical fiction is a genre I want to read more of because I just love reading about different time periods and learning more about the history as well as the people and how society acted. History can be enticing and scary when you learn more about past events. What I liked about Fawkes was that the author did her research and presented a story with a unique twist on magic and it was so much fun. The magic system wasn't confusing or that complicated (to me, at least) and it was fun to learn more about using magic through masks and the power dynamics of who should and shouldn't use magic. The rundown of the magic is that people can call out to colors (blue, red, green, etc.) and when they connect to a certain color, they get abilities relating to that color. There's also something called White Color where it means you can control multiple colors at once and that is a big no-no. Then we have Emma, my favorite character out of all the others. She's smart, kickass, and doesn't let anyone hold her down. When Thomas is being a complete idiot, Emma's the one who takes his head out of his ass and rips him a new one. She's so amazing and wonderful. (view spoiler)[It is revealed in the middle of the book that she is African American and has been in disguise. She's straightforward about the mistreatment of Africans and struggles to live in a world that would ignore her because of her skin color. Thomas tries to help but Emma tells him that it isn't that simple, that he has no idea what she has to go through as an African and as a woman. Still, she has dreams and aspirations she wants to follow and she will not let anyone get in her way. She is an amazing character (hide spoiler)] Positives aside, I did have some issues. The first being Thomas. Thomas is a bland character that has nothing going for him other than wanting to get his damn mask, being whiny, and can't seem to think for himself. In this universe, masks are used to channel magic and parents make masks for their children once they learn how to control a certain color. Thomas doesn't get to pass his color test and is hellbent on getting his father to make him a mask and holy crap he was so freaking annoying. The first half he wouldn't shut up about his mask and whining to his father about it and it was just bad. There's nothing about him that stands out because aside from being part of the assassination plot and wanting his mask, he's just your boring plain joe. Had he been interesting or have a much better personality, I might've liked him. Then there's the issue of Thomas' involvement with the rebellion and magic. Thomas has been told that using multiple colors is bad and he's all for it, never questioning or doubting the people who have told him that. When he's exposed to people who can control multiple colors, he's so quick to judge them. Thomas is a character who doesn't have enough backbone to come up with his own thoughts and lets others do it for him. He is a weak character. We have Guy Fawkes, Thomas' dad and he is nothing but a deadbeat father. That's all he is throughout the story. This is the guy who completely abandons his son for a good chunk of his life and when Thomas does find him, he doesn't even try to get to know him. All he cares about is the assassination plot. Here's your Dad of the Year buddy, way to fucking go. 🏆 The pacing of the story is another issue that kind-of-sort-of resolves near the end but sometimes the story slowed and while I do love reading about the setting, I do want more focus on the plot and characters (despite how bland they were). Verdict Fawkes was a decent story. It did have ambition, but was muddled down with issues. Not a bad book, but nothing extraordinary. Thanks for reading my review! -Cesar

  17. 4 out of 5

    m a r y l i z

    WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED. I'm going to need time to recover, my friends. Just . . . my mind is blown. L I K E S: - The characters were kind of phenomenal. It's been a long time since I've read about characters who completely stole my heart. THEY WERE AMAZING. I expected to dislike Thomas, especially since (spoiler alert :P) he's really selfish at first. But personally? I thought he was extremely relatable and human, and he had one of the greatest character arcs I've witnessed in a while. Is he selfish WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED. I'm going to need time to recover, my friends. Just . . . my mind is blown. L I K E S: - The characters were kind of phenomenal. It's been a long time since I've read about characters who completely stole my heart. THEY WERE AMAZING. I expected to dislike Thomas, especially since (spoiler alert :P) he's really selfish at first. But personally? I thought he was extremely relatable and human, and he had one of the greatest character arcs I've witnessed in a while. Is he selfish and sometimes a little dense? Yes. He is. However, he grows so much over the course of this book and is a character that I can 100% root for. I wanted him to get his mask and restore his relationship with his father. I WANTED HIM TO SUCCEED. Then we have Emma. OH MY STARS, THIS GIRL. She was a firecracker with a heart of gold. I'm literally so inspired by her. She was strong but (thank goodness) not one of those "strong female characters" who think the definition of strength is having no emotions or femininity. I've got news for you, YA writers - you can be strong AND feminine AND compassionate. Emma is living proof of that. Her heart for others and passion to make the world a better place were so admirable. The world needs more people like Emma. <3 (I want to say more about this amazing gal but #SPOILERS. xD) And the plotters? OH BOY. They were all so complex! I can't get enough of Nadine's complex characters, you guys. Not one of them was flat. I especially loved jolly, red-bearded Keyes (wish I had seen more of him); the kind-hearted and logical Wintour; and of course, the ever-mysterious and guarded Guy Fawkes. His character arc and relationship with Thomas about DESTROYED ME. That's all I'm saying here. *cough* - The plot. Ummm, can you say BRILLIANT?? The synopsis itself was intriguing enough to convince me to read this. There were amaaaazing plot twists (WHICH ARE SPOILERY AGH), and the blend of historical + fantasy? WOWZA. I think I've found a new favorite genre. The Gunpowder Plot itself was just really fascinating! There were so many secrets and tons of suspense. It about killed me. xD - The setting. I. AM. FLOORED. The research that went into Fawkes is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It made this book come alive. I mean . . . 17th century London with magic?? SIGN ME UP. I fell in love with the setting (and determined that I would have lasted a whole of .5 seconds there, lol). It had such a shadowy and gritty aesthetic, never afraid to shy away from the unpleasant details (like the disease + terrible hygiene of that time period). And yet . . . it was bustling with life and energy. I kind of adored the setting. - THE MAGIC SYSTEM OMW. I was a bit wary coming in since my thoughts on magic are a bit on-the-fence. However, any expectations I had were blown COMPLETELY away! I've never read a book that had such a compelling and interesting magic system. NO JOKE, GUYS. Everything you've heard about it is true. The masks and the color powers were soooooo creative & ingenious. And personally, I didn't have any issues with the magic itself. (And I'm pretty conservative, haha.) I loved the limitations that the powers had and the fact that people "bonded" with specific colors. It was absolutely phenomenal. ALL THE APPLAUSE FOR NADINE. - The writing style. Wowowow. Teach me how to write like Nadine, please and thank you. Thomas had such a unique character voice, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I connected to him, especially since he's a guy. (Huzzah for YA fiction with male POVs!) - Literally just alllll the relationships and complex motivations. The father-son dynamic, conflicting & complex motivations, moral struggles . . . I AM SHOOK. This is the kind of quality storytelling that I signed up for! D I S L I K E S: - White Light. Hm, okay. So the whole White Light thing kind of bothered me. If I separated it from reality and just tried to view it as part of the magic system, I was okay with it. However, I think it's supposed to be a representation of God and I just . . . wasn't comfortable with the way God was presented. White Light was sassy and annoying and seemed to be toying with people quite a bit . . . which feels very irreverent to me. Yes, God has a sense of humor; but he doesn't give us conflicting advice or "mess with us." I felt pretty unsettled with this representation of God. It showed Him as being kind of like a mischievous imp who was purposely trying to "fool around" with all the control he had. Just my personal opinion! - (view spoiler)[I feel rather bothered by the fact that Thomas converted and supposedly THAT was the reason he was a better person in the end. I'm not even Catholic, guys, but I have Catholic friends. And I didn't appreciate the fact that, though the author hinted at the validity of both sides, she seemed to say that BECAUSE Thomas converted, he was better than he had been as a Keeper (aka Catholic). Now, maybe she wasn't saying that. This might just be my perception. Because honestly, Nadine is SUCH a sweet person and I believe she genuinely loves all her readers, whether Catholic or Protestant or whatever. I just personally was a little unsettled by the way Thomas's conversion was handled and shown. (hide spoiler)] So did I like this book? DEFINITELY. It was for once a book actually worth the hype. But did I fall in love with it the way I hoped? Sadly . . . not quite. My issues with it were large enough that I can't give it a higher rating. However, I can definitely foresee reading this in the future! As you can see, there were a lot of things I loved about it. ;) 4 stars

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Fawkes is a Historical Fantasy retelling of the Gunpowder Plot, from the perspective of Thomas--Guy Fawkes' teenage son. It follows his struggles and journey as he becomes part of this plot to kill the king and rid England of the terrible Stone Plague. The very plague that Thomas himself is slowly dying from.   I'm an avid reader of anything Nadine Brandes writes, and I had high expectations coming to this book. Fawkes stood up to each expectation and absolutely hooked me in from the very beginnin Fawkes is a Historical Fantasy retelling of the Gunpowder Plot, from the perspective of Thomas--Guy Fawkes' teenage son. It follows his struggles and journey as he becomes part of this plot to kill the king and rid England of the terrible Stone Plague. The very plague that Thomas himself is slowly dying from.   I'm an avid reader of anything Nadine Brandes writes, and I had high expectations coming to this book. Fawkes stood up to each expectation and absolutely hooked me in from the very beginning. This is very different than the Out of Time series (also by Nadine Brandes), but I liked it just as much. It's difficult to compare the books since they're so different---so don't come to Fawkes thinking it's going to be like A Time to Die. It's completely different, and a totally new style, but I still absolutely enjoyed it.   Each of the characters were stunningly crafted. They had their own personality and motivations. All the characters were very realistic and each added an important element to the story and the theme. Thomas's struggles were so real and his voice drew me into the story. Obviously, he started off as a very flawed character, but that just leads to even stronger and deeper character development through the book. I was engaged in his story right from the beginning. Emma was an amazing character. Her determination and spirit was so beautiful. She wasn't defenseless at all, but she was also still feminine at the same time and that was wonderful to see in the world of modern YA fiction that says female characters cannot possibly be physically weak. Her journey was amazing to follow and I just really loved her inner strength and courageousness.   The plot followed the gunpowder assassination plan, but it revolved a lot more around Thomas's personal development than the external conflict---though the external was certainly there as well. Internal growth and struggles always pull me in deeper to the story and I was really feeling everything that Thomas was going through. I read the almost the entire second half of this book in one sitting because it was just so. absolutely. crazy. The tension rose with every chapter and kept me hooked to each page. Not only was there a heap of external struggles, there was so much internal dilemmas on Thomas's part and it drew my heart into the story so deeply.   I could really feel Nadine's heart in this novel, and that made every part of this book hugely impactful. I actually cried twice while reading this, and certainly giggled several other times. Everything about it just drew me in so I could experience the story so closely and so personally.   Content: There was some slightly more gruesome scenes, but I wouldn't say it was any worse than A Time to Die (for example), and it was described enough, but not too much. Probably a 13+ read.   There are so many other things I liked about this book. The depth and complexity of Guy Fawkes's character. The stunning magic system. The allegory echo between the magic and religion. The themes, oh my word. But if I tried to talk about everything this review would be way too massive.   I definitely recommend this breathtaking book! Don't come to it expecting a normal historical fiction, or a normal fantasy book. It's absolutely unique and most certainly worth the time it takes to read. If you think the cover looks amazing, just wait until you see what's inside.   NOTE: I received a free e-ARC of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Atlas

    Safety is an illusion, Thomas Fawkes * * * 3 / 5 I loved the premise of Fawkes: historical British fiction with a fantasy element. Thomas Fawkes is the (invented?) son of Guy Fawkes but added into this classic story of gunpowder and treason and plot is a really innovative magic system. But on the downside, this was a very long and slow read for the length. Hadn’t I always dreamed of being her knight? Saving the day? Only I’d saved nothing. She’d been her own knight and I’d stood by like a gaping spe Safety is an illusion, Thomas Fawkes * * * 3 / 5 I loved the premise of Fawkes: historical British fiction with a fantasy element. Thomas Fawkes is the (invented?) son of Guy Fawkes but added into this classic story of gunpowder and treason and plot is a really innovative magic system. But on the downside, this was a very long and slow read for the length. Hadn’t I always dreamed of being her knight? Saving the day? Only I’d saved nothing. She’d been her own knight and I’d stood by like a gaping spectator Like any good English child, what I really know about Guy Fawkes is that which we tell around our yearly bonfire and sing-a-long. Obviously I knew how it was going to end, but I wasn’t all that clear on the details. I’m reasonably sure that a lot of the characters were lifted from history, which was cool – I’m not a massive historical fiction reader, so I really dug recognising all the little nods to history. Who isn’t from history (I don’t think)? Thomas Fawkes, a guy with complex father issues, a girl he’s loved from afar for years but who is essentially engaged, and who is stuck in the middle of a conflict tearing the country apart. So we’ve covered the historical element, but what about the fantasy one? Parents carve their children a mask and when they become of age, the child wears the mask and bonds with a colour power. What does this mean? I’m still not exactly certain, but Keepers only bond with one colour – so if someone bonds with red then they can control things that are red – whilst Igniters have varying degrees of control over all the colours. Keepers think this is the cause of the Stone Plague – the Great Plague that instead of killing people slowly turns them to stone. Did murder ever free anyone? This plot was a revolution built on corpses. It wasn’t how things were supposed to be Fawkes was definitely imaginative, no doubt about it. I loved the mix of real history with magic. But there are so many people in this book, so much going on between Thomas, the romance, the Gunpowder plot, trying to understand the magic and the cause of the conflict. I wanted to savour the complexities, but Fawkes ended up being more confusing and head-scratching than engaging. This made it quite put-down-able and took me a while to finish. I would definitely recommend Fawkes to the YA and fantasy readers wanting to tentatively dip their toes into the waters of historical fiction. But the book was a bit weak in terms of pacing. My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this book. Read this review and more on my blog: atlasrisingbooks.wordpress.com/2018/0...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hayden

    Originally, Fawkes was not a book I thought I would be interested in reading. Though historical fantasy sounds good to me in theory, it's always been hard for me to get past the meddling in history that the genre requires. However, in more recent years (and strangely enough, the more I learn about history) the less concerned I've been with this. Case in point: My Lady Jane. A few misgivings aside, I thought it was a hilarious and impossibly charming historical fantasy. Fawkes, therefore, suddenly Originally, Fawkes was not a book I thought I would be interested in reading. Though historical fantasy sounds good to me in theory, it's always been hard for me to get past the meddling in history that the genre requires. However, in more recent years (and strangely enough, the more I learn about history) the less concerned I've been with this. Case in point: My Lady Jane. A few misgivings aside, I thought it was a hilarious and impossibly charming historical fantasy. Fawkes, therefore, suddenly looked a lot more appealing, even if I couldn't help a little bit of wariness as I started it. But truth to be told, I really enjoyed it. I liked how the magical elements were handled, and how they worked within the historical context Although, full disclosure...my Protestant self was satisfied by the outcome; Catholics might not be as pleased (?) The book started out a little slow for me, but it really picked up at the end and sucked me in. Anyway, I wasn't sure what to expect with Fawkes, but I'm glad I risked trying it. I also noticed that Nadine Brandes's next book is Romanov...and while I wasn't planning on reading that one before, I definitely am now. (What can I say? It's a fantasy retelling of Anastasia's story. I hope Ms. Brandes keeps this up- I'm curious what other fantastical historical events we might get from her!) I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Another DNF... The story's not strong here. The idea of wielding magic with colours controlled by a face mask is not really an interesting one to me strangely enough. It seems limiting but at the same time not... the rules aren't defined and everything is rather vague. And the Guy Fawkes aspect is just... I mean it's just a different story and I don't think the colour magic added anything to it at all.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    Just got approved for this on NetGalley!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Galaxy Adventurer

    Imagine a world where a mask gives you the ability to communicate with colors and move items of that color. Now imagine that in 17th century London with a cruel king and two different groups wanting the other gone. Now add a plot for the Keepers to take over the government by assassinating the Igniter king. Finally add a dash of mystery and romance. Put that all together and you have Fawkes! This truly was a very interesting story. The world is so much fun(where can I buy a color mask? Cause I need Imagine a world where a mask gives you the ability to communicate with colors and move items of that color. Now imagine that in 17th century London with a cruel king and two different groups wanting the other gone. Now add a plot for the Keepers to take over the government by assassinating the Igniter king. Finally add a dash of mystery and romance. Put that all together and you have Fawkes! This truly was a very interesting story. The world is so much fun(where can I buy a color mask? Cause I need one). Also the descriptions of the places in this book just *heart eyes* (Also, gonna need a way to get to a masquerade ball, cause that would be fabulous <3 ) It also makes you wonder who the real bad guys are. Is it the keepers or igniters? Or is there really a bad group, or just some bad people? It did get a little slow towards the middle of the book, but it picked up quickly in the latter half. Most of the plot twists didn't surprise me, but one that did was the cause of the stone plague. Speaking of the stone plague, I'M GLAD THAT'S NOT REAL CAUSE IT SOUNDS AWFUL. TURNING TO STONE? Now time to talk about some of the characters :) Our main character Thomas was fabulous. While he could be a bit repetitive at times, his growth through this story was amazing. He carved his own path and found who he was, not who others told him to be. Emma had to be my favorite though. She was so strong and was ready to fight for what is right. She is so amazing. Guy Fawkes, aka Thomas's dad, I'm still not sure how I feel about him. Overall his character was good, and I did like him at the end, but some things he did during the story were not ok. The White Light, is it good? Is it bad? You will have to read and decide for yourself ;) Some of the side characters felt a little flat, but they were still fun. This was such a beautiful and fun story to read, and the ending left me happy ~keep reading & keep exploring galaxies~ (I received an eARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Iryna semi-hiatus (Book and Sword)

    2/5 stars Sadly this is a DNF for me. It boggles my mind how a book that supposedly has everything I love in books ended up being the book that I didn't love. Historical fiction? - check! Beautiful cover? - check! Magic woven into history? - check! YA book that doesn't have any unnecessary and annoying sex scenes? - check! The execution of all of those things together? - ehhh... I honestly don't know what, or even how that happened? The premise seemed so promising. The cover obviously caught my cove 2/5 stars Sadly this is a DNF for me. It boggles my mind how a book that supposedly has everything I love in books ended up being the book that I didn't love. Historical fiction? - check! Beautiful cover? - check! Magic woven into history? - check! YA book that doesn't have any unnecessary and annoying sex scenes? - check! The execution of all of those things together? - ehhh... I honestly don't know what, or even how that happened? The premise seemed so promising. The cover obviously caught my cover-whore loving eye. But from the very first pages I was very uninterested, and to be honest, pretty bored. For starters the story drops us into the historical setting of Guy Fawkes' son and into the era in which Guy Fawkes was famous for something. Who is Guy Fawkes? What did he actually do? I have absolutely no idea - my point is that if the reader is not already familiar with history of that era - will be just as lost as I was. And probably uninterested, because if guy Fawkes had any significance, I didn't know it, thus I really didn't care for his character. Hi son, Thomas, and our main character was the most bland, whiny and illogical character ever. Emma is honestly the only character that had any potential. The plot wasn't holding my attention at all, but the biggest mess of this book was "the magic system". ​Is I tried to explain "the magic" - I couldn't. Because it wasn't explained in the book. The ideas, the premises were so good, so much potential! But in the end it was just too much, or too little? Too undefined, too underdeveloped - just messy. My disappointment in this book is quite sad - when I got approved for my request for it I literally squealed with glee because I was so excited for it. But, alas. Big thanks to NetGalley and THOMAS- Nelson Fiction for my e-ARC for a review. All of the opinions are mine, honest and come from the heart. *Read in 2018 My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Chapelway

    This book. This book was so good. It has me at a loss for words. This isn't my usual genre. I don't tend to really like to read fictional historical novels having to do with actual people from history, but I've been branching out lately. And the books that I have read have all been excellent and have actually deepened my understanding of history even despite the details that are muddled. I think maybe my favorite part of this book was actually the description. It wasn't over the top making me have This book. This book was so good. It has me at a loss for words. This isn't my usual genre. I don't tend to really like to read fictional historical novels having to do with actual people from history, but I've been branching out lately. And the books that I have read have all been excellent and have actually deepened my understanding of history even despite the details that are muddled. I think maybe my favorite part of this book was actually the description. It wasn't over the top making me have to sludge through endless details, but the way Brandes described the setting. It was like I was in London with Thomas. Or half blind as Thomas was. Thomas, himself, was a fun main character and while I didn't agree with everything that he did, I was rooting for him the entire time. Emma was a strong heroine and I liked her a lot. White light was the best, I really wish that it had more screen time. Guy Fawkes himself was an extremely complicated character and I wasn't sure what to think of him throughout the entire book. My opinion swayed like a pendulum. But by the end he won me over so thoroughly that he became one of my favorite characters in this book. This is the first book I've read by Nadine Brandes but I have her whole Out of Time series on my bookshelf, and I look forward to reading them, now more than ever. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, all opinions, however, are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Oh. My. Word. THIS BOOK. IT IS MY PRECIOUSSSSS. I’ve been eagerly anticipating Fawkes ever since I read Nadine’s Out of Time series and fell in love with Parvin, Solomon, and all the rest of the gang (yes, even Skelley). And, man, it did not disappoint. So, Fawkes is set in 1600’s England, which is one of my favorite time eras (well, I tend to lump the 1400’s to 1600’s together, but anyway) and I love how Nadine kept stuff really historically accurate (as explained in the Author’s Note at the end) b Oh. My. Word. THIS BOOK. IT IS MY PRECIOUSSSSS. I’ve been eagerly anticipating Fawkes ever since I read Nadine’s Out of Time series and fell in love with Parvin, Solomon, and all the rest of the gang (yes, even Skelley). And, man, it did not disappoint. So, Fawkes is set in 1600’s England, which is one of my favorite time eras (well, I tend to lump the 1400’s to 1600’s together, but anyway) and I love how Nadine kept stuff really historically accurate (as explained in the Author’s Note at the end) because with the fantasy element, she could’ve thrown accuracy to the wind and done whatever. But she didn’t and I LOVED that. (If it seems like I’m talking about Nadine very familiarly, it’s ’cause I’m one of her ninjas and I feel like we’re almost friends.) And speaking of the fantasy…I normally don’t like the genre, but it was so, so cool! The masks, the colour powers, the White Light, etc.; I dug it all. My favorite part of Fawkes is indubitably the characters. I’ve read some reviews where people said that Thomas wasn’t the greatest protagonist, but I liked him throughout the whole book. He wasn’t perfect (and who wants to read about characters who are perfect?) but he went through this whole awesome journey where he asked questions and discovered the Truth for himself and learned from his mistakes and wrestled with the decisions he made and it was so real and human and relatable. Loooove. Then there’s mah girl, Emma. She’s a super awesome fighter with plenty of skillz, while also being gracious and kind and warm and loving – basically, she’s not your typical tough, soulless Action Girl™ and I thought that was great. Plus, THAT PLOT TWIST WHEN SHE TOOK OFF HER MASK??? How did I not see that coming?! (I love it when books surprise me.) Guy Fawkes rounds out the trio of main/main-ish characters and while I wasn’t sure how much I liked him throughout most of Fawkes, he completely redeemed himself in my eyes by the end. Many, many tears were shed. His relationship with Thomas was flawed and awkward at times and often frustrating, but it also worked on so many levels. And The Bad Guy was chilling, kind of epic, and totally creepy. Everything a good villain should be. While the faith message wasn’t as strong in Fawkes as it was in the Out of Time series, I still loved and ‘got’ the allegory and all the themes Nadine wove into the story. Awesome. I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of historical fiction (with a dash of romance), fantasy fiction, allegorical fiction…or simply anyone who loves a good story! I was given a free copy of Fawkes from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    E.F.B.

    I have followed Nadine Brandes on social media for over a year but hadn’t read any of her books because the dystopian ones didn’t appeal to me even if so many of my friends had raved over them. (Dystopia just isn’t my thing.) So, when this historical fantasy called “Fawkes” came out, I got curious. For one thing, I don’t remember reading a historical fantasy before, and for another, it just plain sounded interesting. Still, I waited until some reviews came out before making any decisions because I have followed Nadine Brandes on social media for over a year but hadn’t read any of her books because the dystopian ones didn’t appeal to me even if so many of my friends had raved over them. (Dystopia just isn’t my thing.) So, when this historical fantasy called “Fawkes” came out, I got curious. For one thing, I don’t remember reading a historical fantasy before, and for another, it just plain sounded interesting. Still, I waited until some reviews came out before making any decisions because I am a sensitive reader and with the story revolving around a murder plot and a violent time in England’s history in general, I wanted to be sure the descriptions of violence didn’t go beyond what I’m comfortable with. When the review I needed was finally posted, I took the chance and jumped in. I’m glad I did. :) Fawkes was different from anything I’ve read before. So different, that had the writing not been strong enough, it might not have grabbed me the way it did. But Nadine is a master of her craft, creating compelling characters and an interesting world with a unique and complex magic system that I ultimately really enjoyed. (Note: the “magic” here…being able to manipulate objects of a certain color…is a completely natural ability to those who have the ability.) I also feel the author did an excellent job of capturing how complicated that time in history was. Neither side of the conflict was fully in the right, and that is something I feel the need to address more fully. At least one review I read felt that Catholics (in the book they were called Keepers) might not be happy if they read this book because the reviewer thought the Protestants (Igniters in the book) were being favored/being shown as the side that was “right”, but I disagree with that and feel it is missing the ultimate point that the story made. BOTH sides were doing things they shouldn’t have been doing: The Igniters were being prejudiced against and executing Keepers for their beliefs. The Keepers were ALSO being prejudiced and some were plotting to kill (and actually killing) Igniters and plotting to kidnap people. If you ask me, neither side was the “good guy” and the whole point of the story was that being part of a certain denomination doesn’t make you a true believer. The White Light itself said that not everyone who claims to be united with it truly knows it the way they should. That includes people who call themselves Igniters. Ultimately, I feel it was individual characters who were the “good guys” in the end, because they made right choices both morally, and in the way they responded to the White Light: not by trying to control it or use it to control all colors (which, as best as I could tell, it seemed some of those who called themselves Igniters were trying to do), but by allowing *it* to work through *them*. Was the thwarting of the gunpowder plot seen by the Igniters (as a group) as a win for the Igniters? Well, yeah. It was members of the Igniters who were going to get blown up, and members of the Keepers who were trying to light the fuse to cause the explosion, so it makes sense that the Igniters would see the plot being thwarted as a win for their side. Thing is, Thomas and (view spoiler)[ Emma (hide spoiler)] didn’t take the actions they took on the behalf of the Igniters, or for that matter, because Igniters specifically were the ones going to be killed. They took the actions they took in the name of morality and following the White Light’s guidance so that HUMAN BEINGS would not be killed just because of their beliefs. They also didn’t celebrate the executions of the Keepers in the plot (in fact, they were very sad about the executions), because, again, Keeper or Igniter, a life is a life. Additionally, the “White Light” was an element of the story I personally liked, but I also understand why it confused some reviewers so they weren’t quite sure what, exactly, it was intended to be. Some saw it as allegorical, and some didn’t even think there was specifically a Christian spiritual element in the story at all aside from how the fantasy elements were twists on the religious conflict. White Light *could* be seen as being Holy Spirit-like, but I felt that it isn’t a straight one-to-one allegory like Narnia where Aslan equaled as close of a personification of Jesus that C. S. Lewis could manage. The better word than “allegory” in this case, in my opinion, is that White was “reminiscent” of the Holy Spirit, while also being its own thing within the context of the world. That way, whether an individual reader decides they see White as being like the Holy Spirit or just sees it as yet another fantasy element in a fantasy retelling of a historical event, the story still works. I personally am okay with the author allowing the reader this choice. For one thing, God, and thus the Holy Spirit, is so complex, it is impossible for us limited humans to fully capture everything He is in any allegorical character no matter how hard we try, so it wasn’t like I was expecting perfection in that area. My main concern about any allegorical representation of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit is that it be respectful and not feature that representation doing anything that outright goes against who God is. I personally felt that the White Light, while it could sometimes quite sassy, didn’t ever cross any lines that bothered me on that level. Like, even though White was sassy, it was never mean or uncaring/unloving even then. The sass was just light-hearted humor, and I do actually believe God has a sense of humor even if it isn’t expressed verbally the way the White Light expresses it. Just look at the platypus. :P Now that I’ve gotten past the heavier stuff, I think I’ll fangirl just a teensy bit over the characters because Nadine is SO GOOD at writing them! They and their relationships were so complex, and I loved how both the characters and the relationships evolved during the story. Talk about complicated parent-child relationships…Guy and Thomas Fawkes were a fascinating duo when they interacted, and they were interesting as individuals, too, even if I did like Thomas more than Guy. Emma, however, was my favorite character. I loved how she could be both soft and strong, and that that strength came from more than just physical strength (though she was capable of defending herself when needed, the ability to fight was NOT the focal point of who she was as a person.) It was her moral strength and ability to show love even to those with whom she disagreed that stood out to me. She was a stark contrast to the society around her who resorted to violence and hatefulness to try to solve its problems, and she stuck to her morals no matter what, using discernment and the guidance of the White Light to decide right from wrong, rather than going with what society said was right and wrong. There’s another thing I loved about this story: The emphasis on discernment. It’s not something I see a lot in books these days where so many are all about “follow your heart” and going along with what society says it right. One of the best quotes in the book: “How many of us acted and spoke out and fought for beliefs that we held because our environment told us to? As much as I wanted to blame my England, I knew the blame sat with me. I hadn't trained myself to discern. To examine. To seek the source.” We. Must. Be. Discerning. Just because society, or our favorite celebrity, or politician, or even our own parents say something is right or true, doesn’t mean it is. We must step out on our own, investigate, and separate truth from lies. All of that said, there is only one thing I can think of to complain about. There was a moment where I figured out something before Thomas did…I can’t say exactly what due to spoilers…but it was something I feel like he should have realized around the same time I did and kind of wanted to yell at him for taking so long. Now, I haven’t seen anyone else complain about this, and I am that person who can sometimes watch a murder mystery, get 5 minutes in and shout “HE DID IT” and be right when the villain is finally revealed, so I’m wondering if I’m the only one who figured it out before he did, or not. It wasn’t so big an issue that it took away from my enjoyment of the story, though, so I don’t think I’ll let it change my rating. All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Like, REALLY enjoyed it, and am looking forward to Nadine’s next historical fantasy, “Romanov.” I recommend Fawkes to those who don't mind somewhat frequent violence that doesn't quite get graphic, but is sometimes a little intense. Content advisory: The author herself recommends this book for ages 14 and up and I agree with that, mainly due to the violence. No profanity was used. Sexual: There is some mild romantic attraction between teenagers that eventually culminates in a kiss, but this kiss is brief and only barely described. Spiritual: As stated in my review, whether you see White Light as a representation of the Holy Spirit or simply another fantasy element may depend on the reader. Violence: The violence is frequent enough that I am going to link to a fellow reviewer who did a better job keeping track of and detailing how graphic or non graphic it was than I could while listening this story on audio: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Magic: The magic system in this book is based on color. Those with the natural ability to do so can talk to and control certain colors and any object that is that color. I may be wrong, but it seemed like literally everybody had the ability to use color power if they chose to do so. What an individual chose to do with their ability is what made them good or bad. The most morally problematic thing anyone did with their color power was that someone who was powerful with the red power actually used it to literally explode the blood out of some enemies (this is not the main character who did this and the act is not shown/described, only mentioned after the fact). (view spoiler)[ One character also uses color power to do something that slowly kills people and animals, and plans to use it as a weapon of war. (hide spoiler)]

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kara Swanson

    This riveting tale is filled with the gunpowder plot, color magic and stone plagues, a young man just trying to be accepted by his father—and a young woman hiding far more than her face behind a mask. Fawkes is a delightful, unique and memorable read that whisks you away to shadowy streets of London and a harrowing adventure bathed in mist and mystery. I absolutely adored this one and would highly recommend!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hailey Rose

    FAWKESSSSSS!!!!!! I waited so long for this beautiful book to show up on my porch and OH MY WORD the cover did not disappoint. It's SO BEAUTIFUL!!!! *all the heart eyes* What I loved about this book: First, the magic system. It took me to get awhile to understand what was going on but once I figured it out I loved it. Second, the characters!!! ALL the characters had a noticeable motivation, were incredibly well developed, and I really cared about them. Third, Emma and Thomas. Enough said. *squea FAWKESSSSSS!!!!!! I waited so long for this beautiful book to show up on my porch and OH MY WORD the cover did not disappoint. It's SO BEAUTIFUL!!!! *all the heart eyes* What I loved about this book: First, the magic system. It took me to get awhile to understand what was going on but once I figured it out I loved it. Second, the characters!!! ALL the characters had a noticeable motivation, were incredibly well developed, and I really cared about them. Third, Emma and Thomas. Enough said. *squeals* What I didn't like so much: I had a super difficult time understanding what was the "good" side and the "bad" side. After finishing the book, I'm pretty sure that it was purposefully left that way. Even so, it was a little frustrating and confusing at first, but not enough to make me hate the book. I definitely recommend this book, and it will look AMAZING on your shelf!! :D

  30. 4 out of 5

    Schuyler

    Last Friday I couldn't sleep. So I curled up on the couch for an hour with Minky blanket and Fawkes--and the next morning, after some sleep, I curled up and binge-read the rest of it. :) There's always a little nervous feeling when you get a new book from an author you like. Will you love it as much as the others? The Out of Time series was such a loveable series with vivid characters, so I really wanted to know how Fawkes would feel. It had a delicious cover: check. But what about the story ins Last Friday I couldn't sleep. So I curled up on the couch for an hour with Minky blanket and Fawkes--and the next morning, after some sleep, I curled up and binge-read the rest of it. :) There's always a little nervous feeling when you get a new book from an author you like. Will you love it as much as the others? The Out of Time series was such a loveable series with vivid characters, so I really wanted to know how Fawkes would feel. It had a delicious cover: check. But what about the story inside? At first, I struggled to connect with Thomas, Guy Fawkes, and the plot to blow up Parliament. Because the story spans two years, I think the beginning struggles tension-wise because time has to pass before you can really set the time bomb ticking. But the plot starts to pick up in places in the Black section, and really picks up by the masquerade ball. Thomas and Emma in that scene are the cutest. ever. I ship them. :) As I kept reading, the theme knocked my socks off. The wisdom and maturity of truth in this book is such a beautiful contribution to bookshelves everywhere. I loved its implications for this generation. It's a historical book that manages to answer important questions and issues of today's millennial generation. We're living in an age where everyone has a label, similar to the color systems. We're also living in an age where hatred for the opposing side is just as rampant as the Keeper/Igniter war. But as Thomas finds himself further and further entangled in a war that will lead to the death of innocents, the book's conclusion offers a wonderful truth that I won't spoil, just because it's even more fun to discover it for yourself. I was surprised by how deeply the theme tied into the hearts of the people who would be reading it, and delighted by how powerful it was. Fawkes, unlike the Out of Time series, is written for the general market, which means it's not explicitly Christian. But it's implicitly Christian in a powerful way that slices through the grey areas of our modern line of thought, which tries to validate experience over unchanging truth you can hold on to. Fawkes faces off between truth and personal belief in an engaging way that reaches the hearts of its intended audience. It's perfect for the YA age group. It dramatizes personal responsibility and relationship with God that can't rely on parents or even on yourself. And it encourages you to evaluate and re-think your own perspective. I appreciated it because even though I am a Christian, I'm still affected by the current cultural air. This book reminded me that ultimately how I feel or how someone I love feels really needs to take a back seat in my heart to what God feels about something.

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