Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes {Book Review}

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"I am the son of Guy Fawkes. The blood in my veins is the blood of color warriors."


Colors possess language and power.

Keepers are loyal to one color. Igniters want to control all colors.

White Light is the source of all colors and the only one who speaks to humans.

Few understand it.

Keepers ignore it. Igniters abuse it.

War reigns and evil spreads which leads to . . .

a plague to kill the people 

and a plot to kill the king.


THOMAS FAWKES needs to pass his color test in order to get his mask. Without it, he can't bond with a color. Without color power, he's helpless against the plague that threatens to turn his entire body to stone. When his estranged father doesn't show up at St. Peter's Color School with the promised mask, Thomas must search the streets of London in order to find him.

GUY FAWKES is a devoted Keeper. He believes the plague is a curse linked to Igniters, including the Igniter King James. He and a select few make a pact to free England of the plague and Keeper persecution once and for all. When his son Thomas shows up, Guy Fawkes promises to reward him with a mask in return for his vow to resist the voice of White Light and his devotion to the plot that will rid England of its king.

Thomas wants more than anything to receive his mask in order to save himself and England from the plague. He wants to be true to the Keeper way, but doubts surface. Is murder worth a mask? Should he respond to White Light's voice? Could both Keepers and Igniters have it all wrong about White Light? 

Thomas's quest for truth begins to trump his desire for all else, but he seems to lose no matter what he decides. Exposing the plot will put his father and fellow plotters at risk of being tortured and killed. Keeping the plot a secret will bring harm to the girl he loves. Should he try and stop the chaos or enter it and find a way to bring restoration?



My Thoughts

I believe this was my first time to ever read a historical fantasy. I've read plenty of fantasy and love it, so I thought I'd give Fawkes a try. I was a little hesitant after reading a couple of 2-star reviews, but I'm glad I went for it! The beautiful cover sealed the deal. And the story's not too bad, either. :)

I admit I had to do a little research about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 before I dove into the book. It's certainly not necessary to know the history behind the story in order to fully enjoy it, though.

Fawkes is based on the real person, Guy Fawkes, and the other members of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. A few of the characters, including Thomas, and of course the magic of color power are made up. I think weaving in fantastical components in the midst of a historical backdrop sets the stage for literary elements to fly! Symbolism and maybe even a little allegory pack the pages of this exciting tale.

I loved analyzing literature in school, and it's still a favorite thing of mine as I homeschool my kids. Fawkes would make a great book for reading during a study of 17th century England. Even though there's violence, it's a very clean read. The small amount of romance is built on friendship and discovering truth.

Discussion questions are included at the end of the book, but I think one could delve even further by analyzing all of the symbolism. A list of what's true and what's stretched and imagined is also included at the end, but it could be a great assignment for your child to find out on his/her own. Racism is even touched upon and could be a possible topic of discussion.

It's a slightly slow build until the ultimate climax, but I wasn't ever bored. The mask/color power subplot and the mysterious alchemist character add plenty of interest. Plus, the novel is written in first person which helps speed things along. I'm not sure how I feel about some of the banter between White Light and Thomas, but overall I liked the concept of color power and the role of White Light. I thought the incorporation of masks and attaching them to human color bonding was creative.

If you like historical fiction, you might like this book as long as you're okay with a little magic thrown in. If you like fantasy, particularly titles like The Staff and the Sword Trilogy by Patrick W. Carr and The Blood of Kings Trilogy by Jull Williamson, you might want to give Fawkes a try.


Book Rating: 4 stars
I review for BookLook Bloggers


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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