book review: ‘fawkes’ by nadine brandes

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Thomas Fawkes, son of the famous (and soon to be infamous) Guy Fawkes, is turning to stone and there is nothing he can do to stop it. He might be able to control the Stone Plague if his father gave him a colour mask – which allows the wearer to control a specific colour or colours – but Guy Fawkes refuses to do so. Thomas journeys to London to find his father and persuade him to make the mask. But while Thomas finds his father, he also finds much more: a plot against King James I and all of Parliament. Will Thomas join the plotters or will he fight to find something more?


Oh. My. Word.



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.



6 thoughts on “book review: ‘fawkes’ by nadine brandes

  1. Pingback: five reasons why I’m super excited for Nadine Brandes’s newest book, ROMANOV – coffee, classics, & craziness

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  3. Pingback: top ten tuesday: the best (new to me) book I’ve read (so far this year) | coffee, classics, & craziness

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