1. Fawkes: A Novel
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    Nadine Brandes
    Thomas Nelson / 2018 / Hardcover
    Our Price$12.99 Retail Price$16.99 Save 24% ($4.00)
    4.5 out of 5 stars for Fawkes: A Novel. View reviews of this product. 22 Reviews
    Availability: Expected to ship on or about 12/22/21.
    Stock No: WW217146
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  1. Jessica T.
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
    April 5, 2019
    Jessica T.
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The fantastical twist that Ms. Brandes puts on The Gunpowder Plot by telling it through the eyes of Thomas, the son of Guy Fawkes, and adding a splash of color powder is awesome. I can feel the scenery, like I'm living in early 1600s England with Thomas. And I'm passionately seeking the truth with Thomas as he meets his father, takes on being a member of the plot, and falls in love with Emma. It's a truly wonderful tale! I had a hard time putting it down and focusing on what I was supposed to be doing. I can hardly wait to read more of her works.
  2. ADFehl
    Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Explanation of magic system a little messy
    February 26, 2019
    Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Nadine Brandes' novel Fawkes puts a fantasy spin on the true story of The Gunpowder Plot, involving an assassination attempt on King James I of England in 1605. Our protagonist is Thomas, the teenage son of Guy Fawkes. The real Guy Fawkes served as explosives specialist during the plot, Thomas is an invention of Brandes' imagination, as is the story of the Stone Plague (obviously, lol).

    In 17th century London, a plague has been taking over the city. It works much like any other plague you've read of, as far as the speed in which it spreads, but in this instance victims literally turn to stone, little by little, until the infection reaches the airway, forcing them to suffocate and die. Thomas Fawkes is one of the infected. So far he has lost sight in one of his eyes due to the plague, but in his case it is moving slowly so he has a small window of time to seek a cure.

    Thomas hasn't seen his father in thirteen years, but now Guy is expected to make an appearance at Thomas' school to present his son with his color mask, a right of passage of utmost importance in this world. But on the night of the event, Thomas is given word that his father wrote a note refusing to attend. Additionally, Thomas is informed that he is now being expelled from the school; his only chance at saving his social standing relies on finding his father and getting that mask! If he doesn't find his father, he will be considered an orphan and cast out into lower society to fend for himself. So begins a journey across London to track down the whereabouts of legendary soldier Guy Fawkes.

    After some time of little food and nights exposed to the elements of chilly London nights, Thomas ends up bumping into his father purely by chance. Their initial meeting after so many years is nearly cut ridiculously short when Guy mistakes Thomas for a pitiful street urchin he wants to run a sword through! But Thomas quickly screams out an introduction and the family reunion we're all here for follows shortly after. Within the hour, Thomas is being brought into the fold of the Gunpowder Plot team. After hearing the details of the plan, the poor kid has a tough choice to make: if he agrees to help Guy in the assassination plot, he potentially finds a cure to the plague that is slowly killing him but he could also likely ruin the bond between himself and the woman he's beginning to fall for. If he declines, the plague will likely kill him and his father will almost certainly face capture and execution.

    From a historical fiction aspect, this is not a bad YA novel. The key details are there, the general world building of 17th century London is well-done. I could easily imagine the characters as they traverse city streets, have whispered discussions in pubs or parlors, the descriptions of the masks themselves was vivid, the character bonds and conversations engaging for the most part. Where this novel fell apart a bit was on the magical end. Those elements could've been a little stronger or just better explained. But because that IS such a integral part of the story, it did cause the rest of the plot to be problematic for me. It's hard to root for characters if you, the reader, are not entirely sure what their motivations are, why these things are important, what makes them worth fighting for.

    It's not that there's no explanation at all, it's just that man, Brandes makes you WORK for it. This novel is 400+ pages long and it's the chore of the reader to slog through a lot of slow bits to get little nuggets of information regarding this magic system. I finished the book and I'm still not entirely sure I fully grasp what Brandes was going for... and it's not that it's so complex a world, it's that her explanations were messy.

    But here's the gist of how I think the magic system is supposed to work:

    >> At a certain age, and perhaps someone in a certain social standing, it is expected for a parent to publicly present a color mask to their child. It has to be a biological parent presenting the mask or the magic won't work. This mask, I believe, determines social rankings and natural abilities. Once the mask is presented, it seems to be up to personal choice whether the recipient wears it full time or not, most seem to prefer to keep theirs on as it somehow makes the magic within the mask stronger with prolonged wearing. (It's still a little unclear to me WHO qualifies for a mask --- at the beginning it seemed like it was an upper society thing, since servants are described as maskless, but later in the story we're introduced to a lady selling flowers on the street who has one).

    The color system, as far as I can decipher:

    * White -- ultimate power, controls all other color abilities

    * Brown -- earth / soil

    * Yellow -- fire

    * Black -- night world (abilities in stealth)

    * Green -- herbology / flora (natural healers)

    * Blue -- water related

    * Grey -- metal or stone?

    * Red -- not 100% sure but I think combat skills, maybe?

    Any other colors don't really get much of a mention.

    >> Then there's the division between the Keepers and the Igniters. Keepers are given the ability to manage one color, while Igniters can simultaneously handle two or more. But Keepers guard the secrets of the White Light, the most powerful of all colors. Igniters (many royals in this story are Igniters) want that power.

    Both sides believe the other is responsible for the Stone Plague. Keepers believe blame lies on the Igniters for trying to steal the secrets of the White Light and "breaking the laws of color speech", but Igniters say the plague was brought about because Keepers are hiding the secrets... well, that's what you do with secrets, soooo... LOL

    Regardless, Keepers are being executed on a monthly basis, Igniters believing that each death of a Keeper will cure one person of the plague. It becomes so frequent that surviving Keepers begin to see their best chance at survival being in executing the king and getting a Keeper on the throne.

    Thomas does agree to help in The Gunpowder Plot, partly out of a tugging sense of loyalty to his father despite their frayed relationship, partly because it might be his one last chance at survival. Not long after agreeing though, he begins to have second thoughts about being an accomplice to murder. Thomas finds he can hear the voice of the White Light in his mind, a voice he is told to ignore if he wishes to remain true to his Keeper heart. The voice is (IMO) not anything all that mystical like one might expect for a fantasy novel, but more that of an annoying middle grader. Still, this voice does serve a purpose in that when Thomas does listen to it, it does bring him closer to his love, Emma. But even there there is a struggle. While Thomas identifies as a Keeper, Emma is often secret about her Igniter heart. They have their arguments, but over time they start to see they want similar things, they're just coming at it from different angles.

    Magic mess aside, there are some solid action sequences in this story, would've been nice if there was a little more of that. There's also some good analogy work in the confrontations between Keepers and Igniters, when you apply it to modern day struggles between warring factions -- political, religious, or otherwise.

    FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
  3. Beck
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 5, 2019
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Absolutely stunning! Spectacular! A wonderful mix of magic, danger, and history! I literally became addicted to this book!!!

    Fans of history and fantasy rejoice! I very highly recommend this epic book!!! The fast-paced captivating, and ever twisting plot kept me entirely on the edge of my seat from cover to cover! I very highly recommend this book (as well as anything Nadine Brandes writes, as she's an amazing writer!).
  4. Jennybug52
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    September 30, 2018
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    4 stars- The name Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot were slightly familiar to me but I really knew next to nothing about either of them. I really enjoyed the author's "history" lesson at the end of the story to give us a better idea of what was fiction and fact. Sometimes life truly is stranger than fiction.

    This was a very creative story that was definitely not on the light side. It is full of deep themes and sinister plots. There, frankly, is a lot of death in this book, between the stone plague and the many hangings. The concept of color magic was a very creative way to give a spin to the true story of the conflict between Protestants and Catholics.

    This story will definitely bring up many topics of discussion with your teenager. It is a thought provoking tale that would be great to read in a book club or with a friend. I could see a lot of growth in Thomas, the main character. The story was told from his point of view so it was interesting to read how he processed the events and people around him. Emma was an amazing character and a great role model for young girls. I really liked her. Their discussions were very relevant for today's teenagers that are seeking Truth and guidance in this world.

    Admittedly, the one thing that irked me the most in this story was the use of the word "hung". This is silly really, but I was always taught that a person is hanged and a picture is hung. There are numerous hangings in this book and it bugged me every time the author used "hung" instead of "hanged". Maybe I was taught wrong? Ok, end of rant.

    This story was a magical, creative, safe way for the author to broach some pretty weighty topics with teens and I think she did a great job. I look forward to reading more by Nadine Brandes. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.

  5. Cynthia
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great YA Novel
    September 29, 2018
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild, I was not required to give a favorable review. This was a wonderful historical ya novel. I love how it was written to give such graphic visualization of the time that it was written. This is the first book I have read from Nadine and look for to reading other books from her. I plan on sharing this with my 15 old niece I think she will enjoy it as much as I did.
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