Fawkes

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

You know ... I wish I could have loved this book. The cover is gorgeous, the magical premise is intriguing, and the historical period could certainly do with more love in publishing. That said, I couldn't connect with this book, and part of that comes down to personal taste and where my brain is at, but I think I've read enough other reviews at this point to see the trends.

CHARACTERIZATION - The two "sides" to the historical/magical conflict in this book are the Igniters and the Keepers. Both "sides" are made up of ... not very nice people. And while I've read several YA fantasy and dystopic books where this turns out to be the case, authors tend to ease readers through that grim grittiness by giving them a character or two to root for or at the very least to empathize with. And the characters here are too self-involved, narcissistic, immature, and otherwise cold in ways that kept me at arms length. So neither do I like the world nor the characters who inhabit it.

OBSCURE MAGIC - I still don't understand color powers? Which is sad. Because I'm sure they're great. They seem lovely. But also ill-defined and confusing. I don't need *everything* explained to me at the outset, but a lot of the rules here seem arbitrary. Again, I've seen some other authors with obscure magics find a way to navigate this with their readers, usually by having a character new to the world or the magic system stand in as an audience proxy, so it *can* be done. It's just ... not done here. Which, fair enough, maybe I'm just not smart enough to puzzle it all together? Which ... yeah. That could definitely be the case.

Those are the two big ones. I will happily read more of Brandes' works in future, but this one didn't really grab me. Maybe I'll be in a better headspace to enjoy future works, though.
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Unfortunately I had to DNF this book. The writing was not on par for the hype surrounding the story and I felt like I was just following the story of an petulant child. 2 stars for me.
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Ooh, how I wanted to love this book. Working with high schoolers as a school librarian, I was sure that this would be a hit. After trying to get into it, though, I struggled. I found the characters to be a bit cliche and the plot to be somewhat predictable. I suppose this would be a perfect read for a certain type of kid, but when purchasing books, I look for ones to recommend to multiple students. I apologize for not being able to give this a glowing review. Thank you for allowing me to review this book.
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Fawkes tells the tale of Thomas Fawkes who is suffering from a stone plague and the only way that he can free himself from the plague is to join the plot to assassinate the King of England. In Brandes' novel, there are those that wield color powers that aid them as magic would. The color wielders are in two groups: The Igniters and the Keepers, both of them believing the other group brought on the plague. Thomas has to determine which side he is on because the decision he makes can risk the life of one he loves. 

Brandes combines history and her own idea of how things might have turned out or what may have happened if there was magic involved. While the book was captivating and interesting I can't say it was my favorite. I did enjoy the book but it was unfortunately not one that I would rush out to purchase. 

The characters were well written and the twist of fantasy through history was a nice twist. However, it took me some time to get into this book and I kept coming back to it to finish it. I did finish it and it was a nice read but just not a favorite of mine. Still for the fact it's a unique theme for the book I can appreciate for that.
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Thomas Fawkes is slowly turning to stone and the only cure for the stone plague appears to be participating in a dangerous plot. People wear masks infused with color power. They are divided into the Igniters and the Keepers, with each group blaming the other for the plague. All Thomas wants is to receive his color mask from his father, but he hasn’t seen his father for 13 years.

He leaves school and travels to London to find and ask his father for his color mask. But his father – Guy Fawkes — wants something in return. His Keeper father involves him in the Gunpowder Plot to assassinate the Igniter King, which will in turn supposedly stop the plague from consuming Thomas. How can Thomas refuse? But at what cost? it pits him against the girl he loves. Will the Gunpowder Plot succeed?

Brandes does an excellent job of combining fantasy and historical fiction elements. Told through Thomas’ point of view, Fawkes makes one think of the struggles between Catholics and Protestants in England, with their opposing views and allegiances. Although the novel started slowly, Thomas became more fascinating as the story unfolded, drawing in the reader as Thomas faced his dilemma: save his girl or stop the plague?

Brandes concludes her novel with a what’s true/what’s not section, as well as discussion questions. Kudos to Ms. Brandes for breaking out of the dystopian genre into historical fantasy.
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Guy Fawkes: Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot
This is a strange book, and I say that in a distinctly positive manner. It is a book that is impossible to pigeon hole: is it historical fiction or a fantasy adaptation? Is it a romance or a coming of age tale? Is it a warning against rebellion or a clarion call to arms? Fawkes, by Nadine Brandes, is actually all of these things, and much more! It is a book that has found its way on to my extra credit reading list for the coming school year, and also a book that I would recommend to my adult friends.

Image result for tower of london gifAlthough I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I didn’t give it a full five stars for two (very small, and perhaps petty) reasons. First, the main character, Thomas Fawkes (the infamous Guy’s son) is thick-headed and annoying for about 85% of the story, until he finally gets a reality check in the form of death and carnage. Second, at times the story got a little weighed down with detail, particularly in the form of Thomas’ grousing about the unfairness of life. However, Nadine Brandes does an excellent job of illustrating what the sights and smells of historic London were probably like. She deftly weaves in the idea of nature-based magic, and a society revolving around that magic, into that backdrop, making the whole far-fetched tale seem entirely plausible. So, even with these two flaws in mind, I would still urge people who enjoy historical fiction and fantasy to read this book!

Image result for Guy Fawkes Night gifThe thing that drew me into this book the most was the creative take on an old story. We all have learned about the bubonic plague in school, but in this telling of history, the plague has magical origins, and is turning people into stone. Similarly, most of us learned at least the basics of Guy Fawkes and the plot to blow up Parliament and the King, but in this adaptation the reason is not religious based bickering over the throne, but bickering over what way to wield magic is best. Yet the thing about magic, at least in this book, is that it behaves an awful lot like a deity, and those who use it think that their way is the most respectful way to do it. As the story unfolds, Thomas is forced to question the long-lasting feud of his society, and the necessity of taking a side. Through his evolving relationship with a girl who practices magic differently from his family, Thomas finds himself wondering if either side is wholly right, and if it wouldn’t be better for them to try to arrive at a mutual understanding.

See the source imageSo, although Thomas did annoy me for long parts of the book, his eventual awakening was refreshing, and poignant. The story’s conclusion will leave readers pondering how societies can become so heavily divided that they fail to be able to compromise, or even to see those who are different, as fellow citizens of humanity. At what point, for example, do men and governments decide to start killing or oppressing those who are different? At what point is rebellion both good and necessary…and can treason ever be a force for positive change? Guy Fawkes and his historical co-conspirators do meet their factual demise, but the end of the story avoids being too sad or grim, offering up a promising road into the future for those who are willing to follow their hearts.
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I was unable to review this story within the allotted time due to time constraints. Upon reading I chose to give it a rating of 4 stars. Fantasy isn't my normal genre of preference but this one was a huge win for me
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I'm a sucker for historical novels and this one was a lot of fun. Engaging story, a good amount of history tied in with some fantasy, and interesting characters. Definitely a fun young adult pick.
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*thank you to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

2 stars.

Ohh I am almost in tears with this. It's one that I would call a 'popular ya novel' you know the ones. The really hyped up ones that everyone is reading so you see it everywhere etc. Well... yeah. The cover grabbed my attention. It's looks amazing. The storyline is different from what I usually read but I still had high hopes. I was finally reading something that was hyped up. But.....Unfortunately I just couldn't get into it. Parts of it were good and that came down to being because the author does know how to write as it really isn't written badly at all. I just don't think it's my type. Now that I have a better idea of the kind of book this is, I'll keep it in mind and give it another go, maybe, at some stage and if so, I'll update this review. But for now, this is it, and it's a pass from me. But I would recommend that you try it for yourself.
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A poetic and engaging read. A fabulous blend of fantasy and historical fiction. Would definitely recommend to a friend.
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A bit slow in parts, and I couldn't connect with the main character, Thomas, very well. However, the world-building is PHENOMENAL with the way the author combines history and fantasy. And Emma's storyline was intriguing! I would have loved a POV from her.
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I loved this story and strongly recommend it to any readers looking to get glued to the pages!!! Was so into the characters as I got to know them.
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I got this book ages ago — I think it's almost been a year — from Netgalley. I am so genuinely sorry I didn't get this read and reviewed in time. But honestly, I started it so many times and just could not get into it. I saw the audiobook available on Libby this week, and figured I would use it to try to get over whatever hump was bothering me.

Unfortunately, it didn't help. For whatever reason, I could not relate to Thomas. And the magic system in the book was a bit jarring. I have read the summary several times, and I'm not sure how I missed that it was a fantasy, AU historical novel. Nevertheless, I pushed through. 

But seriously, I am apparently really getting persnickety about my magic systems. Why the mask? How does a mask hone in the magic? I get kind of why a parent must carve the mask, but it seriously has to be the parent that is the same sex? In a time that life expectancy was so low? What was magic like all over Europe, if it is available? Is this just part of England?

While I do like the comparison of types of magic to the religious conflicts of the time, the story is just so overshadowed by Thomas's whining and indecision. Instead of acting or doing anything, he spends most of the book just reacting. The father/son relationship issues could have been done so much better too. Guy Fawkes is portrayed as so aloof that it is detrimental to the story. 

Interestingly, I love Emma. She both fits into the time period well while also trying so hard to find her own path. And it isn't a path that makes her seem 21st century feminist — she feels real to the time period. (At some point I'll write my review about The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein which was a frustrating book about a woman who also acts  more within her time period than most YA heroines do.) 

Overall, this book just lacked a foothold for me to find my way in. It overall was still written well, and I liked the idea behind the book, and seriously THAT COVER, but I'm definitely in the minority in just not caring for this book too much.
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I normally don’t get into these kinds of books, but this was an exception for me. It had intrigue and mystery and I never knew what was going to happen. I do hope there are more books to come by this author!
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Fawkes is a great example of a well done alternate history novel. 
It has everything I could want: I learned something new about a part of history I wasn't familiar with, it twisted this history to include a really interesting magic system, it has some very well developed characters and finally this book is fulled with action and intrigue. 

There were some slower parts, but I really enjoyed the book nonetheless. It actually surprised me a bit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book but I certainly did not expect to get this attached to the main character and to get this invested in the plot. 

I would certainly recommend this novel and I'm curious to see what Nadine Brandes comes out with next.
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This is just the type of historical fantasy I love. What a great take on the entire Guy Fawkes affair! I recommend this one if you like fantasy or are a history nerd. I'm looking forward to what the author has in store for us next!
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This was a good fantasy/dystopian book with many great characters. I did enjoy this book however it wasn’t one of my favorites. The plot didn’t pull in wanting more like I expected it to throughout the entire plot but the ending definitely reached a much higher climax than the rest of the story.
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Reviewing for NetGalley 

This book was a DNF for  me. I tried, but I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I chose the apply for this based on the cover which is truely amazing. I couldn’t call the book that.
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such a fun book! cant wait to read more from this author! the world was really fun and it was a great fantasy with so many fun elements! the pace was a bit weird for me at bits but overrall a super fun read
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So so so good!!  This was such a pleasant surprise.  I'm now a huge fan of Nadine's! Thank you for sending me this eARC.
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