Reviewed by Heather C
Author: Nadine Brandes
Genre: Y/A Historical Romance
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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.
Fawkes is a unique and magical retelling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 where a small group of rebels attempt to assassinate the king of England with buried barrels of gunpowder. The book tells of the plot from Thomas Fawkes’s POV…the fictional son of Guy Fawkes, although it is possible Thomas actually existed.
The magical additions to the plot are a little difficult to follow at first. Thomas has pretty much been abandoned by his father at a school to learn color magic. Color magic can only be used and summoned with the possession of a handmade mask created by a person’s father. Guy has refused to create a mask for Thomas so Thomas decides to chase him down in London and demand his mask. Once in London, Thomas gets sucked into a plot with Guy and his buddies to murder King James. This all stems from a complicated history of beliefs and animosity between the Igniters and the Keepers…hard to fully explain but it involves a stone plague and the use of color magic and who is doing the right or wrong things with their magic. Yes, it’s all convoluted and a little hard to follow. Oh, I forgot to mention that Thomas has been inflicted by the plague and believes the only way to cure himself is by obtaining his mask and using color magic on himself. Will that even work?
From what I can tell, the author does a very creative job at recreating true, historical events into a complex, fictional story. My issue with this plot is that I wasn’t very interested in the plot. Plus, I wasn’t a fan of Thomas going along with a plot of murder. Not to mention that the story overall was mostly depressing!
I did enjoy the romance between Thomas and Emma…even though Emma’s secret was blatantly obvious from the beginning. Emma was a badass female and the story possibly could have been more intriguing if told from alternating Thomas and Emma’s POV.
With all that being said, kudos to Brandes for pulling off a good retelling of an overall depressing story. It does have a happy ending…kinda.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*