Author: Nadine Brandes
Genre: Historical Fiction – Fantasy
Age Classification: Young Adult
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release: July 10, 2018
In 17th century England, Thomas Fawkes is coming of age to receive his colour mask but he is also turning to stone. The stone plague has claimed many lives and continues to spread. The Igniters believe the Keepers caused the plague while the Keepers believe the opposite, but Guy Fawkes, Thomas’ father, is part of a plot that believes the key to ending the plague is to assassinate the King of England and he wants Thomas to help them.
Thomas is a complex young man seeking his father’s approval and a cure for the stone plague, though his goals and beliefs change many times until he finds his own truth. He has to battle prejudice and illness everywhere he goes and, once he learns of the plot, he must battle his own doubts and the mysterious White Light that keeps reaching out to him. Regardless of his circumstances, Thomas is kind and has an admirable amount of strength, in more ways than one.
Guy Fawkes is strong in many ways too, with his will matching his physical strength. His name is legend and he seems to be regarded as one of the most important men in the plot. However, he could do with some improvement in the area of being a father.
Emma Areben is an admirable character. A young woman hidden behind her mask and ward to a Baron, but she knows Thomas’ secret and does not seem to mind his ignorance of the way the world works. There is much more to Emma than meets the eye and there was definitely some personal growth that improved her, but she was by far my favourite character.
I will admit it took me a few chapters before I began to enjoy it, but once the story reached London it flowed and the story became quite interesting. The Stone Plague, the colour power, the masks, the plot, the diversity, the self-discovery, the personal growth and a desire for the truth – all of these elements made every chapter intriguing and enjoyable. I like that the story and many of the characters are based on history as it is told in history books but with a fictional and somewhat magical twist.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
I cannot think of anything that would have increased my enjoyment of Fawkes. I loved this book and look forward to reading more by Nadine Brandes in the future.
Fawkes is out now and I highly recommend you all get yourself a copy and read it!
I thought it would be interesting to also answer the discussion questions at the end of the book.
1. Thomas felt incomplete because of his plague. Have you ever had an injury or an illness that made you feel that way?
Not incomplete, just different, but I am okay and rather proud of that difference.
2. Thomas was caught between two sides—the Keepers who wanted to be free of oppression, and the Igniters who wanted to be freed to use colour speech as they pleased. In the end, Thomas realized he had to find the truth for himself. What ways can you search for truth or seek the source of matters relevant to you today?
The truth is not always what you wish to hear and sometimes it can be rather painful, but it can also be quite freeing. I cannot stand lies and half-truths nor the people who speak them, but sometimes the greatest lies are the ones you tell yourself and that is when it is most important to seek for the truth.
3. When Thomas started figuring out his own stance on the war, he felt like he had to stay in the plot so as not to let everyone down. Do you ever find yourself being swayed by pressure from others?
I have often let the expectations of others cloud my judgement, but I have managed to surround myself with great people who remind me I need to follow my passions and not care what anything else thinks.
4. Some people—like Catesby—are very passionate about their cause. They are easy to follow and cheer for. What are some pros and cons of a persuasive personality?
It is one thing to agree with what those like Catesby say, but I believe each individual needs to find their own way to that opinion before following and supporting such a cause.
5. Emma treated Thomas as a regular man—acknowledging his difference and accepting him as he was. Her treatment of him taught him to respond the same way to her when she revealed herself to him. Is there someone in your life who is different or has a difference? How can you show you love them as they are?
We all have our ‘imperfections’ or elements that make us different from society’s idea of ‘normal’, but it is those differences that make us individuals and if someone cannot love you for them, they do not deserve you. I think the best way to show you love them is to accept their difference and not treat them any differently for it.
6. Have you ever felt like you needed to hide your true self? Why?
Yes, see answer one.
7. Sometimes we fear things we can’t control—like White Light. What do you think is a healthy approach to these fears?
It is impossible to control most things in life and if we feared it all we would spend our lives in fear. That is not healthy nor is it truly living. You can only do your best to deal with what happens in life as it happens and hope for the best.
Feel free to answer any of the above questions in the comment section. I am interested to know what others would say.
Until next time bibliophiles!
A digital copy of this book was supplied to me by Thomas Nelson via NetGalley