Before we start another week of bookish adventures, I'm thrilled to be a part of Fawkes's blog tour hosted by the Fantastic Flying Book Club. Fawkes has to be one of the top YA books of 2018 so if you haven't had a chance to read it yet, there is an INTERNATIONAL blog tour giveaway for a copy of the book. You can enter in the giveaway in the link down below!
As always, my review and thoughts of the book are my own!
Be sure to check out all the blog tour stops by clicking the banner.
About the Book
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fanasy, Historical Fiction
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.
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About the Author
Nadine Brandes once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time series and her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband plan to live in a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.
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"Remember, remember, the fifth of November.."
This epic poem based on the Gunpowder Plot has resonated throughout the centuries. It is a powerful reminder of individuals who strove towards equality in an unjust time and how an idea could ignite a revolution. With this poem, Gunpowder Plot was immortalized and has a source of inspiration for several film and book adaptations. With Fawkes, author Nadine Brandes takes up Guy Fawkes's torch of revolution and commandeers her own imaginative retelling of events leading up to the infamous fifth of November.
Fawkes easily fits into the category of historical fiction through a story that is infused with magical elements. Brandes's London is saturated with magic users who utilize masks to bond with colors which command certain elements. For instance, Brown "obeys warmth and smooth authority" (pg. 5) while "Blue speech is like poetry - rhythmic and flowing" (pg. 5). Although this version of London is in the realm of the fantastic, it's quite a believable world with vivid description of the great city by Guy Fawkes's son, Thomas Fawkes.
Thomas faces many adversities and trails throughout the book from being inflicted by the plague and his father's refusal to provide him with a mask....and familial understanding. Yet, rather than surrendering to circumstances, Thomas continues to find ways to overcome his challenges and meet his fate in ways he does not necessarily expect.
Brandes's avid details of Thomas's emotions and surrounding environment through first person narrative make Fawkes a very immersive literary experience. The author does well to develop not only Thomas but also provide active roles for secondary characters like Emma. I particularly liked Emma, Thomas's fellow classmate and a promising color user, who plays a strong role in defining England's fate. Emma's character is the primary female role in the book that really champions the idea that a person is more than the station they are born into. Without giving away too many details, Emma was brought up in an upperclass household that holds certain expectations of her. However, rather than conformming to what is expected, Emma actively seeks out ways to pursue her calling despite the controversy and backlash she may face.
I feel that Emma really elevated the story because of everything her character represents. Thomas has a strong personality but he hesitates when it comes to believing in himself and proving his self-worth to his father and society. To that end, Emma is a driving factor that helps Thomas accept the truth about Igniters and Keepers and Thomas's ultimate role in the rise...or fall...of England.
There are about a hundred more things I could say about Fawkes, but I want to expand on one more thought: the masks. The masks represent a great deal of power, status, and, more importantly, serve as a metaphor of the self. Masks for Thomas represent acknowledgement from his father while to Emma, masks hide secrets that both liberate and confine her. While the representation of masks differ for Emma and Thomas, they share the common factor of focusing on the external. A great concept in the Brandes's story is about seeing there is