C.G. Drews's Reviews > Fawkes

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
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really liked it
bookshelves: magical-fantasy, read-2018, ya-male-narrators, young-adult, historical-fiction

I'm always here for a good bit o' dark magic and assassination plots, so I was really excited to read Fawkes! I also know like NOTHING about the original Guy Fawkes, so this reimagining of London with Guy Fawkes' son as the narrator, and add in a bit of a devastating stone plague and a magic system based on colours?! Well it was great. Also I learned a lot! I mean, apart from the magic. 95% sure the Brits didn't have magic...or did they and hello hOGWARTS' ORIGIN STORY. Mwahahah...

okay um yeah, I'll stop.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent
To blow up the King adn the Parliment;
Threescore barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and a burning match.


+ It's narrated by 16 year old Thomas Fawkes, who is a hopeless honourable little mite. He is like the ultimate Gyrffindor. HONOUR. GOODNESS. GENTLEMANLY PLEDGES. Giveth me my sword and I shALL DEFEND THE WORLD. He's such a good hearted little dork, look at him go. He also has the magical-stone-plague, which is dormant but he's ostracised because of it. And he's also lost an eye to it. I really like when books feature characters with disabilities and illnesses! (Although I don't like "cure" storylines, but I think this was fair because it was an illness and could kill him so I get that he was desperate for the cure.) And I like how it was that twist on the London Black Plague by making it this magic-infected-illness that slowly turned you to stone.

I really felt for Thomas, and there was this one scene....omg...the writing was just vivid with his pain and agony and my hEART LURCHED. (view spoiler)

+ The magic system was also awesome! It's based on masks and colours! So like my Phantom of the Opera obsessed youth is delighted. Thank you. Basically you can do magic via speaking or commanding certain colours --> but you have to have your mask, made by a parent, to be able to connect with the magic. Thomas' father, Guy Fawkes, ditched him because he thought his kid was going to die of the plague so Thomas is travelling to get his dad to give him his bloody mask.

+ Do we have father/son issues? Why yes we do.
I do so love a book with a complex and intriguing magic system AND FAMILY STRIFE. Thomas trying to figure out if he's onboard with his dad assassinating a king and if that will solve the plague, the war between magicians??? Like I felt for him.

+ There's quite a big secondary cast.
I admit I got all the guys in on the plot confused, haha, except for Catsby because I think people name their actual cats that, but like thinking of Gatsby. Right? ANYWAY. But they were all actually the names of the real people in on Fawke's plot! So that was cool! And I love loooooved Emma! She is a badass young woman from Thomas' school, who's kind of blackmailed into being with this rich family and Thomas has this lITTLE CRUSH. It's such a small but wholesome romance, and definitely doesn't overshadow the plot! So if you're not a super romance fan this would work for you too. But Emma paints, kicks ass, takes names, and has the most vibrant personality in the book I think!! LOVE HER.

+ There's so many elements to the story too!
Gunpowder! Conspiracies! Disguises! Plagues! Discussions on race and the disgusting racism in London. There's like a twist/retelling on the religious wars (but this time with magicians instead of religion!) and THERE IS MURDER.

ALL IN ALL: I enjoyed this one! It's not super face paced, but it crafts such a detailed view of London and I am so so in love with the colour-coded magic system (heck I colour-code my LIFE so sign me up). I enjoyed this twist on the original Guy Fawkes and I love how you get torn from both sides on which is good vs bad.
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Reading Progress

March 1, 2018 – Shelved
March 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 28, 2018 – Started Reading
June 29, 2018 –
page 88
19.64% "Thomas is such a wholesome Gryffindor it's so adorable. 😂"
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: magical-fantasy
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 1, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan I can't wait to read this one, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Great review. 😊


ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω Ohhh, this sounds intriguing! Now I must add it to my list 😄


message 3: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin I've been on the edge of placing this on my TBR and I think you just convinced me.


Heidi This review makes me so happy!!! I LOVE this book SO MUCH IT’S NOT FUNNY. ❤️


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