Review: FAWKES, / by Nadine Brandes

Fawkes: A Novel / by Nadine Brandes
Thomas Nelson     ISBN     9780785217145
Young Adult     Rating: 4

Nadine Brandes returns with a new young adult novel that mixes historical fiction with fantasy and is set in 17th century England.

In Fawkes, 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. Look for her next young adult novel, Romanov, in May 2019. It’s a historical fantasy retelling of Anatasia!

Recommended for school and public libraries, especially for historical fiction and fantasy fans.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.