Updated: May 13, 2022
Age Range: 13/14 and up
Thomas Fawkes, the sixteen-year-old son of the famous war hero Guy Fawkes, has only ever wanted one thing, his color mask. Without his mask, Thomas can never hope of being cured of the stone plague, where stone grows over your entire body until you are completely covered. On the eve of finally getting his mask, a letter comes saying that his father will not be arriving with the desired mask, and so Thomas starts on a journey to find his father, but when he finally does, his father refuses. The only way for Thomas to receive what he wants is to join his father and other Keepers in a plot to kill King James and hopefully end the Plague and silent war between Keepers and Igniters. Filled with questions but hopeful for the end of the Plague, Thomas joins the plot, but after being reunited with an old classmate who is an igniter, Thomas is no longer sure of anything.
I was hesitant to begin Fawkes because, first, it is a fantasy book, which I am not a big fan of, and second, I don’t have a lot of time to read and so when I do, I don’t want to waste my time reading a bad/boring book. Surprisingly (though not that surprising because Nadine Brandes is a great author), I enjoyed reading Fawkes and could not get enough of it! I thought the story was fun, suspenseful, and creative; then, I learned that it’s based on a true story and the gunpowder plot, along with many of the characters, were real people in 17th century London. I always love to learn that a book is based on a true story and that I’m learning history while enjoying reading an excellent book!
One of my favorite things about Fawkes is the main character Thomas Fawkes. He has his flaws like all people, but when he recognizes his shortcomings, he is willing to change for the better and is not prideful about it. Throughout the entire book, Thomas seeks the truth, and even when it is hard and goes against everything he knows, Thomas always chooses truth and right in the end. I also really liked his personality, unlike other main characters. He was caring, helpful, and gentlemanly, which made me happy that the novel was told from his point of view (though I do wish there were a few chapters related from Emma’s).
About the book itself, I thought it was exciting and a great read but slow at times, and I thought the ending could have been a bit better. I would have liked to know what happens to Emma and Thomas, but I guess that’s what imagination is for. The fantasy part of the book was also exciting and was intertwined nicely into the book so that the reader understood what was going on with the story without feeling fake. I had a great time emerging myself in this story, and I hope you all do too! (Also, I love the cover and wish other covers looked as good as this one)!
Things to Mention: Brief kiss; some sword fighting and people turning to stone, a man strikes a woman, some people drown, some characters are hung, shot, or die in some other way, and there is some description of executions—a description of a person after they are tortured.
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More Books by Nadine Brandes:
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