Book Review: FAWKES, Nadine Brandes

by | 6 July 2018 | Books | 13 comments

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!


I have flailed about Nadine Brandes several times on this site, but just in case you don’t remember the other times: Nadine Brandes is one of my most favourite authors and I absolutely love her and her books are amazing.

Her newest book, Fawkes, is releasing NEXT WEEK and I finally managed to get my hands on an early review copy. My pre-order of the hardcopy has been shipped and I’m also rabidly stalking the mailbox, but I don’t think it’s going to turn up until next week. 😛


I was hugely excited to get to read this book before the release and I’d hyped myself up about it so much that I had to flap my arms around excitedly for a bit before I could actually sit down and read. 😉

And guys.

this. book. 😯

I can’t even.


– The Book –


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 it. 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.


Goodreads – AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository – 


– The Review –


Fawkes is a Historical Fantasy retelling of the Gunpowder Plot, from the perspective of Thomas–Guy Fawkes’ teenage son. It follows his struggles and journey as he becomes part of this plot to kill the king and rid England of the terrible Stone Plague. The very plague that Thomas himself is slowly dying from.


I’m an avid reader of anything Nadine Brandes writes, and I had high expectations coming to this book. Fawkes stood up to each expectation and absolutely hooked me in from the very beginning.

This is very different than the Out of Time series (also by Nadine Brandes), but I liked it just as much. It’s difficult to compare the books since they’re so different—so don’t come to Fawkes thinking it’s going to be like A Time to Die. It’s completely different, and a totally new style, but I still absolutely enjoyed it.


Each of the characters were stunningly crafted. They had their own personality and motivations. All the characters were very realistic and each added an important element to the story and the theme.

Thomas’s struggles were so real and his voice drew me into the story. Obviously, he started off as a very flawed character, but that just leads to even stronger and deeper character development through the book. I was engaged in his story right from the beginning.

Emma was an amazing character. Her determination and spirit was so beautiful. She wasn’t defenseless at all, but she was also still feminine at the same time and that was wonderful to see in the world of modern YA fiction that says female characters cannot possibly be physically weak. Her journey was amazing to follow and I just really loved her inner strength and courageousness.


The plot followed the gunpowder assassination plan, but it revolved a lot more around Thomas’s personal development than the external conflict—though the external was certainly there as well. Internal growth and struggles always pull me in deeper to the story and I was really feeling everything that Thomas was going through.

I read the almost the entire second half of this book in one sitting because it was just so. absolutely. crazy. The tension rose with every chapter and kept me hooked to each page. Not only was there a heap of external struggles, there was so much internal dilemmas on Thomas’s part and it drew my heart into the story so deeply.


I could really feel Nadine’s heart in this novel, and that made every part of this book hugely impactful. I actually cried twice while reading this, and certainly giggled several other times. Everything about it just drew me in so I could experience the story so closely and so personally.


Content: There was some slightly more gruesome scenes, but I wouldn’t say it was any worse than A Time to Die (for example), and it was described enough, but not too much. Probably a 13+ read.


There are so many other things I liked about this book. The depth and complexity of Guy Fawkes’s character. The stunning magic system. The allegory echo between the magic and religion. The themes, oh my word. But if I tried to talk about everything this review would be way too massive.


I definitely recommend this breathtaking book! Don’t come to it expecting a normal historical fiction, or a normal fantasy book. It’s absolutely unique and most certainly worth the time it takes to read. If you think the cover looks amazing, just wait until you see what’s inside.


NOTE: I received a free e-ARC of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.




Have you read any of Nadine Brandes’ books? What’s the last book you read? Do you have a favourite read from this year so far? Let’s hang out together!

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Clare

    Nice photos 🙂 but yes this book is so good!

    • Jane Maree

      Hehe yess. 😉 It is! I really really enjoyed it.

  2. J.A.Penrose


    This looks so coooooool! Eeeep! Just all of the epicness!

    • Jane Maree

      EEK YES. You’re definitely going to enjoy this one. 😀

      The cover is amazing and the story inside is just as epic.

  3. Chelsea R.H.

    I’ve been waiting so long for Fawkes! I can’t wait till it comes out and I get my hands on it. Historical, fantasy and retellings are my three favourite things, so all in one book??? *squeals*
    Great review!

    • Jane Maree

      Same! I pre-ordered in November last year and it’s finally on it’s waaay. 😛

      I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did! It was crazy cool.

  4. Jenna


    • Jane Maree

      YES YOU MUST. I definitely recommend it. Obviously, it’s not going to be for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it. 🙂

  5. GJE

    Sounds awesome!

    • Jane Maree

      Yep! It’s a pretty stunning book, in my opinion. 😉

  6. Ashley

    Excuse me for being late, but can you please elaborate on the “ allegory between magic and religion”. Thank

    • Jane Maree

      Hey Ashley, thanks for asking. 🙂 I was referencing the whole turmoil between the Protestants and Catholics in the time that this story is set in. Fawkes has two groups of magic users (the Keepers and the Igniters) and they have similar roles to the real life religious groups at that time period and setting.

      • Ashley


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