Friday, August 10, 2018

Fawkes {a review}

via Pixabay
Last Friday I couldn't sleep. So I curled up on the couch for an hour with Minky blanket and a book--and the next morning, after some sleep, I curled up and binge-read the rest of it.

The book? Fawkes, by Nadine Brandes. It's a story of Thomas Fawkes, son of Guy Fawkes, the man who tried to blow up Parliament. But it also has a fantasy twist. Thomas Fawkes lives in a world where everybody has a mask, and each person's mask gives them the ability to bond with a certain special color power. The problem? Igniters believe you can bond with multiple color powers, and they're killing the more conservative Keepers, who only bond with one. Guy Fawkes is determined to blow up the Igniter Parliament to protect the Keepers in the land. And Thomas? Well, he just wants to get his mask before he dies of the Stone Plague.

There's always a little nervous feeling when you get a new book from an author you like. Will you love it as much as the others? The Out of Time series was such a loveable series with vivid characters, so I really wanted to know how Fawkes would feel. It had a delicious cover: check. But what about the story inside?

At first, I struggled to connect with Thomas, Guy Fawkes, and the plot to blow up Parliament. Because the story spans two years, I think the beginning struggles tension-wise because time has to pass before you can really set the time bomb ticking. But the plot starts to pick up in places in the Black section, and really picks up by the masquerade ball. Thomas and Emma in that scene are the cutest. ever. I ship them. :)

 As I kept reading, the theme knocked my socks off. The wisdom and maturity of truth in this book is such a beautiful contribution to bookshelves everywhere. I loved its implications for this generation. It's a historical book that manages to answer important questions and issues of today's millennial generation. We're living in an age where everyone has a label, similar to the color systems. We're also living in an age where hatred for the opposing side is just as rampant as the Keeper/Igniter war. But as Thomas finds himself further and further entangled in a war that will lead to the death of innocents, the book's conclusion offers a wonderful truth that I won't spoil, just because it's even more fun to discover it for yourself. I was surprised by how deeply the theme tied into the hearts of the people who would be reading it, and delighted by how powerful it was.

Fawkes, unlike the Out of Time series, is written for the general market, which means it's not explicitly Christian. But it's implicitly Christian in a powerful way that slices through the grey areas of our modern line of thought, which tries to validate experience over unchanging truth you can hold on to. Fawkes faces off between truth and personal belief in an engaging way that reaches the hearts of its intended audience. It's perfect for the YA age group. It dramatizes personal responsibility and relationship with God that can't rely on parents or even on yourself. And it encourages you to evaluate and re-think your own perspective. I appreciated it because even though I am a Christian, I'm still affected by the current cultural air. This book reminded me that ultimately how I feel or how someone I love feels really needs to take a back seat in my heart to what God feels about something.


Four weeks ago, I met Nadine Brandes in person at the Realm Maker's conference. She very kindly signed my entire Out of Time series, along with her newest book, Fawkes. It's a joy to be one of her Ninja team!

Nadine also has her newest book available for pre-order, which I'm super excited about: Romanov, a story of Anastasia, the last daughter of the last Russian tzar. You can even pre-order it on Amazon and add it to your shelves on Goodreads!

Nadine also has the funnest newsletter, full of writing news, book she's reading, and a fun "chat" feel that comes once a month to your newsletter inbox. I love them. Also, if you like Instagram, she has a really fun bookstagram there.

Have you read Fawkes yet? What is your favorite color power? 

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