Book Review: Fawkes

by Nadine Brandes

Thomas Fawkes has longed for the day when he will receive his color mask. He is certain that he will bond with the color Gray and finally be able to drive the Stone Plague out of his eye. Sure, no one else has ever managed to color speak the Stone Plague away, but Thomas isn’t just anyone—he is the son of the legendary color warrior Guy Fawkes. However, Thomas’s dreams of receiving his mask are dashed when Guy Fawkes does not show up at Thomas’s color test.

Angry and bitter, Thomas leaves the color academy sets out for London to find his father and receive his color mask. When Thomas finds his father though, he discovers his father in involved in a plot between the Keepers and Ignitors. The plot? To get rid of the Ignitor king, and hopefully rid England of the plague in the process.

As Thomas works with his father and the fellow conspirators in the plot, he also gets to know a girl from the color academy—a girl who forces Thomas to think about what he believes in. A girl who is an Ignitor. A girl who Thomas is falling in love with.

But the plot is in motion. The Keepers and Ignitors are at each others throats. The Stone Plague is claiming more lives. And Thomas is in the middle of all of it.


Fawkes was one of the first historical fantasy novels I read. And it made me fall in love with the genre.

1600’s England? Yes!

The Gunpowder plot? So cool!

One of the coolest magic system’s I’ve read? Absolutely!

I love the magic system in Fawkes so much. It is so cool, and I’ve never read a magic system similar to it before. I also love the way that Nadine ties her magic system into the plot and makes the magic system feel so natural to this alternate, magical London.

The characters are great, and the setting is super fun. Honestly, I love almost anything with London in it.

Fawkes can be considered an allegory to an extent, with the character of White Light being an allegory for the Holy Spirit. I personally don’t read Fawkes as an allegory because I’m not entirely comfortable with the character voice of the White Light and reading it as an allegory. That being said, Fawkes is still a wonderful novel even if you don’t read it as an allegory. And the theme of searching for truth still comes across fine without the allegory aspect.

Content Warnings: moderate, non-graphic violence; light-moderate romance; one kiss; magic

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