Book Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

After reading and falling in love with Romanov in 2021, I knew I wanted to read more by author Nadine Brandes this year. Using Audible, I listened to Fawkes, a YA historical fantasy. Though clearly a different story with its own characters and world, Fawkes made an impact on me just like Romanov. A coming of age story full of unconditional love, redemption, and self-discovery through faith, Fawkes is a book I highly recommend.

Thomas Fawkes, son of Guy Fawkes, is mere minutes from his color test where he will bond with a color and learn to manipulate that color through color speech. For example, black controls the night, blue controls water, red controls blood, and grey…grey potentially could control the stone plague lying dormant in Thomas’ eye. Yet, his father doesn’t show up; he refused Thomas his mask. Thomas is expelled from school and thrown out on his own as a societal outcast. Thomas makes his way to London where he finds his father by chance and is thrown into the midst of a plot to kill King James. Thomas must decide if he is loyal to his father and the Keepers, those who believe in only bonding with one color, or if he will listen to white light – a voice the Keepers say should be ignored.

While Thomas tries to navigate loyalty, the stone plague, and finding purpose, an unexpected friendship blooms with a former classmate. Can Emma learn to see past his faults and love him? Better yet, can she help him be a better man?

What really struck me about Fawkes is the underlying theme of discovering what is true for yourself rather than accepting what is true from others. If you believe and have faith because of what you have experienced and understand – from hearing the voice of white light (God) – your faith will be stronger, your convictions more sound, than if you blindly follow others. There are many people who believe to know the truths of life, even claim to know the truth of God, but have you sat in silence with God for yourself? Have you prayed and asked God to guide you, to lead you, to send you where He needs you rather than follow man?

And then the redemption story – I won’t say too much because of spoilers; however, know that if you’ve followed lies, if you’ve gone astray, or if you’ve been misguided, it isn’t too late to be redeemed in Christ.

Like Romanov, Fawkes brought tears to my eyes in the end. Brandes is now an auto-buy author for me. You can order your own copy of Fawkes from Amazon here or request a copy at your local library. If you have read or do read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Published by Kayla E. Green

Kayla E. Green is a school librarian, speculative fiction author, and poet. When she isn’t writing, reading, or going on adventures with her husband, she loves singing loudly and off-key to KLove Radio, snuggling her dogs, and pretending she’s a unicorn. Her award-winning YA fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, and her inspirational poetry collection, Metamorphosis, are now available through book retailers. Kayla also has stories and poems featured in various anthologies. Follow The Unicorn Writer's blog for book reviews, author interviews, writing advice, and more bookish fun!

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