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YA Historical Fantasy
Pub. July 10 2018
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. 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.
I’m not going to lie.
The plot was kind of horrible. AND HOW?? THIS WAS *THE* GUNPOWDER PLOT???
I feel really bad. Because I wanted it to be amazing, and I had these expectations, but it just didn’t happen.
We do follow the historical aspect of real-life Protestants v. Catholics, but it’s translated into a magical plot. And it’s the magical element that flopped.
Everyone has color powers, which are really confusing. Basically you will have the power to control a color. And wear a mask. But there are two ways to go about doing it.
Keepers want each person to have power over just one color like total killjoys. But Igniters want to control all the colors like greedy a**holes. So you have to choose a side and ride.
But the whole system was underdeveloped plot-wise and I was so sad. Then, on top of everything, the book was way too long and slow.
HOWEVER. The premise really saves the day, so even if the magic is disappointing at least you can fondly remember you’re in 17th CENTURY LONDON??!! That made me feel better about everything.
First: My Guy Fawkes Angst™️
The story is based on the Guy Fawkes assassination attempt in an intricate, magic-based England.
So naturally, Guy Fawkes is the person I wanted to see and love!! BECAUSE V FOR VENDETTA!!! THE COOL MASK!!! GUY FREAKING FAWKS.
But I’m still pouting sadly. Because Guy Fawkes was underwhelming af. He was this…dead beat dad!!! I WAS BAFFLED?? HOW??
And I calmy said. Okay. Sure. Maybe he will bond with his son, the MC, and we’ll get this amazing father-son story. Which I would adore.
In fact, I never get my platonic father-son bonding at all. Thomas and his dad never form a close bond. So, Guy Fawkes just fails.
AND OH GOD. HIS SON IS EVEN WORSE.
Thomas is selfish, whiny, and has no concept loyalty. Which is fine if the character has other redeeming qualities. But Thomas just genuinely sucks. I would have helped the antagonist fight him if I were in this story.
But it was interesting that he was infected with the plague?? I have a weird obsession with the medieval Black Death, and I’ve NEVER read a fiction book with plague elements. So someone mentioned “plague” and I was so excited. Which sounds atrocious considering I just roasted Thomas. I might be a bad person.
The one character I adored and would protect with my life was EMMA!!! She’s the female lead and she is AMAZING and strong and passionate and feminine and I adore her.
This book was disappointing BUT the premise was so good!! + we get meh gurl Emma and a 17th Century London setting c:
Nadine Brandes once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband plan to live in a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.
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