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Remember remember the 5th of November – (Late) eARC Review – Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

FawkesFawkes by Nadine Brandes

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

This is a very difficult book to rate and review for me. I started reading it a few months ago and stopped because I didn’t have any interest in it. I was also in a difficult reading mood so it isn’t entirely the fault of the book, but I do think the first half wasn’t really my thing. Even after picking it back up again a week or two ago I didn’t really connect with Thomas, the main character nor did I understand his motivation. And I didn’t really care about the story either.

I was pretty sure my rating would be around 2.5 to maybe 3 stars if I was generous. But something towards the end, the last 20% happened that made me suddenly invested and I enjoyed myself a lot more. I still don’t really connect with Thomas, but I liked Emma, I liked the story and where it went more.

This book, in theory, had everything I liked. Historic setting, fantasy elements, a moral conflict. So why didn’t I enjoy it for the longest part? I’ve read a few other reviews and a lot of them mentioned having problems with the rather vague magic system. but that wasn’t an issue for me. I actually really enjoyed the magic and how we didn’t know everything about it. Because Thomas didn’t know everything about it.
Another problem seemed to be that people either knew too much or not enough about the real historical events to appreciate this story. And again, that wasn’t my issue. I didn’t know much about Guy Fawkes and I actually read a little bit about him and this plot before starting with this book, so I’m definitely not in the ‘I-know-too-much’ camp. I know only the basics and I found that was enough for me. Also, I do like the way Nadine Brandes twisted certain aspects. I liked the stone plague and all the implications.

My problem is probably mostly Thomas. I am a very character focused person. I love getting into the nitty-gritty. I love reading about characters who have completely different thought processes, motivations, values etc than me. It’s fun to hop into another perspective, to see the world with different eyes. But Thomas just didn’t do it for me. I can’t put my finger on why. Maybe it’s just the chemistry. But I couldn’t really grasp his character, his personality? He was very indecisive for the most part. Judgemental while wanted to not be judged (I enjoyed that part!) I just couldn’t understand his motivations. I think he didn’t either, but that made it difficult for me to connect to.

The other plotters are … well, I didn’t really get to know them personally, more so their role in the plot. I think there was a lot of potential that wasn’t used. Especially with his father. Their relationship could have been explored more. I feel like the most parts were mentioned briefly, but never really talked about in depth. Though that improved towards the end.

Emma was very well fleshed out though and I did enjoy reading about her and how she treated Thomas. The villain was also quite enjoyable which boosted my appreciation of the story. Actually, to be really honest, it was more the actions of the villain that I liked, the repercussions, as the person itself. But that was okay with me.

All in all, it did take me awfully long to get through this book and I even needed a second attempt. The most part was just okay for me, but the ending was quite good. Also, there isn’t much objectively wrong with the book, it’s more a subjective thing of connecting or not with the characters. Which is a thing that makes or breaks a book for me much more than the plot.

So, in conclusion, I would recommend going into this with at least the basics of the gunpowder plot, but judging from what I’ve heard not necessarily knowing too much. At least not if you know you could have an issue with certain details being changed (due to the fantasy twist etc)

I received an earc of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info

View all my reviews

5 thoughts on “Remember remember the 5th of November – (Late) eARC Review – Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

  1. That happens to me quite often too. I think a book is mediocre and then it hits me with an amazing ending and I am wondering where to rate it… Especially when it comes to the first book in a series and there happens to be a lot of exposition. I am glad you could like the ending though ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate and love when that happens. It’s like “I knew you had it in you” and “why didn’t you do that earlier though?” … and it just makes it impossible to rate.
      And it’s also why I have such a hard time dnf’ing books. I mean, what if the ending is fantastic? And you’re right, often happens with first books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know a lot about the Gunpowder Plot, but I was rather interested in this book. However I’ve seen that a lot of reviewers were pretty disappointed. I hate not connecting with characters! That’s one of my reasons for DNFing books. Thank you for your review 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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