Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
This is a rather nicely written reimagining of Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Treason and plot. Within you will find: a magical system based on colors, "perversions" of said magic, a doomed rebellion, a stone plague, sword fights, disguises, betrayal and greed all with a smattering of ye old honour and a boat load of British spelling with "U"s added in for good measure. Other such period appropriate British niceties include: Tower of London activities like tar and nails to the face (a popular twist on the family friendly punishment of Tar and Feathering), threats of hangings, drawn and quartering and all around 17th century crimes against humanity fun.
I'll attempt to give a spoiler free review, therefore some particulars will have to be skirted. I will concede that it is a smidgen preachy on the monotheistic front, one Color to rule them all type thing...BUT...with that being said I'd like to follow up with a ringing endorsement as to how exciting and addicting this novel is... slight preachiness and all.
It features a first person narrative by Guy Fawkes' quasi-historically accurate son named Thomas. Thomas is 16 years old but more than that he is noble, brave, gallant and determined to get to the core of all matters so that he can understand and do what's Right. He (begrudgingly) sets off on a life altering journey to find his father, the infamous Guy Fawkes, seeking to force his father to give him a family crafted Color commanding mask which he believes will help cure his dormant Stone Plague, save the persecuted Keepers and allow himself to become the Man he believes himself capable of being.
(end of run on rant)
The other characters are interesting though not very diverse. I happened to enjoy the supporting cast save two. There was Emma. I LOVED her and all of her nuances! I especially loved all that she represented, stood for, and even how beautifully she supported Thomas - aiding him in his transformation to become the best possible version of himself. She was bold, implacable, talented, unshakable in her Faith and other enviable traits. Now Dee on the other hand... that's all I will say on that matter... spoilers and such.
Fair warning for those Cupid haters out there, there is a romantic relationship within BUT it is SO tame it does not overshadow or muddle the action. It is cute and mellow and most of all sweet.
Overall the writing was delicious, how else could I have devoured it so quickly? (har har har) The character development was palpable, rich and robust. Mrs. Brandes makes it all seem simple/seamless. I am not an avid reader of Historical Fiction BUT I luxuriated in this one, a compliment for sure! If you like period pieces, gritty London of old, plots and schemings and betrayal (oh my) AND most of all... the glittery tiara on top... a UNIQUE (almost historically accurate) magical journey without a cliffhanger ending, then I suggest you pick this one up and give it a go!