“You sound like a woman.”
I swept into a bow, the sword point pricking my sternum.
“Why, thank you.”
It has been awhile since a gorgeous cover let me down as much as this one. And maybe that’s why it took me so long to finish this book? I mean, it’s GUY FAWKES. WITH MASKS. Sigh.
By Nadine Brandes
Published Date: July 2018
Read Date: March 2019
Format: ebook ARC and audiobook
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA-ish, Fantasy
Rating: 3/5 Moose
Number of Pages: 448
I got this book ages ago — I think it’s almost been a year — from Netgalley. I am so genuinely sorry I didn’t get this read and reviewed in time. But honestly, I started it so many times and just could not get into it. I saw the audiobook available on Libby this week, and figured I would use it to try to get over whatever hump was bothering me.
Unfortunately, it didn’t help. For whatever reason, I could not relate to Thomas. And the magic system in the book was a bit jarring. I have read the summary several times, and I’m not sure how I missed that it was a fantasy, AU historical novel. Nevertheless, I pushed through.
But seriously, I am apparently really getting persnickety about my magic systems. Why the mask? How does a mask hone in the magic? I get kind of why a parent must carve the mask, but it seriously has to be the parent that is the same sex? In a time that life expectancy was so low? What was magic like all over Europe, if it is available? Is this just part of England?
While I do like the comparison of types of magic to the religious conflicts of the time, the story is just so overshadowed by Thomas’s whining and indecision. Instead of acting or doing anything, he spends most of the book just reacting. The father/son relationship issues could have been done so much better too. Guy Fawkes is portrayed as so aloof that it is detrimental to the story.
Interestingly, I love Emma. She both fits into the time period well while also trying so hard to find her own path. And it isn’t a path that makes her seem 21st century feminist — she feels real to the time period. (At some point I’ll write my review about The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein which was a frustrating book about a woman who also acts more within her time period than most YA heroines do.)
Overall, this book just lacked a foothold for me to find my way in. It overall was still written well, and I liked the idea behind the book, and seriously THAT COVER, but I’m definitely in the minority in just not caring for this book too much.