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Non 1001 Book Review: The Fireman Joe Hill


Do you love apocalyptic novels? You will love the latest installment by Joe Hill. Check out my review…

The Fireman by Joe Hill
Published in: 2016
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: The Fireman

This ARC was provided by Orion Publishing Group (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: As you may be aware, I love post apocalyptic and dystopian fiction so this book was right up my alley. I have only given it 3 stars because great literature it is not, but it does what it says on the cover and provides the reader with a scarily possible alternate future where the best and worst of humanity can be seen.

I loved the idea of the Dragonscale infection and the way this new plague is destroying the world — literally, by consuming everything and everyone in flames. The infection itself is sinister but not as sinister as those who claim to know how to control it, or those who want to wipe the infected off the face of the earth.

I enjoyed the way we learn more about the infection from various sources including the infected themselves, an old notebook, medical observations, and from those uninfected. As the book moves on we get to piece the puzzle together.

There are a lot of popular culture references especially 80s and 90s references and finding these references was a lot of fun. I particularly appreciated that fact that the rescue boat was called the Maggie Atwood. I gotta love a book that uses one of my favourites authors in this way.

I can see this book easily being made into a film as it has the highs and lows of hope and despair, an epic journey for survival, and some truly evil characters. If this movie ever gets made you can bet your life I will be watching!

While the majority of the book moves at a fairly rapid pace, there were some sections which did drag and considering the length of the book I think they could have been edited out. Overall this was a fun reading experience that satisfied my craving for end of the world destruction.

Who would like this: Anyone who likes post apocalyptic and dystopian stories. Fans of Joe Hills other books will enjoy this book.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Fireman

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Not for me sorry – I’m not a lover of apocalyse/dystopia stuff


    August 7, 2016

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