I’ve read a fair share of post-apocalyptic novels in my day, hell, I was around for the first release of The Hunger Games and Divergent.
So, it is then no surprise as I’ve gotten older I still look for that post-apocalyptic novel that will scare the bejesus out of me enough to appreciate the time I live in.
The Fireman by Joe Hill has received a mixed bag of reviews on Goodreads, but I’ve never really been the type to let reviews steer me in any direction (here’s looking at you Passengers).
Did ignoring the reviews of The Fireman pay off? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes The Fireman, which was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller when published in hardcover last year. The Fireman is 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.
Why did this book have to be so long?
It started off interestingly enough and I was definitely intrigued with the post-apocalyptic/ dragon scale disease, but after page 400 this book really started to drag.
Also, I understand that Joe Hill wants to foray into the genre that his dad (Stephen King) made infamous, but his pen name suggested to me that he was trying to distance himself from his famous father which made all of the easter eggs to King’s works very misplaced.
I have to be honest, I have never finished a King work in its entirety because they are either A) too long, or B) too predictable, but I was surprised that there were several instances in this novel that Had no idea what was going to happen next.
I really did enjoy the character of Harper, and her odd obsession with Mary Poppins (because why not), in the end this book really sits in the middle of my reading tastes.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.