Title: The Fireman
Author: Joe Hill
Age Group: Adult
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I'd heard of Joe Hill's The Fireman right after it came out in the spring of last year, and I really have to admit, the book has been on my mind ever since. I went to the library two weeks ago for my book club, and a lovely woman kindly searched for it all through, until she could sneak in and give it to me. Since it had a hold on it, I pushed it up to the top of my library stack, as one is wont to do when they have a lot of them. But The Fireman is a horror story, and so much more than that: social and political satire, careful, meticulous detailing of a crumbling marriage, as well as the formation of a dangerous cult. This is all in one book. I'm a seasoned reader, and some of these story threads became gnarled and tangled as the book went on.
This book--I'm not even quite sure how to describe it? This is horror at its finest, but to call The Fireman just a horror story isn't the best way to put it. It was so much more. An epic that had me simultaneously spellbound and revolted. I feel like Joe Hill just took all of my organs and wrung them out of my body, with The Fireman. It is the story of a violent, sudden epidemic. In this reality, the world as we know it has basically been burned to cinders, razed down by the infection of Dragonscale. At the center of it all is Harper, a heavily pregnant nurse, who accidentally contracts the disease by taking care of the infected. Her life spirals out of control, and soon her life and what's left of it are slipping out of her grasp. Forced to face a mad cult, government officials trying to kill the infected, and things even closer to home, she meets The Fireman: wry, British, fierce and mysterious. Turning to him when she has no one else, Harper discovers that she and her child may not make it out alive...
I really liked this book. It wasn't perfect; there were times when the coinciding story threads got confusing to follow, I didn't like many of the characters, and frankly, it was really depressing. But really, what was I expecting? Can't have a book about the world ending and it be all unicorns and rainbows! I really liked it, nonetheless though. It was full of pop culture references, many of which were relevant to my generation, so that was really fun. The pacing was breakneck, and I really liked the plot, but it was mostly the characters, particularly Harper, that sold this book for me. I felt like I really made some friends in this dark, funny, scary book. The bottom line: Though not as good as I expected, I really liked The Fireman, and I hope I can read more of Joe Hill's work soon! Next on deck: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly!