The Fireman by Joe Hill


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Draco Incendia Trychophyton is the scientific name for what has become known as “Dragonscale.”  It’s a spore that is spreading like wildfire, literally, throughout the U.S.  When people first contract Dragonscale, they discover black and gold markings on their bodies, somewhat resembling tattoos.  They begin to emit smoke, burning from the inside and eventually going up in flames.  Those who are sick are being sent to secret death camps, in hopes that the deadly contagion can be stopped.

Harper Grayson is a grade-school nurse who loves musicals, most especially Mary Poppins.  Harper tends to see the bright side in things.  She is happily married to Jakob and takes great joy in bringing comfort to others.  When she witnesses a man go up in flames from the Dragonscale, and then her school is shut down due to the plague, Harper begins to volunteer her time at the hospital helping those who are sick.

Having put herself in continual contact with those who have the Dragonscale, Harper eventually discovers that she has it too.  On top of this, she is pregnant.  Her husband, Jakob doesn’t handle this so well and goes a little, no make that a lot, off the deep end.  He insists that they commit suicide, but Harper rejects that idea because she has heard that babies are being born healthy, without sign of infection.  Jakob goes on a rampage and tries to murder Harper.  That’s when she is rescued by a mysterious stranger, “The Fireman,” who has somehow gained control of his Dragonscale, and uses it in a superhero sort of way to help others.

The Fireman takes Harper to a community that calls itself a safe haven for those that are infected.  But in a world that has gone crazy, safe havens aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.  Think of this one as a scary commune!  When things begin to go bad, Harper knows that she must find a safe place to bring her baby into the world, and she’s going to need The Fireman’s help to do it.

There are so many apocalyptic books out there now, that a lot of what’s in here is nothing original.  The world falls apart, there are survivors fighting to make it to a new home, there are crazies out to get them…  What makes The Fireman a good read is the writing.  Harper is a formidable character, strong, bold and funny!  The character of Jakob is one scary madman and the community that takes Harper in, well, these people are completely off their rockers.   Joe Hill is a talented writer and this book will keep you up reading through the wee hours of the morning!  I love it when that happens:D

I am not sure if Joe Hill will appreciate the comparison, but there are definite tones of his father in this book.  Come on, Joe, I know you didn’t use that last name for a reason so you’ve gotta be proud to make it to that same category all on your own!  Stephen King is the master of horror and it seems that his son is a chip off the ol’ block!

I want to thank the publisher (Orion Publishing Group) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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21 thoughts on “The Fireman by Joe Hill

    • Thanks! You can’t go wrong with Stephen King books but The Stand was definitely my favorite and ground-breaking at the time he wrote it. This book by his son has echoes of that one.

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  1. Really liked this one. Funny thing is, while reading it I was reminded so much of The Stand, and then I saw an interview with Joe Hill where he said that he towards the end of writing this novel he realized how much his dad’s book had influenced him. Instead of flinching away from it though, he called The Fireman his version of The Stand but soaked in gasoline and set on fire…which I thought was kind of sweet in its own way 😀

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