Monday, May 16, 2016

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Standalone
768 p.
Publisher: William Morrow
Published: 5/17/16
Source: From Edelweiss and publisher for review
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.
My thoughts:
I've been wanting to read a book by Joe Hill and when this one came up for review, I thought it was the perfect chance. However, I do think I'll be breaking from most reviews you read of this book. While I did enjoy this book, I did not love it as much as the other reviewers.

I did like the way the author brought us to a dystopian society. Well, like is an odd word for that, but it did entertain and he made it make sense in a fictional way. We follow Harper, a nurse, who is great with kids and has a lot of compassion. Unfortunately she also is a doormat and an emotionally abused wife. What I loved was her transformation into someone who was strong, still compassionate, forgiving and nobody's doormat. I actually think that was my favorite part of the book. I also really enjoyed several of the secondary characters especially a little deaf boy who is smart and adorable at the same time he is onery. There is also a lady Harper befriends who is also compassionate and loves books and gets others to read to take their mind off of things. There is also no safety net for anyone in this story so you have no idea who will survive and what that means for everyone.

The book was long and while that was good in some ways it also seemed to stretch out the drama to its limits. I would have liked it a bit more compact, but I can also see why others enjoyed the length. The story doesn't let you go and that will either make you want to speed things up or enjoy the ride as written. I did not like 2 scenes in the book, but telling you those scenes would spoil things. There is also no solid HEA in the end, but it feels like a solid conclusion... that does leave the book open for a sequel as one major problem wasn't solved. However, it did not feel like a cliffie.

I give this book 3 stars. While it was interesting and I wanted to reach the conclusion of what happens to our heroes and heroines, I just found it to have way more drama than I like. It is a horror book, but nothing that most people cannot handle. I feel is actually more dystopian in nature. I recommend it to those that enjoy Joe Hill's work, dystopian adult genre and horror.

33 comments:

  1. The dystopia side sounds interesting but I'm sorry it wasn't as much as you thought it would be

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  2. I've always wanted to see how Joe Hill stacks up against his dad (which is unfair, I know), but I can't deny that it was my draw to his books. I have a copy of NOS4A2. Hopefully soon.

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    1. LOL! I haven't read a fiction book by his dad. I've read a couple of his non-fiction books though... :)

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  3. I have yet to read one of his books, and I've been jealous of dveryone who has gotten this one. Even though you didn't like it as much as you wanted, I'm still thinking this would be a good start with him for me.

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    1. I'm still wanting to either see or read Horns. I might do both.

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  4. A book I've seen featured on several blogs now. An equal mix of positive and negative reviews, one thing people do agree on (and have mentioned in every review I've come across) is that, like you, they felt it too long.

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    1. I've seen mostly positive but good to know I'm not alone. :) Still, it was interesting!

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  5. Sounds like this one might have been a bit overdone, still, glad you did like it. ;) Great review!

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  6. What a fascinating concept! I hadn't heard of this one, but it has a strong appeal. Thanks for the honest review!

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  7. Bummer that this one didn't work for you. I know his other books have gotten high praise. Do you think you would try something else by him?

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Well, it didn't not work for me, but just didn't wow me. I do want to try Horns at least by him.

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  8. That's a fair assessment, drama is okay and in this situation I guess it's expected. But to draw it out? I prefer the focus to be more on the "survival" than wallowing on emotions.

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    1. It does focus on it but it just felt more dramatic for me than I like.

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  9. I've yet to pick one up by him, but I see him recommended a lot. Thanks for the honest review!

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    1. I still want to try a couple of his other books. :)

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  10. Oh yeah, when we first meet Harper, I was a lot wary because I thought she was going to be a total doormat. But I love that she grew so much, while still maintaining a softness too. I really hope there's a second book, but I was satisfied with the ending.

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  11. Loved reading your review right after Christy's Melissa, it's always fun to get differing opinions. I'm glad you enjoyed this one overall, even if it felt a bit more dramatic in places than necessary. I'm definitely intrigued!

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    1. Christy's opinion does seem to be more popular... fyi. ;)

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  12. Curious that it is more dystopian than horror. I have another Joe Hill book for audio, I have yet to try him.

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    1. It felt that way to me, but I also could see the horror aspects to it.

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  13. Sorry that this one didn't work well for you. I've only tried one Joe Hill book, NOS4A2. I really enjoyed it. I plan to try this one at some point. I hope you give Joe Hill another try. Maybe you will like a book that is more horror like.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

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    1. It seems like that one worked better for others as well. Will try it.

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  14. I've not read any of his books. This sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing about it.

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  15. It sounds interesting but I'm not super drawn to it.

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  16. Ah yes... stretched out drama... that is annoying at times, so I understand why you didn't love this one. Great honest review!

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