Publisher: William Morrow
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.
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.