Overview (No Spoilers):
While on my radar for two years now, I’d delayed actually reading The Fireman based on some initial bad reviews I’d read regarding this title. Now that I have finally picked up this read, I’m so happy I did as it includes many of the key attributes I enjoy in fantasy. While The Fireman is indeed dark, the character building and premise was indeed fascinating. The Fireman adds to a several other plague inspired apocalyptic novels I’ve recently read from King’s The Stand, Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy and Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds. The Dark Minds aside, due to the YA nature, I thoroughly enjoyed the world building in the two other previous novels. With The Fireman though while the beginning and end provided delightful depth, the middle of the book became stuck in a sort of purgatory where the literary world was reduced to a relatively small group of survivors. Hill did a great job detailed the events surrounding the beginning of the epidemic and terror that the unknown manifests throughout society, alongside the hopelessness of the infected. Overall, The Fireman keeps the readers captivated as our protagonists struggle to survive and come to grips with a terrible disease and the ostracizing experienced from the healthy.
Post Script: After some post reviewing reading I was shocked to discover that Joe Hill is actually Stephen King’s son. Dare I draw a comparison between this novel and The Stand?
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- The Fireman and Nick exhibit exceptional skill! What else can be done with the fire?
- The end was devastating as we find out the island doesn’t exist and that they’ve been falsely led along. Will they ever find safety?
- Jakob’s mindless obsession with finding and killing Harper was so creepy with an underlying feeling of helplessness. Hill did an excellent job detailing emotional abuse in their relationship.
- I did not buy the Fireman (John) and Harper’s romance. The Fireman was not over his ex and they had minimal interactions as he was locked up on his island.
- Nick and Allie’s mother final moments were beautiful she saved everyone from Jakob.
- I’d suspected Michael’s betrayal but did not see him with Carol. That was a bit too bizarre for me. Really the whole cult atmosphere of the camp got to be hard to read from stones in the mouth to the daily glow fest.