A contagion referred to as Dragonscale is infecting people and causing them to, well, go up in smoke. Yes, it burns people alive. Most people that is. But there's a group who have figured how to survive and yes, even control the affliction. See it as a blessing even. They're in hiding from those who are healthy and determined to kill them off.
Okay, that was a quick in a nutshell outline, but it doesn't even begin to touch the breadth, width, depth, scope and inventiveness of Joe Hill's plotting. Epic saga is a good descriptor. The reader's heart is firmly in the camp with the infected. Hill's cast of characters is just as deep and detailed as his plot. The Fireman is at the heart of it - a man who has figured out how to use the fire, to control it. Nurse Willowes is the other main character, a woman who gets calmer and cooler when the situation heats up - all the while singing Mary Poppins songs. They're our main two, but Hill has populated the book with a rich, wide, varied cast of characters - all detailed and each with their own part to play in the book. Good and bad. I love ensemble novels and The Fireman has a wealth of memorable players.
So, I'm speeding through The Fireman - literally I can't put it down - and I hit page 500. And realize I am racing towards the end. And I don't want to finish the book. But I was helpless to stop reading. Hill is one heck of a storyteller. There was no 'down' time. The plot changes and evolves and keeps running faster and faster towards the inevitable outcome. Duplicity, danger and action are woven tightly together with love, friendship, loss - and survival. The final pages did not provide quite the ending I had hoped for, but it was the right one. Everything - plot, dialogue, descriptions and more flows so easily and effortlessly - Hill really has a way with words.
One of my all time fave reads is Stephen King's The Stand. The Fireman has that same epic quest, journey of the embattled underdogs, post apocalyptic survival, battle of good and evil tone mixed with a little Lord of the Flies, The Walking Dead and a dash of Fahrenheit 451. Yup, one helluva hot read.
It took Joe Hill four years to write the 750 pages of The Fireman - and it took me four days to devour it. Read an excerpt of The Fireman. Fans of The Stand and Justin Cronin's Passage series need to add The Fireman to the 'keeper' shelf of their home libraries. Now, this was my first Joe Hill book, but it sure isn't going to be my last. I'm off to look up his backlist.
|Cr: Shane Leonard|
Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Horns,
Heart-Shaped Box, and NOS4A2. He is also the Eisner Award-winning writer of a six-volume comic book series, Locke and Key. He lives in New Hampshire. Find out more about Joe at his website and follow him on Twitter and on Instagram and like him on Facebook.
See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.
I received this book for review from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.