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Fire-Starter by Stephen King

Fire-Starter (original 1980; edition 1981)

by Stephen King

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6,37669608 (3.63)108
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1981), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, read

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Firestarter by Stephen King (1980)


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English (62)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Having always been a big fan of the film, I was anxious to experience the fire starting abilities of Charlie in book form. Did the book end up leaving a burned imprint in my mind as much as the movie did?

Stephen King's Firestarter, written in his older school style, begins with Charlie and Andy McGee on the run from a company called “The Shop”. The first few chapters are riddled with intriguing flashbacks to fill the reader in on current day situations and up the desperation of the protagonists plight. Multiple point of view is used, showing each persons personal stake in each matter – this was an effective way to pen the novel, working the best for this kind of story. Even though some of the ‘villains’ do actions the reader may not agree with, it’s easier to see why when you’re in their heads.

King writes characters clearly, from the adorable little Charlie to the hardened death-obsessed Rainfield. The relationship between her and the father is endearing, the personal internal issues she struggles through harsh, and the chemistry between everyone brilliant. One thing that made this book soar was the relationships and personal motivations. It wasn’t about starting fires or avoiding putting them out – it was about what these fires meant to each person, and the lives of all. The feelings of the characters is easy to sympathize with; the unfairness of it all spoke volumes and could apply to several situations not involving pyrokinesis issues in real life.

The pacing was concrete as well. From start to finish I kept reading, absorbing the medium pace. Something was always happening, with the flashbacks never hurting interest I held.

King’s style really shines here. While later he can sometimes overdo the writing bit, and earlier on he was a bit short and choppy, here he was at his prime. The words are colorful, not weighed down by senseless description and unneeded detail. Paragraphs flowed together fine, creating a piece that was easy to lose myself into. He avoided overusing huge words that boasted a large vocabulary, yet didn’t keep things so simple it felt like it could have been written by any one other than an exceptional writer.

The gore and violence is not overly heavy, but it’s there when it needs to be, particularly when the Shop is at play and the atrocity of the experiments. The theme of novel is powerful, and the idea behind the fire starting child is impressionable. What most of the world wouldn’t give for a power such as this! (Without the side effects of experimentation and government agencies chasing you from Hell and back, of course.)

The beginning is heady stuff, making emotion strong from the opening line – the ending was a worthy tearjerker that left a heavy feeling in the chest, coated with an ironic realism.

I recommend Firestarter to anyone wanting to test the King waters, fans of King who haven’t yet read it, or fans of reading in general. It’s an emotionally driven story with a unique plot, convincing characters, and strong wrap-up. Buy it for the collection. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
This was a very good read. The story was a bit slow, but it kept my interest. Also, I really liked the ending. It was just perfect for the story. ( )
  LenaR0307 | May 30, 2016 |
Interesting book about a "special" girl and how her father tries to protect her. Good read. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
Andy McGee and his daughter Charlie are on the run from The Shop, a secret government agency. Andy and his now deceased wife took part in the trial of a drug, Lot Six, which gave them special powers and gave their daughter the power of pyrokenesis. The book was slow in spots which is why I didn't give it a higher rating. To me the book was most interesting during the time spent on the Manders farm and when Charlie is using her powers. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
In the 1960s, Andy McGee volunteered to be the subject of a psychological experiment in which he was injected with an experimental hallucinogenic substance. He got two things out of that experience: a meeting with the woman who would be his wife, and an ability to influence people's minds. Now, he and his wife (who received some minor telekinetic abilities) have a daughter whose abilities far exceed either of theirs: she can start fires with her mind. And the evil government organization that originally ran the experiment is very, very interested in that little girl.

This was an OK read, not King's best and not his worst. It lacks any of the sense of creepiness that he sometimes does so well, but, although it's not exactly a taut novel, it also lacks the bloat that characterizes a lot of his later work. There are some nice, well-done details about the way the characters experience their psychic abilities, but other, larger, aspects of the story are far less convincing. And the whole premise has a slightly tired, entirely unoriginal feel to it that's unusual for King, although I suppose it was less of a cliche in 1980, when the novel was first published. ( )
2 vote bragan | Oct 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boutsikaris, DennisReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtinen, Aarne T. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"It was a pleasure to burn." -- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
In memory of Shirley Jackson, who never needed to raise her voice.
First words
"Daddy, I'm tired," the little girl in the red pants and the green blouse said fretfully.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
You are about to meet the sweetest, most irresistible little girl you've ever known - 8-year-old Charlie McGee.
She's everything that a proud father like Andy McGee could want - and all that he can fear. For Charlie was born with the most destructive power a human being has ever commanded - and somehow she must be saved from both herself and from those in high places who want to use her as their weapon.

Meet Charlie - and see what happens when innocence and beauty unite with evil and terro.
FIRESTARTER is the mesmerising and menacing story of a sinister government agency, a fateful drug experiment, and a pigtailed girl named Charlie, who has an unimaginably terrifying gift: the power of pyrokinesis.
Haiku summary
Her power's constrained!
No, just seems that way because
thermometers melt.


Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451167805, Mass Market Paperback)

Innocence and beauty ignite with evil and terror as a young girl exhibits signs of a wild and horrifying force.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:32 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Young Charlie McGee is a very special girl. The result of scientific experimentation on her parents, she has the ability to create fires wherever and whenever she chooses, by force of will alone. On the run from sinister government agents with her telekenetic father, she only wants to forget her monstrous abilities, and live a normal life. When the pair are captured, Charlie must decide between saving her father and using her fiery powers at the whim of a government only interested in using her ... as a weapon!… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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