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The fireman by Joe Hill
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The fireman (edition 2016)

by Joe Hill

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1,9011386,678 (3.84)145
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 is 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.… (more)
Member:bobf32
Title:The fireman
Authors:Joe Hill
Info:London : Gollancz, 2016.
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Fireman by Joe Hill

  1. 10
    Bird Box by Josh Malerman (Shelby_Kuzma)
    Shelby_Kuzma: Both books deal with a female character attempting to protect herself and her children in the wake of a widespread, apocalyptic event.
  2. 10
    The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Both books cover the subject of the aftermath of a terrible widespread disease.
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» See also 145 mentions

English (137)  Italian (1)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
Joe Hill is turning into an "every other" author for me. [b:20th Century Ghosts|373915|20th Century Ghosts|Joe Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388224829s/373915.jpg|1049073], while having some great stories, also had some stinkers. But [b:Heart-Shaped Box|153025|Heart-Shaped Box|Joe Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328043955s/153025.jpg|1412280] was amazing. [b:Horns|6587879|Horns|Joe Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1402958805s/6587879.jpg|6781405] had some brilliant stuff in it as well, but ultimately the fairy tale imaginary treehouse ending only served to piss me off. But then he roared back with [b:NOS4A2|15729539|NOS4A2|Joe Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1369591617s/15729539.jpg|21408527] and set himself up as the only worthy successor to his father.

Then came this book. Again, there's some amazing stuff in it, because Hill's a good writer. He's got great dialogue, and when it comes to the titular Fireman, it just--pardon the pun--crackles. But I found Jake and Harper at the beginning to be simply irritating. And then for Hill to do a full 180 with Jake with no warning was just...I don't know...amateurish?

While there was some decent stuff happening in the scenes with fire, there was a bit too much reliance on a 36-year-old Dire Straits song...which, by the way, is coming from a guy who still thinks it was the band's shining moment. But still...

And then came the moment, at about the 2/3 mark of the novel, when Hill telegraphed his fairy tale imaginary tree house ending for this book. I'd been worried where he was going to take it, and then, when I knew, I was really scared.

And toward the end, when one of the characters mentioned Christmasland--a key setting in a previous Hill novel--I knew exactly what was going to happen, because Hill telegraphed it.

While we're on the topic of mentioning things from other novels, I have to say that, in N0S4A2, Hill seemlessly wove in bits from his father's work. It was a beautiful thing to behold.

This time around? It sort of felt like Hill was being paid by the mention. Seriously, I lost track somewhere after the multiple The Stand references, including the Hand of God, as well as things like Tom Gordon, etc. It didn't seem to add to the plot, and it felt forced, as did the name dropping of authors like J.K. Rowling and Margaret (Maggie) Atwood, etc.

So, while overall, it wasn't his worst--that honour goes to Horns, it was somewhat entertaining, but nowhere near his best.

The good thing is, if he continues to be the "every other" author, then his next book will kick ass. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
great story line. ( )
  Teezie | Aug 21, 2021 |
great story line. ( )
  Teezie | Aug 21, 2021 |
Interestingly enough, the main character, whose narrative perspective we follow, is not the fireman, but I guess "the pregnant nurse" would not make a best-seller. So, it's a nice page-turner but not much more than that, which makes it a good summer read. ( )
  SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
A plague called Draco Incendia Trychophyton (Dragonscale) has ravaged the country. It is highly infectious and carried by a spore within ashes. The infected are identified by black and gold streaks on their skin, and when agitated or excited, burst into flames, leading to rampant fires. The main characters are a sympathetic, pregnant nurse (Harper Willowes Grayson) and the fireman (John Rookwood), who meet when Harper treats young Nick ahead of others at the hospital recognizing his illness as dire. The fireman rescues Harper from her demented husband, and they retreat with the infected to a closed summer camp while husband Jakob joins the Marlboro Man and Cremation Crew, who want to kill the infected. Dynamics at the camp are unstable, and the Fireman has a deep dark family secret. The book's weaknesses are the science, its length, and several very predictable plot developments, especially the ending. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mulgrew, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Outside the street's on fire
in a real death waltz...
--"Jungleland," Bruce Springsteen
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this 'ole wide world there's no 'appier bloke.
--"Chim Chim Cher-ee," Robert and Richard Sherman
It was a pleasure to burn.
--Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Dedication
For Ethan John King, who burns bright. Your Dad loves you.
First words
Harper Grayson had seen lots of people burn on TV, everyone had, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the playground behind the school.
Quotations
Humanity is a germ that thrives on the very edge of catastrophe.
The people in charge can always justify doing terrible things in the name of the greater good.
But we need kindness like we need to eat. It satisfies something in us we can’t do without.
There’s something horribly unfair about dying in the middle of a good story, before you have a chance to see how it all comes out. Of course, I suppose everyone always dies in the middle of a good story, in a sense. Your own story. Or the story of your children. Or your grandchildren. Death is a raw deal for narrative junkies.
FOX said the Dragon had been set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s. MSNBC said sources indicated the ’scale might’ve been created by engineers at Halliburton and stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation. CNN reported both sides.
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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 is 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.

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