Some flames burn too brightly to be extinguished.
This exceptional new thriller from Joe Hill is essential reading for 2016 and perfect for fans of Justin Cronin's The Passage.
In a world overtaken by a deadly and dramatic new virus, Harper is determined to live long enough to deliver her baby. But when all it takes is a spark to start a deadly blaze, she's going to need some help from the mysterious fireman.
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©2016 Joe Hill (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers US
A man with a child in his ears.
An epic, smoke-filled, blazing star of a book! Joe Hill brings something different to the post-Apocalyptic genre. A creeping disease of deadly fire backed with strong and fully rounded characters. A story that follows a small number of survivors as they try to negotiate the two tier society of the “infected” and the “healthy”.
Although epic in length Hill never really tries to encompass the global impact of such a crisis. Instead he works his characters through scenes that are increasingly harrowing and with growing levels of incendiary violence and poetically described horror. There are scenes particularly in the church that will have the hairs on the back of your neck quivering! He brings through the polarisation of human nature and at one point even seems to ape an Orwellian feel casting echoes of the brilliant Animal Farm. This is about journeys of discovery. It’s about people who can cope with the situation no matter what it throws at them, people whose baser nature is brought to the fore by the situation and even those that are crushed by it.
In amongst the tension, violence and horror there are genuine periods spent developing the characters and their relationships. These sections may at times seem flatter but I don’t think they are wasted and they add to the overall feel of the book. I’ll confess it did feel a bit out of place having a lead character with much of Mary Poppins within her. You’ll see what I mean not long into the book. Even that however won me over as it provided a delicious incongruence to the abject horror of some of the scenes. A spoonful of sugar to take to ward off the sheer nastiness and unrelenting hatred of some of the less pleasant characters. A really clever touch.
The narration by Kate Mulgrew is very, very good. I can only imagine how hard it is to keep up that level of intensity across practically a solid day’s worth of narration. She doesn’t have the greatest of variety in character voicings but she does convey tension, excitement and emotion extremely well.
In summary, an excellent novel, much like his father’s in many ways but with his own originality quite literally burned in. The acid test for a book I often find is how much I want the characters to come out of it and believe me I was cheering for these ones!
This book will keep you guessing right to the very end about who might survive and who might not. An excellent effort and I shall look forwards to more from Joe Hill. I guess we should expect no less from the son of the master of such fiction!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not stop listening when the credits start at the end . . . .
My name is Freda and I am in my 60's. I was a graphic designer, now retired. My favourite books are supernatural horror (not short stories)
Another brilliant book by Joe Hill read by Kate Mulgrew the only female narrator I will listen to. Reading the title you would expect the book to be something different. It is exciting and fast paced and something new. It gives you feelings of horror, sadness and empathy. Just couldn't put it down, was sorry when it ended.
A pregnant heroine & Nick the deaf mute travelling through Maine with a raggedy band fleeing plague. Big , bad Harold and his diary? "My life for you!"...and if I remember rightly there was even a Gasmask Man. It's a good job Stephen King is his dad or young Joe would be facing a massive lawsuit!
Otherwise, reasonably good story even if British accent is worse than Dick Van Dykes chimneysweep!
This book is just stunning, I've now ordered a hard copy. I was laughing one minute and suppressing a lump in my throat the next. It's just wonderful. Although some characters can be a trifle irritating at times it does add to the storyline. I can't recommend this book enough. The narration is great just unfortunately the British accent is horrendous. Makes Dick van Dyke seem like Ray Winstone! Please listen the whole way to the end past the credits. It's worth it.
This is one of the best apocalypse/survival book I have ever heard. Some of the book premises stretch credibility but Joe Hills' attention to detail is sooooo good that you buy into his vision. Storyline consistently interesting which doesn't apply to some less imaginative authors. Kate Mulgrew provides an excellent sound track and has the rare ability of giving each individual their own character ... No mean feat when there are so many ... Making it easy to follow. Dramatic interpretation is excellent.
I would say try it, in the printed version. I found the narrator was a great distraction from the story due to the poor attempts at voicing the male characters and the absolutely appalling 'British' accent of The Fireman.
I've loved all of Joe Hills work, but have only listened to Heart Shaped Box.as an audio book, that was fantastic.
Narrator was average in narrating the story and ok when voicing the female character's but very poor at voicing the male roles.
A wonderful original twist on a deadly virus tale. The characters are bright and sharp.
The narration was sometimes distracting, particularly the comical attempt at an English accent which damaged the character of John making him a bit too Dick Van Dyke. I could happily recommend The Fireman to anyone - but probably to read rather than listen.
Not knowing it existed.
Someone who can do voices and accents. She failed to do both.
None. I couldn't even finish it.
Utterly ridiculous. Gushing saccharin characters I disliked. Bad narration. I was praying for everyone to die just so I my suffering was over. I didn't get anywhere near the end, but I gave it long enough to see if there was any improvement as the story gained momentum. There wasn't :-(
I know that Joe Hill is Stephen King's son. He even has the good grace to admit that he stole lots of this book ideas from his father in the opening acknowledgements but it's so shamelessly derivative. There is hardly an original idea in the book. Characters and situations are lifted wholesale from his father's (better) works. Its getting more than a little weird. It is almost like that they retconned an earlier novel of King's. Richard Bachman was Stephen King's pen name in the early 80's, Bachman's books seemed more grounded, urban and edgier. After reading The Fireman I wonder if Joe Hill isn't another nom de plume, but this time King is trying his hand at Young Adult novels. Bad ones at that. Thinly sketched characters, doing unbelievable things just to serve the book in some silly way later.
I can't believe that this is the same writer who wrote the superb collection 20th Century Ghosts, Heart Shaped Box and Horns. Mr Hill needs a good editor and a friend who will say "Yep Joe, you love your dad and his work, we get it, now move on!"
I would have to have it highly recommended to me. Also, if he just cuts out all the references to his dad's work and stops the plagiarising him.
Whilst the narrator was fine with the raft of American accents of all sex and ages, one of the characters was English. A theme of the book is that the heroine's favourite film is Mary Poppins. The film version of Poppins is best remembered for Dick Van Dykes lamentable Cocker knee accent. It is therefore ironic that this is the second worst recording of an English accent ever recorded. Truly woeful... I increased the speed of the reading slightly to get through the ordeal sooner and I'm sure at one point that I heard that The Fireman was from Manchester, if that's the case, and this is Ms Mulgrew's portrayal of a Mancunian accent, shoot...me...now... An irritating Mockney that seemed to infect other characters in the latter stages of the reading.
The disease Dragonfire was well described and for the first few hours I was genuinely intrigued to where the book was going to go, but a good start was squandered.
Joe Hill's writing style in this book reminds me a little of Quentin Tarantino's films. Tarantino takes the best ideas, scenes and characters from other people's films and crafts something original and enjoyable. Joe Hill, in this book, tries to do the same but with books he loves, and for me, fails on every level.
near the top of my list ~ was hooked from the start with a credible storyline
Several characters stood out and all playing a major part of the story
this book is well written and had me hooked from the first page ~ the chararcters are life like and have a depth to them . Whilst falling into the the genre of " end of the world " type books there wasnt a flesh eating zombie in sight . Am going to need to listen again and soon
"Pretty interesting but...."
The idea of the book is nice. However it had quite a few cheesy parts that I didn't really like.
Maybe. If his other books are this long, then no, because I felt this was one of the book's big problems. It was way too long and hammered on silly details. It could have been half the length and much better.
Unlikely. I found her impression of the male characters a little annoying.
Ugh, nobody really. For what it's worth, the all contribute to the plot. Some of them annoy me, but that's no reason to cut a character.
Way too many easter eggs and pop-culture references, it dates the book and was a little annoying. Unbelievable dialogue, and prolonged stretches of plot that are pretty boring. Nick was one of the biggest reasons I kept reading. I got tired of the book after book 1, which was pretty disappointing.
Joe Hill can definitely write, but the story is limp and lacking originality. How many post-apocalyptic tales do we need? Mixture of good Cormac McCarthy's The Road and bad post-apocalyptic The Walking Dead. Very good performance by Kate Mulgrew.
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