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.
Listen to a free interview with Joe Hill from our Authors in the Studio series.
©2016 Joe Hill (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers US
A man with a child in his ears - @ShutterSpin.
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.
The narrator should not have tried to do accents, her English was cringe making. Joe's grasp of a story here was poor, filling it in with quotes from old songs to add a little atmosphere & some of the writing was adolescent at best.
She was making the most of a really poorly written script, but her English accent was beyond the pale, every time the Fireman had something to say I wanted to fast forward.
It had potential to be a great story, but the narrator just put me totally off.
Really poorly written, including, at one stage, a woman who had just given birth being described as "sore".
This book starts off very gripping, then it becomes very boring and it kind of loses the plot, I did find myself drifting,as a Joe Hill fan I find this book very disappointing, I can only say the beginning of the book and the end of the book is the most gripping.
Further ruined by the weak performance of the narrator. I'm struggling to finish this one. I am now well over half way through the book
I really enjoyed Horns, thought it very original, and liked the abstract themes. Nos4r2 was okay, but it really stretched the 'suspension of disbelief' to the max, for most of the story, but went too far with the christmas land ending. The Fireman is utter rubbish! The fantasy aspect is okay; the disease and it's effects, but the characters are one dimensional, the writing is not up to much and the story is awful, and what's worse, completely predictable.
After the first quarter of the book it is annoyingly predictable how things will turn out, and how characters will fare in this tale. This seemed like a first effort rather than a fourth or fifth novel. Joe Hill was more interested in mentioning all the 80s pop culture references and comparing his characters to Rowling's a and Tolkien's, than in creating any decent, meaningful dialogue for them.
If you want to read Joe Hill at his best, give 'Horns' a go, but avoid this one at all costs. There is a lot of great, or at least good fantasy books out there; this is at the opposite end of the scale. I won't be reading any more Joe Hill books.
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 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.
I really enjoyed this book right from the start! I have watched Kate Mulgrew on TV for years and her narration of this book was like listening to a friend read.
The story was full of twists and turns and 'gasp' moments, I am already looking for other books by this author! Listen to this book, it's worth it!!!
"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.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.