Published by William Morrow on May 17th 2016
Source: Edelweiss eArc
No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. 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’s 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.
Welcome to my new feature Up Late With Kate where I share the latest midnight read that keeps me reading past the witching hour! Light that candle, grab a chair, and prepare to read all night!
Joe Hill won me over the first time I read anything by him, in his short story collection 20th Century Ghost. The fact that I’ve been a long time Stephen King fan only increased my love for Hill’s books. And while they both write in the same genre, and both brilliantly, Hill has his own style and ability and voice.
What I loved most about The Fireman was it’s epic-ness. You know when you pick this book up that it’s going to devour a good chunk of your time and your life, and that can be exciting when a book is as good as this one is. Pack for an extended stay, kids, because this one is going to take you on a long, strange journey.
A new disease is spreading- one that consumes it’s victims in fire. People are dying, people are scared, and it doesn’t take long for society to break down. The heart of the story is Harper- a Mary Poppins loving nurse who finds herself pregnant and infected. Her only goal in the beginning is to try to live long enough to deliver, but that goal gets harder and harder to reach as the story progresses.
At times the book feels like a love letter the The Stand, but with shades of dragons and magical nannies. While I couldn’t help but compare it to The Stand, the bad guys here are even more frightening than the Walking Dude, because we’re the bad guys. We’re also the good guys though, and it’s this duality of our nature that makes this story so compelling. There are so many horrible things that happen (honestly, there were a few times I just had to sit the story aside for a little while),but there are moments of grace. I feel that way about the world we currently live in too. Show me a million awful crimes humanity commits against itself and I’ll feel utterly hopeless, but show me just one example of love winning over hate and my hope springs eternal.
Because I read this in eArc form, I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to the audiobook. But I’d recommend it anyway since the great Kate Mulgrew narrates and she spoke the hell out of Hill’s NOS4A2.
Hill only seems to be getting better, as I’ve liked each book better than the last (although NOS4A2 has a special place in my heart due to Kate Mulgrew’s badassery).
The Fireman gets a Midnight Book Rating of: