Ah, Joe Hill. I've been enjoying his books for quite a while now, but I feel like for the very first time, The Fireman has made me stop thinking of Joe Hill as 'Stephen King's son', and just as Joe Hill. I don't think I've been unfair in such a judgement, but whereas in his other books I've been casually looking out for Stephen King similarities, The Fireman is so good that I was too busy being excited about it to care even the tiniest bit about its author, or, I guess, its author's familial relationships.
This book though. OMG. Full disclosure: I started this book ages and ages and ages ago (honestly its so long ago I can't even remember when) and, because I have it on kindle and am an idiot, I stopped reading and just didn't start again. This, as I'm sure you can tell, was a big mistake, but also means that I only have the vaguest memories of the very early chapters of the book so don't ask me any questions please. Let's all pretend I am the fountain of all knowledge here, yeah?
So. The Fireman is sort of an end of the world book, except that it's more of an 'the end of the world doesn't have to be the end of the world' book. A disturbing disease called Dragonscale is running wild, and people are bursting into flames all over the (country? World? I think world) and it's all very upsetting. Our very very very excellent heroine is Harper, a former school nurse who is now a special Dragonscale nurse who finds out she is both pregnant and infected with Dragonscale at about the same time (like I say, very hazy beginnings...) We basically follow Harper through this scared new world and into a disturbing and AMAZING and tense story and omg it's so good.
As always, I never know how much to share and how much information turns interesting stuff into spoilers. Here's what I do know:
- There are set pieces in this book that are too perfect for words. I'm talking setting up scenes and tension, executing plans, things going wrong and weird and bad but sometimes good, but also keeping the thread of what's happening better than this sentence is. There's a part where Hill practically apologises because the following description isn't going to be adequate enough, and the following description turns out to be so much more than adequate. This kid's got talent, ya know?
- HARPER IS THE BEST. There's some really interesting stuff between Harper and her husband and kind of dormant violence against women and what that can turn into when given the opportunity, but Harper by herself is strong and capable and *whispers* exactly the kind of heroine that King is sometimes lacking. I LOVE HER and yes.
- The ending! It was so unexpected (to me, anyway) and obviously I'm not going to tell you about it but OMG that ending. I just... Yes. Yes. So much yes.
And look! A whole review where I've revealed literally nothing about the book. As always. There's almost nothing I didn't like about the book, except for a romantic storyline that did pretty much nothing for me, but hey, I still wanted it to be there? Regardless, this book is incredibly thrilling, shocking, and so well crafted that I can't even with it. I give you my full and complete permission to read it, do it, do it nowwwww!