Book Frivolity.....

Speculative Fiction Reviews, Interviews, Art and Whatever Else!

Currently reading

Stone of Farewell
Tad Williams
The Guns of Empire (The Shadow Campaigns)
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Jeremy Kool, Steve Gerlach & Amanda Kool

Bare Bones Book Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill

The Fireman: A Novel - Joe Hill
The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

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.
Thanks to Hachette Australia for my review copy. 
The Good:
  • Fantastic supernatural element in Dragonscale. 


  • Great cast of characters. Harper is not only intelligent, astute, and hard as rocks - she's also incredibly likeable. The Fireman gives both comic relief, and relates emotional backstory amazingly well. 


  • A nicely diverse cast - a pregnant woman, a deaf boy..  different races, ages, genders. It's great to see an author embrace a real assortment character types, that barrel through the book using their own appropriately believable strengths and weaknesses.


  • (ok ok there's the fire thing, but it's not overused, or overpowers the character's regular human abilities) 


  • Hill paces this thing like a master. Ebbs and flows perfectly, keeping the thrill on, without making it a constantly stressful experience. 


  • Simple, easy, slipstream prose, that allows readers to fly through this behemoth. (1 kg of book!). However, it still produces beautiful wordery throughout.


  • Mary Poppins songs :)  




The Not So Good:

  • Unfortunately, a fairly predictable plot line. 


  • The expectation that The Fireman might kick some old thriller conventions, didn't eventuate. 



Another fantastic tome from Joe Hill! Incredibly enjoyable, even if slightly predictable. Definitely worth picking up if you're a supernatural thriller fan, or have enjoyed Hill's work in the past.