I actually read Joe Hill’s The Fireman last summer, during a lovely readalong event hosted by Care and I was supposed to post my review back then as part of the readalong, but my time got hijacked by various vague (and many) stuffs (life has a tendency to do that), so when TLC Book Tours asked if I wanted to participate in HarperCollins‘ The Fireman book tour, I thought, “Yay! now I will remember to write and post my review.”
And actually, it’s probably a good thing I’ve let some time lapse between reading the book and posting the review, because frankly all I was good for after reading the book was saying “Look, just read it, okay?” over and over again, which does not a good review make.
So The Fireman is one of the handful of novels that put a good solid dent in my not-so-unwavering belief that I don’t really like dystopian novels. And this is most definitely dystopia we’re talking about, what with the Dragonscale spore that makes its victims spontaneously combust. As you can imagine, this has quite the effect on civilization as we know it, paving the way for lots of dystopian fun.
Joe Hill is a wonderful storyteller, and he has a great story to tell in The Fireman. I particularly liked the sunny, chipper Harper Grayson, and for me the story was enjoyable in part because she’s the main focus. (I definitely agree with many other readers that a more apt title for the book would have been The Nurse.)
The many pop culture references sprinkled throughout were also great fun–and for me specifically, because I am a diehard PL Travers fan, all the Mary Poppins references (Harper adores Mary Poppins). Nothing like plugging another novel during a review, but Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere holds a special place in my heart because it is, essentially, Mary Poppins-land, all grown up–a fact which I think Harper would appreciate (see how I tied it back to The Fireman there?).
Bad guys abound, and it’s most definitely a world I wouldn’t want to inhabit (Cremation Squads? No thanks). And in the midst of all that story, Joe Hill also manages to tackle some weighty issues as well, and does so quite handily.
So yes, this is a massive tome, a virtual doorstopper of a read (my copy weighs in at around 750 pages), but that’s really the only thing brick-like about it. I had a ton of fun reading this book.