Tag Archives: Joe Hill

The Fireman, by Joe Hill

the fireman

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.

Joe Hill’s essential links:  Website, Twitter and Instagram: @joe_hill, and Facebook.

A Reading Ramble: Inferno, A Natural History of Dragons, Smoke and Mirrors and More

I’m pleased to report that I kept up my reading even during the crazy busy month of June – so it’s time for another rambly post (my spellchecker tells me rambly is not a word but I like the sound of it anyway) about what I’ve been reading.

One book I tackled in June was Dan Brown’s Inferno. So here’s the quick and dirty: it didn’t work for me. I was very excited when I picked it up from the library, and cracked it open as soon as I got home. I got about halfway through the novel and realized I felt the same way about it as I did Angels & Demons: the story was exciting, and I was learning some interesting things, but I didn’t really care one way or another how the novel ended.

With Angels & Demons, I quit reading at about the 80% mark. I remember thinking to myself, all this excitement is rather tiring, and anyway, I know Langdon will end up fine, right? I felt the same with Inferno, except I got to that point a little earlier than I did with Angels & Demons. Since I knew lots of people were eagerly awaiting Inferno, I returned it to the library two days later (I waited a day to see if maybe I was just in a tired mood, and really did want to finish it after all – it turned out I really didn’t).

A Natural History of DragonsI absolutely adored this book

Happily, though, I also got my hands on a copy of A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan. I LOVED this book – it’s one of my favourite reads of the year. It’s the kind of book I just want to press on everyone I know: “Read it, read it, oh, you simply must read it!”

And really, you simply must. I mean, it’s got dragons! An independent, feisty female main character! And did I mention, dragons?

For all you Flavia de Luce fans out there, Isabella (Lady Trent) is like Flavia all grown up – if, that is, Flavia had lived in a Victorian-type era in a world where dragons exist.

Last month I also managed to get tickets to see Neil Gaiman when he comes to Toronto in August on his book tour for The Ocean at the End of the Lane, so I decided I’d catch up on my Gaiman (I’ve only read two of his books so far, Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book, both of which I loved). To get myself started, I skimmed through Prince of Stories (I had to skim, since the book contains synopses of all Gaiman’s works published at the time Prince of Stories was released, and I didn’t want to read anything spoiler-ish, but even skimming, it was quite lovely to read about everything Gaiman has done).

Smoke and MirrorsSuch a lovely short story collection!

And now I’m halfway through Smoke and Mirrors, and really enjoying it. When I was in my early 20s, I was an avid short story reader, and Smoke and Mirrors reminds me how satisfying a well-crafted short story can be. And I have to say, I am SO in awe of the way Gaiman handles narrative poetry!

I’m also halfway through Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, but it looks like I won’t be able to finish it for a while. I have it on ebook loan from the library, and there are several people on the wait list after me, which means I won’t be able to renew it. Which reminds me – I should go and add myself to the holds list again! It’s my first taste of Hill’s work, and I’m liking it very much so far.

Another June reading highlight: I discovered Peter Lovesey’s Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond – I read Cop to Corpse, the twelfth book in the series (which didn’t hurt my reading of it in the slightest, I might add). Lovesey’s Diamond is great when you’re in the mood for a British police procedural, with a touch of humour that makes it even more enjoyable.

In audio, I listened to Lee Child’s Running Blind and Without Fail, both great books for when you’re in a Jack Reacher mood. I also did three Nero Wolfe short story collections (all rereads) in audio: Curtains for Three, And Four to Go (which starts with a hilarious story in which Wolfe plays Santa) and Death Times Three. Interestingly, one of the shorts in Death Times Three is also in And Four to Go, in slightly shorter format and with the characters slightly changed.

So that’s been my reading month in June, more or less (I might have missed one or two books, and I’m sure if I did, it will of course come to me the moment I hit publish …). It was a pretty good month in terms of reading, and now that I’ve written this post, I’m a little surprised at how many books I did read during such a crazy busy month!