Mini Mini Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill

The fireman

Yes, I’ve just finished reading ‘The Fireman’ by Joe Hill. It took me precisely one week from start to finish.

I’d normally post a review immediately after I’ve finished, but with this book, I think I’ll refrain from posting a full review and there are good reasons for this.

Firstly, this book is quite long; it’s got whopping 747 pages. I hate to admit this, but I’m afraid I’ve missed out some details which could have played a huge role in the plot as I sometimes found myself dozing off particularly when I was reading at night. So, I figure it’s not fair to say much about this book before I get a better picture of what this book is about.

Secondly, I find it extremely hard to gather my thoughts to be honest – as there are so many things and stories going on in this book, it’s really difficult to pinpoint what I found were really good and what I had issues with.

Not that I’m saying I actually had a lot of issues with; although I felt there may have been too much information or side stories that could have been cut, I did enjoy reading this book despite its length. It almost felt so addictive, keeping me engaged the entire time.

I picked up this book expecting a very thrilling apocalyptic story, it was actually included in Bookbub’s ‘creepy books for October’ list and I got tempted and asked my friend to get it on my behalf.

The preface was really enticing and gripping – describing how the mysterious plague (that causes spontaneous combustion) exploded and people started bursting into flames across the world -I thought it was exactly what I had expected.

However, then the story takes a different turn from what I was expecting. To be honest, I found it a bit of a letdown; I was expecting a super-exciting life and death horror story, like ‘you gotta have to keep running, the enemy is coming after you!!!’ kind of story so to speak.

That said, I also have to admit that I got hooked by this book somehow. I found there is actually a lot more to this book than just a horror story. Joe Hill did a great job in the character development; the intricately entwined relationships between the characters and the ensuing dramas are just amazing. His writing is so powerful and so emotional, there are a lot of scenes where I just couldn’t put it down.

I particularly liked the way he describes the change in the dynamics in the Camp Whyndam; after a shocking incident in the camp, the insidious, sinister side of their personality gradually start searing into surface and people who used to be described as kind and generous start to seem like stolid and harsh, even bitchy.
I seriously doubt this can be categorized as ‘horror story’ by the way – it feels more of a human drama with some horror twists to me.

Although I definitely NOT happy with what happens to the fireman in the very end, yet I have to admit it is so dramatic and even emotional. Gosh, I lost my words at that point.

Even if this is not a type of book you normally read, I’ll recommend jumping out of your comfort zone at times. Despite its length, I highly recommend this and I’ll definitely re-read it sometime later. Because I don’t want to miss a thing!!

 

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