Sent to me as a proof read, I didn’t expect to love this book, but I did; completely and utterly. It’s rare for me to find an adult book which I connect with so deeply, and the fact that The Fireman happened to be a dystopia made this book one of my top reads. It captured my all-time favourite kind of dystopia – where society is in ruins, people are desperate and survival is the story.
The story follows Harper, an infected and pregnant nurse fighting to save as many people from “the spore” as she can in a world infected with a burning virus. No one is safe from the Dragonscale, but the mysterious Fireman, able to control the flames that engulf him, is determined to help Harper to save her baby and find sanctuary in this apocalyptic world.
This book didn’t try to be something it wasn’t – even though it was inspired by Fahrenheit 451, it didn’t try to replicate it or “steal” from it. I’d even go as far as to say I loved The Fireman 100 times more than Fahrenheit 451. It had the warming feel of a classic, but with modern references which made the book so gritty and realistic. I was able to connect to the society because there was mention of events that have happened in my life time, and aspects of life that are significant to our society – mobile phones, social media etc. Also, the story is so related to humanity as it is now – I think that’s why I don’t get on well with some classics, because they’re relevant to a time that has passed.
Even though I recognised Joe Hill’s name, I’d never read any of his work, but am now desperate to. The writing was just so captivating and blood pumping and it gripped me from beginning to end. It took me over a month to read, but that was DEFINITELY NOT because of the book, just my tiredness during the exam period! I’m sure if I’d had the time (and energy) I’d have read it a lot quicker – it would be perfect as a summer read (I might have to reread it whilst sunbathing on the beach this summer!) Joe Hill left little hooks at the end of each chapter that made it nearly impossible to stop reading – this is one of the main things that made the book so gripping.
The characters in this book took my emotions on a complete roller coaster. I’d find myself unsure of a character in one chapter and then crying for them in the next – Joe Hill managed to portray realistic people in a way I’ve never read before. Harper, for one, is a complete heart-warming but complex protagonist who had me laughing and crying in the space of a couple of paragraphs. Joe Hill captured her voice beautifully and what was at first a very simple story of an individual became a thrilling, long-lingering, morally-striking book which set my heart and mind alight.
I don’t want to spoil this book in any way for anyone, but I do want to say that I cried, a lot, but whether they were sad or happy tears, I’ll leave it to you to read and see what happens. If there’s one book I’d recommend reading this year (other than Empire of Storm – book 5 of my favourite series ever, the Throne of Glass) it would be The Fireman.
The Fireman is out on the 7th June in the UK, and is a must-read.
Author: Joe Hill
Publisher: Orion (Gollancz) UK and HarperCollins
Release date: UK – 7/6/16
Source: Sent to me by Orion