Tag: joe hill


Wednesday Wow: The Fireman

Posted 29 June, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Wednesday Wow: The FiremanThe Fireman by Joe Hill
Published by HarperCollins on May 17th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Thrillers, General, Psychological
Pages: 768
Format: Kindle Paperwhite
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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.
Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

Shortly after starting Joe Hill’s The Fireman, I loved it. Shortly after finishing The Fireman, I loved it. There were times in the middle where I didn’t love it as much. I think that the strengths and the weaknesses of this novel relate to how heavily Hill leans on certain elements of other novels.

Let me elaborate. The start of this novel feels an awful lot like Stephen King’s The Stand, down to the fact that Harper, the female lead’s middle name is Frances (as in Frances Goldsmith, a significant female character in The Stand). More importantly Harper shares personality and inner life characteristics with Frannie Goldsmith. They both have a certain naivety and (unrealistic in the circumstances) belief in the better part of people. They’re also both survivors. Also, much like The Stand there is a separation of the populace into camps of good versus evil. At first I found this obvious homage to Father King (Father Storey?) to be charming but as the pages wore on I found the homage to be more predictable and wished for Hill to strike out on his own.

To be fair, Hill readily admitted this in a recent NPR interview, and he really cracked me up:

My book does carry a lot of echoes of The Stand, which is a novel that I adored, and you know, I sometimes joked that the book is The Stand if it was soaked in gasoline and set on fire.

I eventually did shake the idea that this was just The Stand set on fire. The latter part of the novel turns into something a little different and although it does end a little predictably it’s still a hell of a good ride. The fact that this is the first novel that really calls on Hill’s chops to world-build (let’s face it, NOS4A2 didn’t require full world-building) is actually really impressive.

Overall, this is a great read for those who love the apocalypse-by-disease genre and it’s also a fairly good twist on the genre with the creation of the Dragonscale fungus. Naturally, this book comes highly recommended to all Stephen King and Joe Hill fans as well.

What do you think, Reader? Any end of the world junkies out there?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: ‘Twas the Day Before Jury Trial

Posted 5 June, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

sunday salon books

Time // 8:54 A.M. EDT

Thinking // About how I have to take a case to trial next week that I really don’t want to. I get that the idea of overworked public defenders is a way sexier news story than overworked prosecutors. (Also, malicious/improper prosecution is way sexier than the thousands of prosecutors that do their jobs properly and within the scope of the law every day.) But let me tell you, my office might represent The State, but it’s made up wholly of people – just people – handling enormous case loads. I can assure you that the vast power of the state is not so vast in backwoods Georgia. Anyway. I really don’t want to take this case to trial next week. Such is life.

Reading // Things. Lots of things. About 60% done with The Fireman – it’s got shades of The Stand in it… I’m liking it a lot but unsure if I’m going to topple over into loving it. Finished a weird little book that I picked up at BEA, I plan to write a review on it after this. Also finished re-reading Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Now I need to re-read The Twelve so I can pick up the thrilling conclusion in City of Mirrors.

Beginning // To run again. I got my two runs in last week and am aiming for a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule from here forward (last Monday was a federal holiday, can’t run on federal holidays). It’s so dang hot and humid here I’m also considering taking up some type of swimming. The neighborhood pool is only about a half mile from the house and it’s big enough to do laps in – I don’t know, we’ll see if that works out.

So, that’s what I’m looking at, Reader. How’s your week? Anything exciting to look forward to?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Posted 30 May, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

fireman cover

Well, I went to Savannah on Friday with the husband for an impromptu holiday weekend for Memorial Day and some work detox. The problem is that Tropical Storm Bonnie came crashing into the east coast and it was a generally crappy time to be walking around in the outside. I say ‘problem’ but it was really not a problem for me, because it allowed me the weekend in the hotel room with Joe Hill’s newest novel, The Fireman. I finished up In a Dark, Dark Wood and meant to transition into another dead tree novel – but the husband was ready to turn the light off so I picked up my trusty Kindle instead.

The Fireman is a 768 page post apocalyptic chunkster. Naturally this means, I am loving it. I’m about halfway through and finding everything about it amazing.

Like I said, the weather in Savannah was crappy, but it didn’t stop me from eating all the things. I’m debating on whether or not to write a post about that. I need to write a review for In a Dark, Dark Wood – it’s the first BEA book that I’ve read that has been released – so that’s something to do.

I was thinking about joining Bryan in the 99 Days of Summer Blogging – but just in the next few weeks I have some pretty significant time commitments at work through trial week and being sent to GPSTC for training for another week, I’m just not sure that I can write anything worth reading every day for 99 days. I have a desire to revive the blog, but not to just hit the publish button just to publish. If I can get back to three times a week, I’ll feel okay.

So, it’s Monday! What are you reading? Turned into a little Sunday Salon as well. Let’s call it the best of both worlds. What are you reading, Reader?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Automatic Authors: A Top Ten List

Posted 18 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Authors, memes, writers

toptentuesday2

It’s been a hot minute since I did a top ten list, y’all. Today we have authors who write books that I pick up without even reading the synopsis. So, in no particular order…

1. Stephen King. To quote my fellow Stephen King fangirl, Rory from Fourth Street Review briefly, “Obviously.”

2. Joe Hill. I mean, he’s a fantastic horror author in his own right and he’s Stephen King’s son. So, ‘obviously’ again.

3. Margaret Atwood. It doesn’t matter what genre or form this feminist Canadian powerhouse is writing in, I want that book.

4. John Irving. I’ve yet to find an author who does cradle to grave character studies as well and effectively as Irving. My love started with A Prayer for Owen Meany, but has since extended to many of his other novels as well.

5. J.K Rowling. Both Harry Potter related and adult novels. She kicks ass in both forms, I don’t care what anyone says about The Casual Vacancy. I own the Galbraith novels, I just haven’t had a chance to read them yet.

6. Anne Rice. With a caveat, only concerning her Vampire Chronicles books. All the Mayfair Witches, werewolves, and Christ just don’t do it for me. Lestat is where it’s at.

7. Roald Dahl. I know he’s dead, that doesn’t mean I don’t yearn for more of his writing.

8. Herman Koch. The deliciously twisty Dutch writer. I only know of two of his books (The Dinner and Summer House With Swimming Pool) that have been translated to English, but you can bet I’m on the lookout for more.

9. Gillian FlynnI will not be judged! Even if Gone Girl wasn’t your bag, she wrote two other delightfully dark novels that I thoroughly enjoyed. I want novel number four.

10. Nadia Bolz-Weber. Yes, I realize she’s Lutheran clergy. Yes. I realize I’m an atheist. But I love her work and I think that she’s doing some fabulous writing (and preaching) that the U.S. and the world desperately needs to hear. Faithful or not.

What about you, Reader? What are your top ten must buy authors?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Six Degrees of Separation: The Casual Vacancy

Posted 15 June, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes

You’re expecting me to go from The Casual Vacancy to Harry Potter or maybe the Robert Galbraith books, but I’m not going to do that. I’m goin’ crazy, y’all.

F’real though. The use of heroin and methadone in The Casual Vacancy is a huge theme which makes me think of Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby, Jr. it’s such the perfect description of the slippery slope down into addiction. It’s also a book that I’m too scared to watch the movie because I’m afraid I will be so disturbed the images will never leave my head.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is a book like that too. I had no issue getting through the book and the terrible descriptions of things happening, but I had to turn off the Kubrick movie halfway through because it was just too damn disturbing for me – which is saying a lot because I have a high tolerance for disturbing things.

If we’re talking about novels adapted to movies by Stanley Kubrick how could the next link not be The Shining by Stephen King. The movie is brilliant, the book is more brilliant. The Shining is a brilliant horror novel (incidentally, also about addiction), so where do we go from here?

How about a double connection and use Joe Hill’s brilliant novel Horns? Joe Hill is Steven King’s eldest son and Horns is a book about a man who wakes up as the devil (more or less). It’s a fascinating book that goes way beyond the horror genre into something examining what it means to be human.

I’ll move to Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock, (I don’t need to explain that connection, do I?) it’s an absolutely brilliant novel written in the Southern Gothic tradition that completely entranced me with its bizarre and compelling cast of characters.

Let’s end with something new and delightful. Also with a bizarre and compelling cast of characters is The Shore by Sara Taylor. It’s also written in a Southern Gothic tradition and is enchanting and wonderful and incredibly readable.

6 degrees casual vacancy

Do you want to play? I know you do! Here’s how:

6degrees-rules-620x434

So that’s how you get from The Casual Vacancy to The Shore in six easy steps! Where do you go from The Casual Vacancy, Reader?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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