The Fireman by Joe Hill

The Fireman by Joe Hill


“We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it.”

No one knew where the flames came from. The back of the book tells of rumours of it being set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s. That story came from FOX News. Others said it has been created and then stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation. A virus that would give you scales and then burn you alive. School nurse Harper Grayson saw a man burn in the playground. She volunteers to help in hospitals but nothing can be done. Black scales engulf your body, and then the flames do.

It is a refreshing take on a story we know and recognise: it’s the end of the world as we know it. There’s a pandemic and it’s not turning us into zombies. It’s turning us into bonfires. Much like when the aliens died at the end of War of the Worlds because of a sneeze, stories like this make you realise how fragile we are as individuals and as a society. However, it’s not about the situation. It’s about the characters in this situation. It’s up there with The Girl with all the Gifts and Station Eleven.

Our hero is Harper Grayson. She is pregnant. Her husband wants to kill her. She is saved by brains and community; she is taken in by the almost perfectly saintly members of Camp Wyndham. They all have the ‘dragonscale’ but none of the have burst into flames. Some of the members are just as powerful, erratic and uncontrollable as the flames they fight off. My favourite part of this book was the story that rises about the pandemic and the survival story: the legend of The Fireman. He is the allure of the flame: warm, hypnotic but dangerous. He’s also a little bit hot.


Watch my video review:

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