Reviewing the Pages: The Fireman

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first book review.  I know, exciting, isn’t it? Now, I’ve done book reports/reviews in school before, but this is the first time that I’ve actually done one of these for fun.  So, here’s how I see it going down.  I will do both a non-spoiler and spoiler review of the book.  Now, before you ask, I will preface anything that will be spoilers of the novel underneath my big “Spoiler Alert” stop sign.  So, with that laid out, here’s the book:


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.

This is quite like walking though knee-deep snow in the middle of winter, but, the end destination is well worth it. Mr. Hill wove a very good story, and while there are some slow parts in the middle, he drops pieces here and there that make you pay attention. Trying to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, the story comes out with a mostly happy ending. Though, there are a lot of deep and heavy themes in here, mainly in terms of segregation and, to an extent, religion.

When the going gets tough, don’t despair. As I said before, there are hints here and there that keep you wanting to read on; teasers that make you wanting more. You’ll get attached to the characters, and maybe even wish to have some of the Dragonscale yourself. But, just enjoy this read.

Oh, and one final note. Don’t skip the very end bits. You know the ones. Acknowledgements, credits, etc. There’s something hidden in there. Just for those of us who read everything.

Recommended for anyone who likes dystopian worlds with a touch of mild fantasy, and a whole lot of the horrors of humanity.

Alrighty.  You can find the above review on Goodreads.  Now, without delay, here’s the spoilers!


So…there’s two of them.  Just to get my point across.  Think it worked?

Anyway, first off, I really wanted to have one of those happy endings.  One where the feeling of dread is long gone and everyone goes off into the sunset.  I never had that feeling.  Not even at the very end, because they were in just as dire straits out there in the middle of the open ocean as they were on shore with the “clean”.  And man, was I heartbroken when Nick didn’t make it.  He was incredibly resilient, suffering from injury after injury, infection after infection, only to go out that way.

I totally dug the fact that we kept getting little hints of Jakob throughout the book, whether it was in big scenes like raiding the ambulance, or little mentions that come from Harper.  I also like his devolution throughout the novel, from the charmer that we first meet at the beginning, to the psychopathic anti-Dragonscale maniac at the very end.  I was wondering throughout the entire novel whether or not we get to tie up that evasive end, and we did.  In impressive fashion I might add.

What I think made this book drag the most was Carol and her reaction after her father was incapacitated.  I just wasn’t a big fan of Carol to begin with, and to see her get more messianic kinda turned me off of that section.

All in all, I really enjoyed the read, and can’t wait to see what else comes of out Mr. Hill’s imagination.


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