William Morrow | May 2016 | 768 pgs
I have to confess I'm not really a chunkster reader. Thick volumes intimidate me in general. Imagine how many good books I might have missed given this silly mentality, but I have heard so many good things about The Fireman and plus I have the ARC and the Fireman Readalong as motivations, I figured it was time to read it.
Now as much as I hate to admit it, I have mixed reactions about The Fireman. I suppose I shall start with the things I liked about the story. For starters, I think the idea of a new plague - Dragonscale (or Draco incendia trychophyton, to be exact) is brilliant. Dragonscale is a highly contagious and deadly spore that tattoo its hosts with black and gold marks across their bodies before causing them to burst into flames. I liked the uniqueness of this theme and most of all, our protagonist, Harper Grayson, who is both brave and remarkable not only in her profession (as a nurse) but also her own righteous self too. I also thought that the opening was very intriguing and introduce readers to the scary world the author has created. Then, there are issues about humanity and survival, which I felt is the core of this story and thought-provoking in many ways.
Now a few things which I didn't like and/or baffled me: While I liked the idea of this new disease and the scary world, the plot seemed to come to a halt towards the middle of the book. This is where it was focused on too many dialogues with little actions and at times I found myself distracted, which also had me skimmed through some pages. There are also a cast of characters here whom Harper would befriend with given the circumstances, and though some of them aren't likeable, they do contribute some highlights to the story. And finally, there is the Fireman, a mysterious and compelling character based on the title though I didn't understand why this story is focused more on Harper than him, until I got to the end and wondered if that was it. And that ending. To be fair, I think I may have expected too much from this story (or perhaps it is the chunkster issue, which is my bad) and given the glowing reviews I have seen around, it appears that I am in the minority. That said, The Fireman has a refreshing theme unlike others and I will continue to check out Joe Hill's future releases.