Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The Fireman - by Joe Hill - An epic apocalyptic story
Hands-down, the best book I've read in 2016. The Fireman is nearly enough to make me stop reading. I enjoyed this so much, I find it unlikely I'll read anything better for a long time to come.
No, it's not a literary masterpiece, I don't for a minute think that's what Joe set out to give us. What The Fireman was, for me, is a story filled with wonder and wonderful things. It was a tale that evoked emotion from me. Joy, tears, anger, were all a part of the experience. And then there were the Easter eggs.
As you likely already know, Joe Hill is Stephen King's son. As such, it would only be natural to draw comparisons to his father's epic apocalyptic story, The Stand. While you needn't have read The Stand to enjoy The Fireman, if you have, you'll likely get a kick out of a number of little bits which allude to his father's masterpiece. One example: in The Fireman there is a character, named Harold Cross. If you are a fan of The Stand you probably see the connection right away. There are a number of other gems like that, but I'll leave them to you to discover for yourself.
The Fireman gets to the action in the very first chapter and does not let up until the reader gets through all 763 pages. Generally, when I'm reading a book to review, I'll make a series of notes as I go along. Not so much with this one, I was so engrossed in the tale. Joe Hill imbues his characters with heart and soul. They aren't just pieces to be moved around on a chess board. They are real people with wishes and needs, with compassion and purpose.
There's a bit of Ray Bradbury, P. L. Travers, J. K. Rowling, and Stephen King woven into this work, but in the end, it's all Joe Hill and I believe it is his best work yet.
The Fireman is available from William Morrow publishing in hardcover, paperback, e-book, and a variety of audio formats.
Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers NOS4A2, Horns, and Heart-Shaped Box, and the prize-winning story collection 20th Century Ghosts. He is also the Eisner Award-winning writer of the six volume graphic novel series, Locke & Key.