The fireman is coming. Stay cool.
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.
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.
(adapted via Goodreads)
Disclaimer: I received a digital ARC courtesy of Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I’m not being paid for anything I say!
When I first read the synopsis to Hill’s new novel, I knew I needed to read it. The concept of a spore that gave people great ass body tattoos while simultaneously setting them aflame sounded awesome–and, for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed.
The best part of this novel, by far, is the world. As I just said, I love the idea of Dragonscale–it’s original, and it’s as awesome as I wanted it to be. The way that Hill presented the spore and its affects was great, and felt oddly realistic. Not that I necessarily want to ever have Dragonscale…but I’d be lying if I said the thought of controlling fire through the spore didn’t sound appealing. Or, at the very least, like a hell of a party trick. That said, there are some brutal scenes of people spontaneously combusting, and the novel can get a bit gruesome/violent, so be wary of that while going into it. I, personally, loved that aspect of the book, but y’all know how much I love my horror and violence. Hill doesn’t hold back in expressing how some folk would react to those infected by the Dragonscale, and it rings fairly realistically.
The characters were also extremely well developed in the novel. As they should have been, given the length of the book. Harper is a fantastic protagonist. I love how optimistic she was, but how she could certainly hold her own–even when enormously pregnant. I oftentimes don’t like the way that male authors portray female characters, but I think Hill managed to pull it off quite well. And John (the fireman) is great; he’s witty and British, basically everything that I love.
A great element in the novel that I really loved was the cult/church/camp that Harper comes to live amongst in roughly the middle of the novel. It was done so well, and added such a fantastic element to the story–plus, I’m a sucker for cults. It’s a thing. The characters we got to know in this section of the story were a lot of fan, and just like Harper and John felt well developed.
The biggest let down I had with the novel was a certain romance that felt rushed and almost out of place. We hadn’t gotten to see a lot of interactions between the two characters by the time they were professing their love, and the times they had interacted, there hadn’t been much indication how they felt. It took me a bit out of the story, even though I ended up quite liking the two of them together by the end of the book. It worked, but it needed more time to develop.
All in all, The Fireman is an entertaining read. I highly recommend it to those who love dystopian horror (think The Road, not The Hunger Games).
Until next time, happy reading!