BOOK REVIEW: FIRESTARTER BY STEPHEN KING

firestarter

GENERAL INFORMATION

TITLE: FIRESTARTER

AUTHOR: STEPHEN KING

PAGES: 510

PUBLISHER: WARNER BOOKS

YEAR: 1980

GENRE: HORROR FICTION

COVER TYPE: PAPER BACK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestarter_(novel)

www.stephenking.com

BLURB FROM THE COVER

From the author of The Shining, Carrie and The Dead Zone, Stephen King’s most mesmerising and menacing story of a sinister government agency, a fateful drug experiment, and a pigtailed girl named Charlie, who has an unimaginably terrifying gift…

REVIEW

Firestarter was adapted for the screen in in 1984 starring Drew Barrymore, David Keith and Martin Sheen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestarter_(film).

Firestarter was nominated as ‘Best Novel’ in the British Fantasy, Locus Poll Award and Balrog Award.

Firestarter ranks high among my favourite King novels. I’ve read it many times. I haven’t read it for a long time. It was a great joy to read this again over the past few days. I knew I loved it, I just forgot how bloody great a novel it is. Firestarter is one of King’s earliest novels. I can’t believe how good his shit was back then. The copy I read is my third one. I’ve also seen the movie many times and love it as well.

HIGHLIGHTS

I love the title of the novel. Firestarter is simple and sums up everything important. It’s a shame The Prodigy spoiled it somewhat with their awful song.

Firestarter starts in medias res (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_medias_res). This means in the middle of things. Charlie and Andy are on the run from Shop agents again. This provides a great, tense and dramatic opening. You just need to keep reading to find out WTF is going on.

I love the way Firestarter is structured. King gradually filters in the backstory via a series of flashbacks sparsely scattered throughout the narrative. The flashbacks aren’t invasive at all. He doesn’t feel the need to dump a pile of crap on the reader. He gives you the dynamic details that matter.

Firestarter is extremely well written. King is at his best here. I loved his descriptions. I loved the effortless time shifts. I loved the way he built up suspense and tension. King is on top form here.

Firestarter contains some great scenes, especially towards the end when Charlie uses her power to escape The Shop’s compound. I also loved the scenes when Andy and Charlie got to spend a few happy months living in the cabin of Andy’s father in the woods until they were captured. Some scenes set in The Shop compound during Andy and Charlie’s imprisonment were also great.

Firestarter is packed with tension and drama but also has moments of almost heart-breaking emotion. King hits all the buttons with this one.

I thought the characterisation was spot on in Firestarter. The best characters were Andy, Charlie and Rainbird. I really felt Andy’s turmoil as he tried to protect his daughter and keep her out of The Shop’s reach. I think Charlie was a great portrayal of a scared little girl with this terrible thing she couldn’t control. Rainbird is the creepiest and most psychotic villain to ever grace the page.

I love the fact Charlie is pyrokinetic. The scenes where she uses her power really stood out. Especially at Manders Farm when The Shop agents almost get them and the closing chapters. I got chills.

I love the open ending of Firestarter when Charlie ends up going to the offices of Rolling Stone magazine to tell them a story and show them something. It’s left to the reader to decide what happens.

LOWLIGHTS

King uses foreshadowing a few times in Firestarter to drop hints that Charlie will use her power to burn The Shop’s compound to the ground and kill many people in the process. I hate it when writer’s do this. However, the novel is such a joy to read I’m willing to overlook this.

THE OPENING LINE

‘Daddy, I’m tired’, the little girl in the red pants and the green blouse said fretfully’…

FINAL THOUGHTS

I love Firestarter. It’s a novel that ticks all the boxes for me. I love the title. I love the characters. I love the storyline. I love the writing. This comes high on my list of favourite novels of all time.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

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