The fireman by Joe Hill discussion post

Note: This post has spoilers. If you want a spoiler free review, go here.

This is a little bit of a different post than usual. I felt the need to discuss the book and I may not make much sense because it was spur of the moment kind of thing. Let me know if it’s a post that interests you and I may continue doing this kind of thing as well as the usual spoiler free reviews. 


It’s been a day since I’ve finished The fireman and I’ve had time to digest it, mull over the book. I still maintain I enjoyed it, BUT, it’s slowly sinking in that I was underwhelmed by the plot itself. Everything seemed to be too shallow, skipping the surface instead of diving deep. (Look at me, getting all poetic.)

So, let’s discuss.


I felt like we were missing a viewpoint. We had Harper, showing the side of infection. I think we needed Jakob’s too.

There was obviously still some form of government. The radio still worked, so someone must’ve keeping stuff working. (<-Clearly know what I’m talking about.) It would have really interesting to see how their world was, what had changed. And I was interested in Jakob’s character progression too.

Camp Wyndham

Camp Wyndham is where Harper ends up after he husband reveals himself to be the cliche douche that we all knew he was going to end up as. It’s obviously supposed to be an important part of the story. A lot of it takes place there, but…it was pretty forgettable. 

There are supposed to be over 160 (?) people in this camp. And, yes, I understand that you can’t meet every single one of them, but I never got that impression of scale from the descriptions. It felt more like…16 people. 

And I didn’t get to see much of the daily life of the Camp, what people’s day to day life was. The most I saw was that they had lookouts, (rarely mentioned), and they slept in the day and came out at night. VAMPIRES! They even glitter like the modern ones.

(Makes no sense really because you’d have to use torches, fires ect. Wouldn’t that bring MORE attention to you?)

The fireman

The fireman was another supposed to be important, but wasn’t anything special really, kind of things.

I think the only reason I took any notice of him was because the book is named The fireman, which was basically, LOOK, THIS CHARACTER HERE? HE’S IMPORTANT. 

He spends all his time in that little cabin and usually completely delirious because he’s broken the million and one bones in his body.

The lady of flame

After hearing Sarah’s story. I knew immediately what was cracking off. (Everything in this book just seems really unsurprising?) I’m disappointed by the lack of use this plot point got. I mean, she knocked off Jakob at the end with a big thwack of a fiery hatchet, but I felt she had more potential, that she should have been a bigger plot point. 

The flame itself

It turns out that people are able to manipulate the flame. Mainly Nick and The fireman, (I’ve forgot his name! OMG.) I like the reason they learnt this quicker than others, because Nick’s deaf, but it sounded a little far-fetched the way it was described and weaved into the plot. It wasn’t used much either. I feel like it should’ve had consequences. It just seemed too easy.


The ‘scale sounded super scary at the start, then Harper arrived at the Camp and she pretty much learnt to control it. She called it the social network hormone (AKA the peer pressure hormone.)

It wasn’t scary after that, not even a big deal. It happened. Now we deal with the aftermath. I think it would’ve been cool for it to still be a big deal. (It does sound really pretty. I want a tattoo of those swirls with gold flecks up my arm.)


It wasn’t so cliche that I was rolling my eyes, but the progression and the characters themselves fit into their roles nice and snug.A few examples:

Carol: She’s your typical found relgion, but goes cuckoo and twists it a little too much. I was fine with her character, but I think it was underused. The whole Camp Wyndham section was underused.

Allie: The typical rebellious teenager who’s told not to do something so, of course does it. She was really into her Aunt’s religious stuff. I was surprised how quick she turned from it. I think this is because it isn’t really shown beside the whole rock section. I didn’t read her struggle with what was going wrong. 

Harper: I like Harper. She starts off as an almost meek character who has a strength underneath, shown by the way she cares for the people in the hospital at the start. I felt like she dealt with the realization her husband was batty and moving into Camp Wyndham a little too smoothly though. The main thing that gets your eyeballs rolling is, of course, the husband thing. I saw that coming from the start. 

Jakob: The beginning of Jakob was so obvious, but, by the end, he was really creepy and scary. I will never get over Mr. Truffles. #devestated. He just seemed dead inside. I would have LOVED to have seen his progression into that. 

Father Storey: The typical kind man that doesn’t see the crap fest until it’s too late and someone’s bonked him off. (And yeah, it was obvious that it was Michael.)

Bits I loved

All things Renee: Renee may be cliche as they come, the kindly, sort of old, lady, but I loved her to pieces. Cliches are cliches for a reason.

Glibert: I think Gilbert was in it all of ten pages, but his death was one of the worst because POOR RENEE! He seemed like such a sweetheart too.

Captain America and Tony the tiger: Allie and Nick turn up randomly up at Harper’s door, all mysterious like, with pregger vitamins. Amused me highly.

Democracy: The whole, we’re taking the cat with us, which ended with Renee mentioning to Harper, “You know, I don’t think this is my cat.” Oh, Renee, you wonderful woman, you.

The sass: Harper is so sassy! It’s my favourite thing about her.

The potato and the parsnip, (radish?): The most powerful of all medical tools.

J K Rowling’s cameo: We all knew she’d be badass in the apocalypse, this proves it.

Martha Quinn island: Not the island itself, because it was obvious it was a set up. It was the journey to it, where they walked through towns, were given, food medication, kindness. I was almost convinced that the place was real and not a trap, which was impressive because I 100% knew it was a trap. I would’ve bet a ton of money on that.

Disclaimer: These are all my opinions. There may be many you disagree with, that’s cool. In fact, the whole point of this post is to open up a discussion! Leave a comment about your thoughts and opinions. I enjoyed the book, but there was just a few niggles and I felt like talking about them.

Twitter / Goodreads

Similar posts



16 thoughts on “The fireman by Joe Hill discussion post

  1. Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek 16/06/2016 / 5:19 pm

    Great idea for a post! I haven’t read the actual post yet as I haven’t quite finished the book but I’ll definitely read it after I’ve finished the book and see if we agree. 😊 Me thinks when I do write my review it willbe quite ranty-if it’s a word? 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vijayalakshmi Harish 17/06/2016 / 1:28 am

    J K Rowling cameo…that’s the final push I need to go read this book 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek 17/06/2016 / 1:16 pm

    Think I agree with most of your points, I really wanted to see more of Jakob and the collection crew, they were a big threat but kept in the background, would’ve been good to have had the occasional chapter with from Jakob’s perspective looking for Harper. Saw the island bit happening well before it did to. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Combustible reviews 17/06/2016 / 1:21 pm

      Yeah, I think that was the biggest disappointment. Not having more of Jakob and the collection crew. I think it would have amped up the tension.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s