Book Review: Firestarter by Stephen King

One King book a month is the plan, and March saw me read my favourite King of the three I’ve read this year, so far.

Book Description

‘You’re a firestarter honey….just one big zippo lighter’

A year ago, he was an upstanding instructor of English at Harrison State College. Now Andy is on the run with his daughter. A pigtailed girl named Charlie. A girl with an unimaginably terrifying gift.

A gift which could be useful to corrupt authorities. Soon Charlie will be caught up in the menace of a fateful drug experiment and a sinister government ploy . . . 

Let the reader beware: FIRESTARTER is Stephen King at his most mesmerising . . . and menacing.

My Thoughts

I hadn’t heard much about Firestarter before reading it, it doesn’t seem to be one of Kings more popular novels, and I’m not entirely sure why, because it’s fantastic!

The synopsis doesn’t offer up too much plot-wise, and I won’t either, but just know that it is accurate, this novel is both “mesmerising” and “menacing”. The plot is such an interesting one, you learn about how Andy and Charlie came to be in their current situation, and you really grow to love both characters. Through all the horror and terror they face, their father-daughter bond is the shining light. You get to know both of them extremely well, and this is what has you invested in their plight. They face some real creepy characters along the way; that’s one thing King has always done well – write creepy characters. Not since I read The Stand have I come across a villain who I passionately disliked but found their characters to be so well crafted, so intriguing.

Something else I notice when I read King’s novels, is that his child characters always seem to be older than their years. It’s so easy to read this book and think Charlie is a teenager, when in fact she’s not even ten yet. It’s not a deterrent, and children can, of course, be wiser than their years, but it’s something that consistently stands out for me, a Kingism if you like. But you’re reminded of Charlie’s age when she has her moments of vulnerability, those moments when you just want to take on a mothering role and keep her safe.

Another Kingism I’ve come to love is the sheer creativity of the plots, you can never be 100% sure where King is going to take you. Which characters you may lose along the way, which characters you may start off disliking but grow to understand, if not like. There’s just so much wonder, and that’s the pull of King’s mind, the pull of his writing.

I’m starting to see a pattern here, all my favourite King novels tend to feature in some way a strong element of ‘the shine’. If you’ve read The Shining, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, that ability to draw on more than our five senses. For me, it gives each of these novels a bit of magic! Yet they feel so real, so believable, you’re so invested in the fate of your favourite characters. You can devour this novel, not bothered in the slightest that it’s 500 pages.

Firestarter is definitely one for horror thriller fans, it perhaps leans more on the side of thriller than horror. If you enjoyed Doctor Sleep, also by King, I’m positive you’ll enjoy this one too! I read the mass market edition, and I enjoyed Firestarter so much, I’m looking to upgrade to a hardback edition for my collection.

This book is available to buy from Amazon UK / Book Depository

16 thoughts on “Book Review: Firestarter by Stephen King

      1. Haha yes I know the feeling. I’m actually jealous that you still have them all to read! It’s a brilliant series. I’m trying to get through all of Kings books in date order. My TBR list keeps distracting me though!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love that you started referring to his stylistic qualities as Kingisms! That’s so perfect! I don’t understand why more people aren’t talking about Firestarter because it was mesmerizing! I hated putting it down and just wanted to know more. I have a feeling we’re going to love The Institute since it’s so similar.

    Liked by 1 person

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