Firestarter

Firestarter

First, a man and a woman are subjects of a top-secret government experiment designed to produce extraordinary psychic powers.Then, they are married and have a child. A daughter.Early on the daughter shows signs of a wild and horrifying force growing within her. Desperately, her parents try to train her to keep that force in check, to "act normal."Now the government wants i...

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Title:Firestarter
Author:Stephen King
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Firestarter Reviews

  • Edward Lorn

    I can find absolutely nothing bad to say about this book. Firestarter is up there with 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, and It. This one isn't as creep-up-on-you scary as the aforementioned novels, but Firestarter is terrifying. To image a world wherein Charlie McGee exists is a scary thought indeed.

    This is one of the few King books that has absolutely zero lulls in the narrative. When the pace does slow, King shows off his superhuman character development skills. He doesn't simply make his character

    I can find absolutely nothing bad to say about this book. Firestarter is up there with 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, and It. This one isn't as creep-up-on-you scary as the aforementioned novels, but Firestarter is terrifying. To image a world wherein Charlie McGee exists is a scary thought indeed.

    This is one of the few King books that has absolutely zero lulls in the narrative. When the pace does slow, King shows off his superhuman character development skills. He doesn't simply make his character dev engaging, he makes it entertaining as well. You have fun while getting to know these characters, and before you know it, page one turns to page four hundred and you want to start all over again. Books like this are the reason I'm rereading this man's entire catalog.

    Notable names:

    Patrick Hockstretter (Carrie)

    The Shop (Tommyknockers, The Stand, and is mentioned throughout the Dark Tower series)

    In summation: In my opinion this is one of King's hidden gems. People don't talk about it as much as they do his more massive novels, but Firestarter is one of his best, and deserves your attention.

  • Anne

    I don't think the scariest thing about this book is the fact that this tiny kid has the power to potentially crack the Earth in half.

    The genius of this book is that your fear builds with the father's fear.

    And it's not the fear of simply being captured. He fears what all of this is doing to his daughter, and he fears what he has

    to his daughter in order to keep her safe from herself.

    The part that re

    I don't think the scariest thing about this book is the fact that this tiny kid has the power to potentially crack the Earth in half.

    The genius of this book is that your fear builds with the father's fear.

    And it's not the fear of simply being captured. He fears what all of this is doing to his daughter, and he fears what he has

    to his daughter in order to keep her safe from herself.

    The part that really got to me was when he had to hold up her charred teddy bear to her when she was a toddler and tell her that she was very bad for doing this to Teddy. You could almost smell his guilt and desperation just coming off the pages.

    He didn't want to yell at his little girl, but he

    to make her afraid and ashamed of what had happened. Otherwise, the next time she got angry and threw a tantrum it might not just be a stuffed animal that went up in flames.

    The creation of The Shop was an especially nice touch by King.

    It's (I believe) everyone's secret fear that there's some unknown government

    out there that doesn't have to conform to The Rules.

    The scientists and field agents were also chilling in that they were just

    without much thought to the moral ramifications.

    And Rainbird?

    Dear God, that guy was a whole new level of creepy!

    Partially, because he really

    love Charlie in his own sick way.

    He

    Charlie for who she is and what she can become, and he's

    of her. He felt that she was

    , and he was willing to patiently wait for her to trust him.

    And as disgusting as he was, for the most part, he was dead-on in his assessment of her.

    Honestly,

    was the scariest thing about Rainbird. You want to believe that if someone is psychotic and amoral, then they're also missing the things that would allow them to correctly read other people. In Rainbird's case, his lack of conscience just let him see through the bullshit and get to the core of the individual.

    He was truly a chilling character.

    You know going into it that not everyone is getting out of this alive but for a King novel...

    I thought it had a pretty happy ending.

  • Carol

  • Jeff

    Damn hippy musicians!

    This was a buddy read with my bestest pal,

    .

    Stephen King sure as hell likes his characters with a heaping helping of psy-abilities. At the time of this writing, Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining, The Stand and The Dead Zone had been published (needless to say, this is one hell of a run) and three out of five employed characters with some sort of psychic ability. Here, Andy and Vicky were part of an experiment that left them wit

    Damn hippy musicians!

    This was a buddy read with my bestest pal,

    .

    Stephen King sure as hell likes his characters with a heaping helping of psy-abilities. At the time of this writing, Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining, The Stand and The Dead Zone had been published (needless to say, this is one hell of a run) and three out of five employed characters with some sort of psychic ability. Here, Andy and Vicky were part of an experiment that left them with “powers”. They had a child, Charlie, a pyrotechnic, who could conceivably engulf the Earth in flames. The term “mutant” (a la the X-Men) is only used twice.

    The heart of the story is the lengths that Andy goes to protect his daughter from falling into the hands of an evil government entity called “The Shop”. And this strong central component gives King something to build one of his best books around. This is King at his peak: a finely wrought, well-paced page turner.

    The film version is ass, but the soundtrack rocks.

  • Dan Schwent

    When some cash-poor college students volunteer for an experiment, they have no idea of the Pandora's Box they are about to unleash. Years later, one of them, Andy McGee, is on the run from The Shop, with his daughter, Charlie. Can Andy and Charlie evade The Shop before their world goes up in flames?

    First off, for years now, I cannot read the title without hearing the

    song of the same name. Maybe he'll follow this one up with a book called Fuel my Fire or Smack My Bitch Up one of these da

    When some cash-poor college students volunteer for an experiment, they have no idea of the Pandora's Box they are about to unleash. Years later, one of them, Andy McGee, is on the run from The Shop, with his daughter, Charlie. Can Andy and Charlie evade The Shop before their world goes up in flames?

    First off, for years now, I cannot read the title without hearing the

    song of the same name. Maybe he'll follow this one up with a book called Fuel my Fire or Smack My Bitch Up one of these days to continue along the same lines.

    Firestarter is one of those Stephen King books you don't hear all that much about. A lot of people only know of it because of the movie starring Drew Barrymore in the 1980s. Well, more people should know about it because it's a corking good read.

    A 1960s experiment gave Andy McGee and his wife psychic powers. It also altered their DNA enough to produce Charlie, their immensely powerful psychic daughter, whose abilities include pyrokinesis, hence the title.

    For a good portion of the book, the suspense comes from Andy trying to stay one step ahead of The Shop. The rest of it is the two McGees trying to escape The Shop's clutches. The Shop, and John Rainbird, make fantastic villains because they aren't nearly as far outside the realm of possibility as evil cars and spider-clowns.

    Like a lot of Stephen King books, the relationships between the characters keep the story going. John Rainbird proved to be more than the scene-chewing villain I originally pegged him as. Unlike the protagonists in

    , I feared for Charlie and Andy almost constantly.

    I'd forgotten how brutal King was sometimes in his older books. There are some parts of this one I'll remember for a long time. Maybe Stephen King will revisit a character or two from this book before he goes to the clearing at the end of the path, maybe as part of a Dark Tower story.

    As I said before, this is a very underrated King book. I don't really have anything bad to say about it. Four out of five stars.

  • Ashley Daviau

    While Firestarter doesn’t quite crack my top five King books, it does come pretty damn close! While I do find the idea of pyrokinesis and telekinesis fascinating and it is no doubt a big part of what makes this book so good, that’s not what makes this book great to me. For me, what really seals the deal, is the beautiful relationship between Charlie and her father. There’s just so much love and trust there, it’s incredibly touching and what makes me love this book so much!

  • Johann (jobis89)

    "You're a firestarter, honey... just one big Zippo lighter."

    Andy and Vicky McGee take part in a top-secret government experiment, gaining psychic powers. Then they have a daughter - Charlie. Charlie demonstrates even more power than her parents and they must keep her abilities secret, as the government wants Charlie back.

    Firestarter was one of the few "classic" Kings I had left to read (I had never watched the movie either), and yet I wasn't particularly excited about it, it seemed like a Carrie

    "You're a firestarter, honey... just one big Zippo lighter."

    Andy and Vicky McGee take part in a top-secret government experiment, gaining psychic powers. Then they have a daughter - Charlie. Charlie demonstrates even more power than her parents and they must keep her abilities secret, as the government wants Charlie back.

    Firestarter was one of the few "classic" Kings I had left to read (I had never watched the movie either), and yet I wasn't particularly excited about it, it seemed like a Carrie-knockoff almost! When I pulled it out of my King TBR jar for my October read, I was admittedly slightly disappointed... but this is one of the very few instances where I'm happy to admit that I was DEAD WRONG. Firestarter is fucking awesome!

    King is no stranger to writing about abusive child/parent relationships (Jack and Danny Torrance in The Shining, Bev and her father in IT, to name a couple), so it's a nice change when King explores a sweet and loving relationship between the two. The connection and bond between Charlie and her father Andy was really sweet. However, if I'm honest, I found Andy's psychic abilities more interesting than Charlie's, so I really enjoyed those parts where Andy could show what he's capable of (even if it was detrimental to his own health - but again, this just perfectly demonstrates his paternal love for Charlie).

    A lot of King novels can be slow-burners (which I am a fan of) but this one moves at a relentless pace from the very first page. It really demonstrates that whilst King can be a tad wordy at times, he is also capable of writing page-turners with very little filler! I loved how the mental powers of telekinesis and pyrokinesis were used in the story - when you set these against the backdrop of a nasty government trying to protect its secret, Firestarter really packs a punch!

    I can't help but wonder if this book would have worked better if it was structured in chronological order, as opposed to jumping back and forth between the past and present day. It might have worked better if it built up to Charlie and Andy being on the run. But that's just a minor nitpick.

    Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. This would be a good starting place for people trying to get into King - particularly if you're a fan of Stranger Things. 4.5 stars.

  • Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this,

    Page-Turning Foofaraw: "Firestarter" by Stephen King

    (Original Review, 1980-09-21)

    The popularity of "occult" novels haunts the science fiction community. We of all people are expected to pay serious attention to stories based on semiliterate misreadings of religious apocrypha. Not based, mind you, on either testament of the Bible, but on superstitions which Catholic, Protestant and Jewish theologians can tell you are mostly transformati

    If you're into stuff like this,

    Page-Turning Foofaraw: "Firestarter" by Stephen King

    (Original Review, 1980-09-21)

    The popularity of "occult" novels haunts the science fiction community. We of all people are expected to pay serious attention to stories based on semiliterate misreadings of religious apocrypha. Not based, mind you, on either testament of the Bible, but on superstitions which Catholic, Protestant and Jewish theologians can tell you are mostly transformations of ancient pagan beliefs that have not yet been shaken off the skirts of genuine religion.

  • Ron

    What I liked most about Firestarter was the bond between a father and his daughter. The character development is solid in this Stephen King story, especially considering the relationship of Charlie and Andy McGee. Maybe I liked this element of the book because they are the victims, and I always root for the underdog. Also, because it’s clear how much Andy loves his daughter. He would give his life for her. A short afterward follows the end of the book. In it, King thanks his own daughter, who mu

    What I liked most about Firestarter was the bond between a father and his daughter. The character development is solid in this Stephen King story, especially considering the relationship of Charlie and Andy McGee. Maybe I liked this element of the book because they are the victims, and I always root for the underdog. Also, because it’s clear how much Andy loves his daughter. He would give his life for her. A short afterward follows the end of the book. In it, King thanks his own daughter, who must have been about 10 at the time, for inspiration into the character of Charlie. That’s when I understood why the relationship in the book seemed so real to me.

    It’s a government agency that plays the bad guy, or a hidden branch of the military of sorts. Those guys are always looking for the perfect weapon, aren’t they? In his younger days, Andy signs up for a study trial in college, just to make a quick 200 bucks. Two great things come out of it: meeting his future wife, followed by the birth of their daughter. The novel is told in present time, with views into the past, of a life on the run - because that’s the bad thing that came out of that “simple” college experiment. The agency wants what it produced. No matter the cost. Those [email protected]&$.

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