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.

  • Paul Nelson

    Next up on my Stephen King quest is Firestarter, again it’s not a review as such but a collection of my thoughts on the book. So there most definitely will be spoilers.

    Firestarter was originally released in 1980 and was the Kings 6th release not including The Star Invaders.

    This story is a page turning masterpiece that flows effortlessly with literally no break in the pace whatsoever, from the initial chase and capture, to John Rainbird ruthlessly planning and playing with a young girl’s emotions

    Next up on my Stephen King quest is Firestarter, again it’s not a review as such but a collection of my thoughts on the book. So there most definitely will be spoilers.

    Firestarter was originally released in 1980 and was the Kings 6th release not including The Star Invaders.

    This story is a page turning masterpiece that flows effortlessly with literally no break in the pace whatsoever, from the initial chase and capture, to John Rainbird ruthlessly planning and playing with a young girl’s emotions right up to Andy McGee orchestrating an escape that you can’t help but get fully behind.

    Parts that I loved, Charlie growing up and her first experiences with her ability from her Fathers perspective.

    ‘And he felt it pass him-the invisible, incredible bolt of death from his daughters mind…. A soft, soundless passage of warm air… and then the teddy bear was on fire.’

    ‘Fire extinguishers had appeared silently, undiscussed, with almost the same stealth as dandelions appear during that period when spring and summer overlap.’

    Eddie Delgardo sitting at the airport his ‘half pleasant chain of daydreams was broken by a strange feeling of warmth coming from his feet.’ Eddie looked down and screamed, his shoes were on fire. Followed by a mad dash to get his feet first, closely followed by the rest of him into a water bearing container.

    The characters of John Rainbird and Cap Hollister were perfect for the regimental bad guy and psychopath with a cunning plan, when Cap was pushed into aiding and abetting the escape attempt by Andy McGee it all just fell into place almost with a satisfying click of the fingers. And then Charlie just vaporizes that chunk of lead heading from Rainbird’s gun and ‘For a moment it seemed that a high wind was rippling Rainbird’s clothes – and those of Cap behind him – and that nothing else was happening.’ But it did, all hell breaks loose.

    My only issue was with something that didn’t quite feel right for the story, was Rainbird at the computer asking it questions until the penny drops and the plan revealed by an artificial intelligence. To me it would just have been better to have Rainbird discover it in a different fashion but that’s just me and it was only a minor complaint.

    So that’s my 17th Stephen King book finished and I now sit at 25% completed, I think Firestarter will remain as a favourite as I work my way through the back catalogue, both characters and plot were spot on.

    I’ll finish on another quote.

    ‘God loves to make a man break a vow. It keeps him properly humble about his place in the world and his sense of self control.’

    Yep.

    Also posted at.

  • 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)

    4.5 stars. This book was such a pleasant surprise! Full review to come...

  • 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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