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Watch Out The Sparks Are Gonna Fly
Firestarter - Stephen King
Member Name: sandemp
Firestarter - Stephen King
Date: 07/01/05, updated on 25/08/11 (120 review reads)
Advantages: Compelling Read
Disadvantages: I was up all night reading it
My life is, as many these days, hectic and there are times when I just want to escape from it all. When I feel like this there is nothing better than escaping into a good book. You see, I love to read, and although I will read any book my favourites are those that feature horror or fantasy. And my favourite author is Stephen King who, in my opinion, writes the very best horrors. I read my first ever Stephen King at the age of 14, and I was hooked, this review is going to be about that book, "Firestarter".
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, America in 1947. His first sojourn into the field of writing was at the tender age of 12, when he and his brother started a local newspaper. His first published novel, however, was "Carrie", which arrived in 1974. He is a prolific writer, and has published countless novels and short stories, many of which have been adapted as movies, both as Stephen King and Richard Bachman.
When Andy and Vicky agreed to take part in a psych test, organised by a secret government agency (The Shop), involving taking a low grade hallucinogen "Lot 6", they had no idea that it would give them Pyschic powers. And, what no-one could have predicted was that they would marry and have a child, Charlie, who has somehow inherited a mix of their powers and is now pyrokinetic, that is she is a firestarter.
Now the government are after her, and it's upto her Dad to keep her safe........
There are a vast range of characters within the book here I'll introduce just a few :
Andy McGee :
Andy took "Lot 6" as part of an experiment while at college. As a result he now has mild mind control powers, which he calls "The Push". However, whenever he pushes, it does some kind of damage to his brain and gives him severe headaches.
Vicky McGee :
Vicky also took part in "Lot 6", she has occasional telekinesis, that is she can sometimes move things using only her mind.
Charlene McGee :
Charlie is something completely different, she has inherited psychic powers from both her Mum and Dad. She is telekinetic, has a touch of mindreading, but most significantly, she is pyrokinetic and can light fires with the force of her mind.
Dr Wanless :
Dr Wanless is the scientist who conducted the original experiment. He is the epitome of a mad scientist and is now obsessed with the result, that is Charlie.
Cap is the head of "The shop" a secret government agency, that seems completely above the law. A, quite sympathetic character, who is trying to clear up the mess left by his predessor.
A truly frightening character, Rainbird is a native American, who is "The Shops" best assassin.
There are, of course, many other characters within the story, all equally well written.
The Stories Within The Story
As with all Stephen King books, there are underlying storylines, dealing with among others Charlie's relationship with her father, and her desire to live a quiet life with him. It is this depth that makes this such a good story.
Horror or Paranoid Drama?
I guess this will depend on what you as a person find frightening. I personally would put this book firmly as a horror. I remember when I first read it, being truly frightened by some of the characters. But, my best friend at the time, couldn't see anything scary as such, but we both agreed it was a great book.
A Good Read
Definitely ! ! !
Firstly, I love Stephen King's style of writing, the way you are drawn into the plot and need to know what happens next. Then the story itself is so compelling, each of the characters has some trait, that makes you want to find out what happens to them. Reading the book as an adult, is a very different experience to that as a teenager, now I'm older and know a little bit more about what America was like at the time the book was written, I can understand the paranoid undertones more.
However, this is not a book for those of the Mills & Boon disposition, there are no love stories, except that of family love, this is a gripping horror/drama from start to finish.
First Published : 1980
Publisher : Plume/Penguin
ISBN : 0452273307/0451167805
No. Pages : 416
Price : From 46p on Amazon Marketplace, or borrow it from your library for free.
There is also a DVD available starring a very young Drew Barrymore as Charlie, which is a very good adaptation.
Summary: Great pyschological horror