Full of Books

Firestarter by Stephen King Review

Title: Firestarter

Author: Stephen King

First published September 29, 1980

428 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780670315413 (ISBN10: 0670315419)

Rating: 3.91


Andy McGee and Vicky Tomlinson were just two college students participating in a seemingly harmless drug experiment run by a top-secret government agency known only as The Shop. But one year later, they were married and had a daughter named Charlie who possessed the ability to start fires with her mind.

Now eight years old, Charlie has learned to control her pyrokinesis with the help of her parents. But The Shop is still after her, wanting to use her power as a weapon.

As they chase her and her father across the country, Charlie must use her abilities to protect herself and seek revenge on those who have wronged her family.

With his signature blend of mesmerizing storytelling and bone-chilling horror, Stephen King delivers a tale of a young girl caught in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Will Charlie succumb to the seductive power of her own abilities, or will she use them to fight back against those who seek to control her?

Find out in Firestarter.

About the Author

Stephen Edwin King was born as the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. When Stephen was just two years old, his father left the family, and he and his older brother, David, were raised by their mother.

For part of his childhood, Stephen lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family lived, and in Stratford, Connecticut. Eventually, his mother moved the family back to Durham, Maine, when Stephen was eleven years old.

This move was prompted by his grandparents’ old age and incapacity, as his mother was needed to take care of them physically. The family received financial support and a small house from other relatives.

After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, his mother found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended grammar school in Durham and later Lisbon Falls High School, where he graduated in 1966. During his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper and was active in student politics as a member of the Student Senate.

He also became involved in the anti-war movement on campus, opposing the Vietnam War, which he believed was unconstitutional. In 1970, Stephen graduated with a B.A. in English and became qualified to teach at the high school level.

However, he was deemed unfit for the draft board examination due to high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

Stephen met Tabitha Spruce while they were both working as students in the Fogler Library at the University, and they got married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find a teaching job right away, the couple relied on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry and her student loan and savings, with occasional income from short story sales to men’s magazines.

Stephen’s first professional short story sale, “The Glass Floor,” was published in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines, which were later compiled into collections or featured in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, a public high school in Hampden, Maine, while continuing to work on his writing during evenings and weekends.

Editoral Review

Firestarter is a science-fiction thriller novel written by Stephen King, first published on September 29, 1980. King is one of the most prominent and prolific writers of the horror and suspense genre, with over 60 books to his name.

Firestarter showcases King’s signature style of blending real-world issues with supernatural elements and psychological depth.

The plot revolves around a young girl named Charlie McGee, who possesses the ability to start fires with her mind. Charlie and her father, Andy, are on the run from a secret government agency known as The Shop, which wants to capture and exploit Charlie’s powers for their own purposes.

Along the way, they meet other people with psychic abilities and struggle to control their powers while avoiding the deadly pursuit of The Shop.

The novel takes place in the late 1970s and deals with themes of government corruption, the abuse of power, and the consequences of scientific experimentation. It also explores the relationship between fathers and daughters, as Andy tries to protect Charlie from harm while coming to terms with his own past mistakes.

King’s writing in Firestarter is both compelling and chilling. He builds tension and suspense throughout the book, and the pacing is well-balanced between action and introspection.

The characters are well-developed, especially Charlie and Andy, who are both sympathetic and relatable despite their extraordinary abilities.

One of the book’s strengths is its exploration of the psychological effects of having psychic powers. King portrays these abilities as both a blessing and a curse, and he delves into the emotional and mental toll they take on the characters.

The scenes where Charlie uses her powers are particularly vivid and visceral, and they leave a lasting impression on the reader.

However, Firestarter is not without its flaws. Some of the secondary characters are underdeveloped, and the villains are somewhat one-dimensional.

Additionally, the ending feels rushed and unsatisfying, with some loose ends left unresolved.

Overall, Firestarter is a gripping and thought-provoking read that will appeal to fans of Stephen King’s work and the science-fiction genre. It raises important questions about the ethics of scientific experimentation and the consequences of unchecked power.

Despite its flaws, Firestarter is a classic King novel that still holds up today.

Rating: 4/5