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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  108,793 ratings  ·  1,223 reviews
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
Paperback, 404 pages
Published August 1st 1981 by Signet (first published January 1st 1980)
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The Stand by Stephen KingIt by Stephen KingThe Shining by Stephen KingMisery by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Best of Stephen King
23rd out of 123 books — 2,216 voters
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTwilight by Stephenie MeyerHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. RowlingThe Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The BOOK was BETTER than the MOVIE
125th out of 1,253 books — 17,019 voters

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Community Reviews

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Buddy Read with my pal, The Jeff.

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.
Don't get me wrong...the thought of that curls my toes.
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 had to do to his daughter, in order to keep her safe from herself.
The part that

Damn hippy musicians!

This was a buddy read with my bestest pal, Firestar.

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
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
This may very well be one of the earliest subtle horror stories from King. That said, this one wasn't a scare-fest out to make the reader piss himself/herself like many of his early works.

But here the terror is perhaps worse. In this novel, the "monsters" are normal human beings that work for the US government. Agents of The Shop earn a paycheck from the legitimate government to keep America "safe". They just might be scarier than Cujo, Barlow, Pennywise, Annie Wilkes, Tak, and the Crimson King
Edward (The Book Pusher) 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
Miss Kim
It all started with twelve broke college students. Andy’s friend told him about a drug trail at the university that was paying each participant $200. Thinking ‘easy cash’, Andy goes for it. He ends up spending an undetermined amount of time there and is given the drug which also contains some kind of hallucinogenic. He also meets the woman that would later become his wife, Victoria, and during the trial, they both realize they can communicate with out speaking. After it was over, both were unsur ...more
Joe Valdez
Jun 07, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heat seekers, warm hearts, trailblazers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sometimes King comes up with the best and most creative ideas. Firestarter was no exception. The whole idea behind a government experiment giving people "abilities" is pure genius. Then, to twist it a bit to make those abilities effect human genetics to give the offspring of those who participated in this government experiment have abilities as well? Genius. I loved the whole idea of the story.

When King does sci-fi, sometimes he really gets it right. The Dead Zone, anyone? It was one of the bes
Mar 08, 2012 Lynn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
Firestarter was the first Stephen King book I ever read and so it will always have a warm (no pun intended) place in my heart. However, I don't think nostalgia is the reason I still think fondly of it. I think it's just a pretty darn good story. I love the science fiction element, the relationship between Charlie and her dad and the description of their powers. I so wanted Andy's "push" power when I first read this.

Plus, I'm no literary historian but I have to think that The Shop has to be one
Ruth Turner

Audiobook – Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris – Excellent narration.

I’ve listened to quite a few audiobooks narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris and enjoyed them all. He’s one of my favourites.



I read this book not long after it was published and it was only just an alright read, so I never felt the need to read it again. Until now, when I’m rereading all of King’s books.

The Dead Zone was another book I didn’t particularly like, yet this time around I loved it. So, I hoped I that maybe the same t
Stefan Yates
When I read this one the first time in junior high, I distinctly remember not being able to finish it. After re-reading it, I have absolutely no idea why. King has put together a moving, engaging story with characters that you care about and some very well-written antagonists.

If you don't know already, the story is basically about a couple who participated in a research project in college where they were injected with drugs that produced some psychic powers, these drugs have had some residual ef
Erik Graff
Jul 11, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King fans
Recommended to Erik by: James Koehnline
Shelves: sf
After reading The Stand and getting a sense of why King was so immensely popular in the eighties, I borrowed my roommate's copy of Firestarter, then The Shining, then Pet Sematary. I definitely liked Firestarter the most.

The reason I liked Firestarter--and the movie based, somewhat raggedly, upon it--was because it contained several elements of interest to me: LSD, CIA, MK-ULTRA and wholesome family values. I'm a sucker for family values--or at least for my peculiar take on what would constitute
4.0 to 4.5 stars. On my short list for favorite Stephen King novel (other than the Dark Tower series which stands head and shoulders above all his other books). This one was great from start to finish. It also introduced the world to one of the truly great "evil" government agencies, "The Shop" which would play a role in several subsequent King novels.

Nominee: British Fantasy Award for Best Novel.
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Sarà pure un pargoletto di serie b rispetto alla hall of fame di King, ma a me questo thriller è piaciuto comunque.
Certo, alcune parti della trama sono all'insegna del sentito e risentito: i soliti malcapitati che per soldi si sottopongono a esperimenti di cui si sa poco e acquisiscono poteri paranormali, forse l'aggiunta sta nel fatto che due delle cavie si innamorano e si sposano e danno origine a un combo chiamato Charlene McGee, la famosa incendiaria che la Bottega - specie di associazione
When I was in my late teens, a friend of mine asked me to recommend to them a SK novel. I had read quite a few at that point, but decided to lend her my old beat-to-hell copy of Firestarter. I was sure she would love it. She returned it a month later. "He starts this book describing this, like, airport? It just goes on and on for pages and pages. I couldn't get into it."

My reaction? "Huh, I never noticed that before." I still don't notice it. I pick this up occasionally, to skim through and try
I really liked Firestarter. It's not a plot I've read Stephen King doing before (yet, anyway), although I suppose there's shades of Carrie. It's more science fiction/thriller than horror, definitely.

It's much denser than the books I've been reading lately by King -- Cell and From A Buick 8. More description, more stopping and starting, a longer time frame. It worked, for me, I got caught up in the story, I didn't want to put the book down, I got close to the characters and worried about them. Or
I'm not a Stephen King fan. I can count the number of Stephen King books I've read on one hand. But, I loved this one both times that I read it years ago. I still remember so much of it. It's really more of a sci-fi thriller than a horror novel. I love the character of Charlie. I just wanted to protect her from all the bad guys that wanted to use her. I cheered for her all the way.
Does Stephen King write scary books? Growing up, I imagined him as the type of author people read with the flashlight on, cover over their head, fearful look in their eye...

Thank you google image search for providing me with exactly the picture I had in mind:
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Yet, I haven't read one scary book by him. And I'm up to 5 or 6 books.

I have loved them all. But I'm not waking up in a cold sweat every night. (After reading his son's book, Heart-Shaped Box I pictured Craddock McDermott stan
Nov 24, 2007 Monk rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
This is one of Stephen King's rare forays into science fiction. Though just about every bookstore will lump it into the horror section, this book doesn't belong there.

It's the story about a man and a woman who were involved in a round of clinical experiments when they went to college. The drug they took was not only a hallucinogenic - it induced psychic abilities on the participants, however, it drove most of them nuts or killed them outright. Escaping this gruesome fate, as well as the governme
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
Few books are as karmic-ally satisfying as this one is. This is Stephen King at his best. You have this sympathetic family torn apart by the government experimenting on Andy McGee and his wife to be. As a result, they both gain powers. Andy can manipulate people to do what he wants them to do. His wife had low grade kinetic abilities. But, their daughter has the ability to create fire. Of course the government wants to get their hands on her, study her and maybe hone her into a deadly weapon.

Terrifying concept, this girl who can light fires with her mind. These aren't little piddly wink dinky doo fires for a few sticks to start a campfire so the kiddies can sing and dance and hold hands. This girl can start fires that rage at up around 2000 degrees fahrenheit. She's eight years old. Daddy, can I have that teddy bear? Um, sure darling. Daddy can I have spaghetti for supper just the way I like it? Sure baby. Supper's bad Daddy. I'm a little irritated at the moment. Sorry baby. It's g ...more
Reviewed First at Brunner's Bookshelf

I'm a big fan of Stephen King and I would like to think I can be considered a "Constant Reader". It was only a few years ago that I really got into his books and now I am on a mission to read everything by him. Whenever I need a new book to read and there isn’t anything really grabbing my interest on the top of my to-read pile I can rely on a King novel to keep me company.

I was in just such a need and my library had this one ready to go. I wasn’t sure if I w
Erin (*is in a reviewing slump*)
Having always been a big fan of the film, I was anxious to experience the fire starting abilities of Charlie in book form. Did the book end up leaving a burned imprint in my mind as much as the movie did?

Stephen Kings Firestarter, written in his older school style, begins with Charlie and Andy McGee on the run from a company called “The Shop”. The first few chapters are riddled with intriguing flashbacks to fill the reader in on current day situations and up the desperation of the protagonists p
I hadn't read this little gem in years. I'll stop and watch the movie on cable from any point, and I remembered (vaguely) that the book was better, but I was in for a surprise.

The story begins with two college students, Vicky and Andy McGee, in need of $200, volunteering for a scientific experiment being run by The Shop, a secret goverment agency, along the lines of the CIA or FBI. They have a 50/50 shot of being injected with the mysterious "Lot 6" or a placebo. Lot 6 is not the mild hallucinog
Apr 27, 2014 jzhunagev rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stephen King and Science Fiction fans
Recommended to jzhunagev by: the Voice
Firestarter is an engaging book filled with chase, action and suspenseful scenes and fiery carnage galore; on how father and daughter out maneuver government agents of The Shop who plan on exploiting them and the potential of their abilities not only for scientific study but for a nation’s need to be in the forefront of international arms race and eventual aspiration for world domination.

[Read the whole of my review on my book blog Dark Chest of Wonders and for many others.]
Un Lector Nocturno
Gran historia, grandes personajes, increibles descripciones (demasiado para mi, pero acepto que fueron buenas descripciones) Me hizo sentir la deseperacion de Charlie y su papá en todo momento. MUY BUEN LIBRO.
Emma Rj
Besides making me spontaneously sing Prodigy every time I look at the title, this King novel has so many different elements that intrigue me that I don't even know where to begin.

The premise is this: College students take part in a "safe and controlled" drug experiment run by a branch of the government similar to the CIA to earn some quick cash. The experiment leaves them with special powers like telekinesis and mental domination. And then let the games begin.

First we get into a eugenics sort of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The story begins with a man and his 7 year old daughter running from persons yet unknown. Through flashbacks, we learn who is chasing them and why.

When Andy McGee (the above-mentioned man) was in college, he joined in an experiment to make a quick two hundred dollars. This experiment was run by the government and injected into 12 students a “light hallucinatory” substance labeled Lot Six. During the experiment, Andy meets another student, Vicki Tomlinson who later becomes Vicki McGee. Of the tw
Little Charlie has a strange ability: She can light fires just by thinking about it. This is because her parents met each other at an experimental drug testing--which they both participated in for extra cash--and they both have weird powers as well. Her dad's mental domination ability causes him severe headaches and nosebleeds, but he's forced to use it to keep people from attacking him and his daughter once "The Shop" finds out what they can do. Eventually, of course, they're captured, and Char ...more
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more
More about Stephen King...
The Shining (The Shining #1) The Stand It Misery Carrie

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“The world, although well-lighted with fluorescents and incandescent bulbs and neon, is still full of odd dark corners and unsettling nooks and crannies.” 34 likes
“No one likes to see a government folder with his name on it.” 30 likes
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