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Firestarter

by
3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  132,393 Ratings  ·  1,557 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
...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 1st 1981 by Signet (first published September 29th 1980)
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Taylor It is certainly not a waste of time!! There are twists throughout the book that I didn't see coming so I think you should give it a try, especially if…moreIt is certainly not a waste of time!! There are twists throughout the book that I didn't see coming so I think you should give it a try, especially if you like Stephen King. (less)
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
22nd out of 122 books — 2,699 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
126th out of 1,361 books — 17,768 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Jun 27, 2016 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
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 Prodigy 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
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Anne
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
...more
Councillor
Buddy Read with Anne

Have you ever thought about how it would be like to possess superpowers like being able to set things on fire with the simple power of your thoughts? Surely you have, even if pyrokinesis might not precisely be what people imagine when thinking about superpowers. Just think about it for a moment: You could wander through the streets and destroy entire cities; you could burn the people who want something bad to happen to you; you have all the power necessary to climb to the ver
...more
Anne
May 06, 2016 Anne rated it did not like it
Firestarter was my second book by Stephen King. Somehow it managed to be a lot worse than Carrie, which was my first. I'll be bluntly honest with you, reading this almost felt like flipping through 520 pages of nothing. I guess it's easy to forgive this disappointment because this book is early King, and regardless of the fact that I'm not an expert in the King field, it seems that this lacked a certain va-va-voom factor which his books are known for. And besides, Fabian is a King expert and he ...more
Ron
Apr 02, 2016 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jeff
Mar 10, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en1uwI...

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
...more
Paul Nelson
Nov 04, 2014 Paul Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-books-read
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
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Edward Lorn
Apr 08, 2015 Edward Lorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
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
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Chris
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
...more
Nandakishore Varma
Nov 20, 2015 Nandakishore Varma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This was the first novel of Stephen King I bought - well, not exactly me. I was laid up in bed with a dislocated knee and my aunt bought it for me, to keep me through the monotonous days.

But somehow, I never got around to reading it at that time. It was only about an year later, after finishing The Shining, that I read it. By that time I was willing to love anything by Stephen King, and this book didn't disappoint.

Charlene McGee is a girl with a gift - pyrokinesis, i.e., the ability to set thing
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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
Franco  Santos
2.5

Es un libro que empieza con muy buen ritmo, muy rápido, sin embargo, a medida que iba avanzando se me hacía cada vez más pesado. En la mitad ya me era muy tedioso; no lo soportaba.

Tiene como 350 páginas sumamente aburridas, repetitivas, pesadas, lentas. Perdón, King, pero este libro no fue para mí. Hay gente que lo ama, lamentablemente yo no puedo decir lo mismo.

Tengo que aceptar, no obstante, que el final me encantó.

Un punto positivo -además del inicio y el final- fueron los personajes. Son
...more
Thomas Strömquist
Stephen Kings 9th is for me truly a partly hidden (or at least partly forgotten) gem! This sailed up amongst my very favorites of this mans books now and is the first that I actually changed (the 5-level) rating of following my re-read. The book starts in the midst of a breathtaking white knuckle hunt for a man and his daughter and does not stop for as much as a breather during the first third.

The eventual decrease of the furious pace comes with an increase of terror and dread though, so no res
...more
Kathryn
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
...more
Mitticus
(Reading Challenge: 10. Un bestseller del New York Times)

A cautionary tale about not get involved in paid college experiments, no matter how much you need the money.

Si estás en busca de un libro de horror, esto no es lo que buscas. Creo que podria definirse más bien como uno de conspiración gubernamental.

Lo tienen encerrado en una habitación pequeña con una puerta que no puede abrir y una cerradura que no puede forzar. Lo someten a pruebas. Dobla llaves. Cierra puertas. Y según me han dicho, es
...more
Ken McKinley
May 07, 2016 Ken McKinley rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, own-kindle
Andy and his daughter Charlene, Charlie for short, are on the run. A government agency known as The Shop are after them. Years ago, The Shop was responsible for administering a secret experiemental drug into the veins of Charlie's parents when they were broke and naive college kids. The drug, called Lot Number Six, went helter-skelter through most of it's test subjects causing carnage which required a massive government effort to coverup the mess. For Charlie's parents, something in the drug alt ...more
Joe Valdez
Jun 07, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
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 King's 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
...more
Ben Loory
Sep 17, 2015 Ben Loory rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rade
Apr 16, 2015 Rade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure how to describe this book. It is good, it is emotional at times, and it is creepy in a subtle way. Once again King shines in his ability to depict real characters who are not one dimensional or shallow, the kind that you can cheer on as they progress throughout the book and hope they don't get whacked by the end of it.

Lots of emotion in this one as a dad who gets cornered tries to assure his young daughter that she will eventually have a normal life, free of running and free to pu
...more
David Sarkies
Apr 18, 2015 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stephen Kings fans an people who like a different kind of horror
Recommended to David by: Jeremy Groffen
Shelves: horror
An inversion of the supernatural horror
2 August 2012

This book is a good example of why I like a lot of Stephen King's earlier books; while it deals with horror-like themes we are not dealing with hordes of zombies or vampires plotting to take over the world but rather with an extra-ordinary girl who is on the run from the government. Most of the horror movies that I have seen, or the ones that like to have the moniker of horror, deal with a supernatural creature who pursues the mundane, however
...more
Lynn
Mar 08, 2012 Lynn rated it really liked it
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
...more
Ruth Turner
Feb 20, 2015 Ruth Turner rated it liked it

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.

***

Ebook:

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
...more
Stefan Yates
May 10, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
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
...more
Erik Graff
Jul 11, 2011 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
Brian
Dec 09, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, sci-fi
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
Latasha
meh. it was ok.
Nikki
Mar 13, 2009 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
Dec 01, 2012 Spider the Doof Warrior rated it really liked it
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.

So
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Stephen
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.
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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
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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.” 38 likes
“No one likes to see a government folder with his name on it.” 34 likes
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