Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fire Sermon

(The Fire Sermon #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  6,675 ratings  ·  1,173 reviews

The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy's The Road in this richly imagined first novel in a new postapocalyptic trilogy by award-winning poet Francesca Haig.

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is b

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Gallery Books (first published August 14th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fire Sermon, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sean Conner No major cliffhanger. Some minor things are still left unanswered and their full story isn't done. But you could think of it like the harry potter ser…moreNo major cliffhanger. Some minor things are still left unanswered and their full story isn't done. But you could think of it like the harry potter series where this part of a larger story is finished and the next will be a continuation with new things happening alongside the normal things already happening.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,675 ratings  ·  1,173 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon, #1)
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-biggest-fear
the first book in any fantasy-dusted series has one job: to tell the reader what’s up with this world. and this book does that, but it does so in a breathless rush that never addresses the underlying questions attached to “what’s up with this world,” like “how” and “why” things are this way. it’s a crucial part of writing; the world-building, because without accounting for more than just the surface details, it’s like listening to someone tell you about a crazy dream they had:

so, there was a bl
Sean Barrs
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This has such an excellent start that I was immediately drawn into the fascinating story. It's set in a post-apocalypse world that has been destroyed by a catastrophic event, called the Fire Sermon, which has killed thousands of people. In the aftermath of the blast the only children that are born are twins. One is perfect, the Alpha, and the other is deformed, the Omega. They are separated at birth, when their categories are usually known, and are forced to live apart. The Alphas live like king ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopian, 2015
In short: Good world building, good writing but unappealing characters.

I can understand why this book has already been optioned by Dreamworks for a movie. The world building is quite unique and fascinating and the author has done a great job describing it from Cass’ point of view, an Omega seer. As a reader you really get a feel for the post-apocalyptical world the characters are living in.

At first the book took of great but and the story was told well, the pacing was just right but then, durin
Sarah Churchill
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Loved the writing - I've heard that Haig is a poet, and that definitely shows in the writing, some of it is just downright beautiful. I also enjoyed the world itself, though no real information was given about the disaster that caused this postapocalyptic world and I would have liked to know more. Maybe in book 2!

Character wise, the protagonist is likeable enough although I did find her a bit whiny, and I would have liked a little more growth from her, but again... maybe in book 2! I liked some
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction/Blue Door and NetGalley.)

“I’m on my way to achieving something big. I can’t let you get in my way.”

This story had lots of potential, but it didn’t quite fulfil it for me.

Cass was a strong character, and she held up well against the threat of the alphas and the situations she was put in. Kip was also a likeable character, and the pair worked pretty well togethe
Mara YA Mood Reader
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This was just okay. Superbly written but lacking in a way I can’t place. I was left feeling very disconnected and without much of a care of what’s to come. I don’t see myself continuing on with the trilogy.

This came highly recommended to me and the premise was very intriguing and even the short bit I read in a sample had me rushing to my library to procure an actual copy.

But it just didn’t grip me. The characters were a bit dull, 2D. They were on the run for 90% of the book which put me to sle
Anna (Enchanted by YA)
So much potential, yet this book fell flat.

Now, I’m writing this review for myself as much as anyone because I want to figure out where everything went wrong.

Nothing particularly sticks out to me as the reason that I gave The Fire Sermon only 2 stars – there wasn’t anything which immediately put me off like insta-love or infodumps etc. Quite the opposite really, I found there were things which could have pulled me into the story – the thing is they didn’t.

Everything was so… impossibly… slow… tha
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it

This story follows the synopsis pretty well. The Fire Sermon definitely has Cormac McCarthy’s The Road feel to it. In the far future, after a nuclear apocalypse, the survivors carry a genetic abnormality. Every baby is born a fraternal twin, one boy one girl. One twin is “normal” (Alpha), the other twin has a congenital abnormality (Omega) and is born sterile. In rare instances, the Omega has psychic ability and no physical abnormality. Every twin is linked even though they are separated as soon
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A grudging 3 stars.

Dystopian fiction is a hook that gets me every time. Judging by the prevalence of this kind of story recently, I'm not alone in that. I think we sense this modern world we live in is a fragile one, unsustainable or riven with cracks that just need the slightest pressure to fracture the whole. We're desperate to know 'what happens when it all falls apart?'

The greater premise of this story is one that addresses this question. Characters talk of 'the Blast', seemingly a nuclear
Diane S ☔
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it
A great premise, and a terrifying new world where the Alphas are on top, their twins, the Omegas on bottom. Loved the catch that they must protect their twins at the same time they are keeping them at the bottom of the social and ruling scale. Leads to some horrible and unique ways of keeping them safe.

Yet, this reads like a YA book, the romance between two of the Omega escapees seems trite, and some of the lightness in very dangerous moments did not ring true. It bothered me, but might not both
Max Lau • Maxxesbooktopia
3.5 Stars [Review to come]
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-read
Not quite a 4, but more than a 3 so I'm rounding it up.

The Fire Sermon is a debut novel about a post-apocalyptic world in which everyone is born with a fraternal twin. One twin is the alpha, and one the omega. Every omega twin is marked by a physical deformity of some kind while the alpha is not. Rarely, an omega twin will be born with no physical deformity, but will instead have some psychic power as a seer. The twins are linked for life however, and when one dies, so does the other.

A social st
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
2.5 stars
This is the plot and what happened I'm doing this cause I don't want to read this again. Read if you don't want to continue with this book.
(view spoiler)
Page one, first line, and I. Am. Hooked. That was all it took and not once did my mind wander! The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig was pure magnetic reading for me.

In a post-apocalyptic world, hundreds of years into the future Earth as we know it does not exist. In its place is a primitive world where singular births no longer exist and each pregnancy ends with the birthing of twins, one whole, normal and desirable, called an Alpha. One is always born with some type of deformity, limbless, blind,
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, can't believe I've started with decimal stars!

Imagine a setting, far into it future, where the world has been scorched by fire; parts are uninhabitable, parts arable and a lot seems unexplored. Using our knowledge we can assume that there has been some sort of nuclear event- the fire sermon. The event seems to have been caused by evil Electric but given we're in the future with no technology, or living memory, we don't have the finer details. This doesn't matter.

Now imagine the fall out, th
Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*

I really need to stop rating books while I'm still in the afterglow stages of reading. I almost always come back later and pull it down a star or two after considering the plot holes and flaws in the book.

I saw this cover in a book store a few months ago and simply stared at it for a few moments. The publisher and author would have to be confident in both the cover art and the content to be able to put out a book like this.

And their gamble worked. It got my attention.

The Fire Sermon is a post-ap
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TRIGGER WARNING: Ableism, and lots of it. The society based on ableism, so it's pretty inescapable. Thankfully, the story is told from the point of view of someone who believes that ableism is wrong - otherwise the book would've been unreadable.

Is The Fire Sermon post-apocalyptic or fantasy? Maybe it's supposed to be both. The post-apoc elements work best, but the fantasy elements had me questioning the world-building.

There was a nuclear blast, which blighted the land and decimated the populatio
Kennedy Liggett
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-shelf
I feel torn with this book because it had the potential to be really good, and at certain points I started to believe that maybe it was beginning to become what I thought it was capable of.

However... now that I am done with the book, I feel disappointed.

The general idea of the book was clever- Every person has a twin, but one twin has a deformation while the other twin remains unscathed. Twins are separated at birth based on the ideals of society, and one girl (Cass), is determined to change tha
Jenny (Reading Envy)
For a post-apocalyptic novel to really work, it needs to be plausible. There are a few problems with this new series that disconnected me from the story - all of the sudden, everyone has a twin! And one of the twins (but only one, always) has a deformity! And society is divided into Alphas and Omegas. Except if your twin dies, you die. I actually like the consequences to this divided society, to the extra risk of murder/illness for your twin, but it isn't explained. It would have been more belie ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was kindly given a copy of this by the nice folks at HarperVoyager when I went to interview for a job there in 2014*, so I feel slightly guilty about the lukewarm review I'm about to write, but I honestly can't give this more than 2.5 stars.

The book is set in a dystopian future in which humanity have survived a huge 'blast', but the few stragglers that survived have mutated due to the radiation** so that every single time a woman gives birth she has twins, they are always twin pairs of one ma
Received book through Goodreads First Reads

This book was so different from others that I have read and I utterly loved it! It was wonderfully written and the story was unique with a great concept to it. The characters were well thought out as well(I especially loved Kip).

It was the opposite of predictable which I absolutely loved! The storyline kept you on your toes as you didn't know what to expect was going to happen next. The story is full of uncertainty.

The ending had a huge twist to it that
Lala_Loopsie [fire breathing B!tch Queen]
DNF at 80%

I couldn't continue with the book

1. because the book was due back at the library

2. It didn't draw me in, it was as simple as that.

After reading so many (not that many) sci-fi (read: "dystopian"), they all just end up being the same. Oppressed society and revolution because of one special little lady, and bam—you have it.

So excuse me, but this is not my favourite genre.
Janie Johnson
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-challenge
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This book is a YA dystopian. I don't read a lot of dystopian but this one sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up and give it a try because the concept was different from most. I am really glad I did because I found the story very engaging and fast paced.

In this story we have a world of Alpha and Omega. Alpha are the strong people and Omega are considered the weak, dead ends, and poisonous. When children are born they
British author Francesca Haig has created a really interesting world in her debut novel The Fire Sermon. Four hundred years after an explosion that nearly destroyed the world life is very different for the survivors, technology was blamed for the apocalyptic event and is now banned so in a lot of ways it is like taking a step back in time and living in the past. Ever since the blast babies have been born in pairs, there is always one boy and one girl and there is always one Alpha and one Omega. ...more
Chihoe Ho
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
"The Fire Sermon" is definitely one debut novel to watch for in 2015. While not quite on par with the dazzling brilliance that was 2014's Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Francesca Haig has written a solid dystopian novel that will thrill fans of the genre, and that will entertain more on the big screen since even before publication, it has already been optioned by DreamWorks as a feature film.

When talking about "Red Rising", one of the things I mention about what makes an outstanding dystopian franc
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Review on That's Normal:
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

I feel the need to be very upfront about some sensitive issues in this book. In this post-apocalyptic world, some genetic anomaly has occurred and every person is born with a twin. One twin is seemingly "perfect"/"healthy" (this is the Alpha twin) while the other is generally born with a congenital abnormality and is unable to reproduce (the Omega twin). Alphas have basically no time for their Omega twin, and would likely just kill them at birth (this is said sensitive subject material) but
Karen’s Library
I’ve had The Fire Sermon on my shelves for several years and my best book friends who know me kept telling me to read it already. Well... I finally did. And once again, as usual, they were right. They knew I’d enjoy it.

Cass is an Omega twin. Her brother is the Alpha twin. Everyone in this post-apocalyptic world has a twin and one is Alpha and one is Omega. Alphas are born perfect, and Omegas are born deformed in some way. Most have a major deformity easy to see like no eyes, or a missing limb, o
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Swint
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
To see this review and others:

‘The Fire Sermon’ is Francesca Haig’s debut and first book in her dystopian trilogy. It takes place after The Blast. The ruins of cities are left to fall apart empty and quiet. Fear surrounding them comes from old stories of radiation and The Council forbids all from entering them. In this new agrarian society people are always born in twins. One twin is the Alpha and the other a disfigured Omega. The Omega’s are cast out of
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Dickens Mirror (Dark Passages, #2)
  • Das Flüstern
  • Dead Drop
  • The Killing Plot (The Rising Resolution, #1)
  • The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives
  • Bloodlines
  • Monday's Lie
  • Truth Lies Buried
  • Gone for Good (Detective Annalisa Vega, #1)
  • Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders (The Neil Flambé Capers #1)
  • The Shadow Thieves (Cronus Chronicles, #1)
  • The Revival (The Young World, #3)
  • Lügenengel
  • Without Trace (Morgan Vine, #1)
  • Plakať som si zakázala
  • Plakať je dovolené
  • Spoločníčka
  • We Jace you a Clary Xmas
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Francesca Haig is the author of the post-apocalyptic Fire Sermon trilogy (The Fire Sermon; The Map of Bones; and The Forever Ship), translated into more than 20 languages.

Her latest novel, The Cookbook of Common Prayer, is published in June 2021 (UK; July 2021 for Australia and New Zealand).

Francesca gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, and worked as an academic before becoming a full

Other books in the series

The Fire Sermon (3 books)
  • The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon, #2)
  • The Forever Ship (The Fire Sermon, #3)

News & Interviews

Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
98 likes · 79 comments
“I’m not sure that secret goat-farming is the most effective show of defiance.” 10 likes
“A history written in ashes, in bones. Before the blast, they say there'd been sermons about fire, about the end of the world. The fire itself gave the last sermon; after that there were no more.” 6 likes
More quotes…