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Firestarter

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  190,032 ratings  ·  3,135 reviews
The Department of Scientific Intelligence (aka "The Shop") never anticipated that two participants in their research program would marry and have a child. Charlie McGee inherited pyrokinetic powers from her parents, who had been given a low-grade hallucinogen called "Lot Six" while at college. Now the government is trying to capture young Charlie and harness her powerful f ...more
Mass Market Paperback, US / CAN Edition, 403 pages
Published 1998 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)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jon He wants to see if he can see some kind light in her eyes that may show in the way to the after life.

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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  190,032 ratings  ·  3,135 reviews


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Mario the lone bookwolf
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: king-stephen
We don´t need no water, let the pyrokinesis burn, burn one hotter with obsessive compulsive forced washing mysophobia, burn.

The, at the time of publishing still hot, cold war spy conspiracy secret agency setting with the human free drugs experimentation background, makes it a suspenseful read, especially as it escalates towards more complexity than in other of King´s works, especially including a kind of meta level, not focusing on the local dread and terror or cosmic horror, but on the conseq
...more
Anne
Buddy Read with my pal, The Jeff.

description

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.

description

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 re
...more
Dan Schwent
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books, 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
...more
Johann (jobis89)
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You're a firestarter, honey... just one big Zippo lighter."

Andy and Vicky McGee take part in a top-secret government experiment, gaining psychic powers. Then they have a daughter - Charlie. Charlie demonstrates even more power than her parents and they must keep her abilities secret, as the government wants Charlie back.

Firestarter was one of the few "classic" Kings I had left to read (I had never watched the movie either), and yet I wasn't particularly excited about it, it seemed like a Carrie
...more
Matthew
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Only people trying to read all of King's works
This was an audio re-read – I last read this probably 15 to 20 years ago. My original remembered review was 3 stars and it will remain the same. I always hope the second time will be better and it will move up to 4 or 5 stars, but that just doesn’t always happen.

Can I confidently say why I am not going higher? I give a few examples below, but it is more of a feeling . . . a feeling that did not break as I worked my way through the book. I kept hoping for moments that would make me wonder why I o
...more
Joe Valdez
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heat seekers, warm hearts, trailblazers
Pushing four paperbacks across the counter of the Mission Viejo Public Library last week, all by the same author, the librarian asked me, sarcastically, "Do you like Stephen King?" My response was that I'd just returned Misery and three books by other authors, but the only one I didn't quit within 10 pages was King's. Volunteering for Elizabeth Warren since August, I've written only fitfully but experiencing Paul Sheldon duel with Annie Wilkes on the page, felt my creative pilot light click on. ...more
Edward Lorn
Sep 20, 2014 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 characte
...more
Matt
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Needing a little King horror in my life, I turned to this classic piece by the author who never seems to run out of ideas. While he was ‘banned’ in my house growing up, I have come to find out just how masterful King can be and his varied ideas keep me coming back for more. Andy McGee and his daughter are on the run from a ruthless group of government agents, call The Shop. The McGees crept under the radar not long after Andy’s wife was killed and young Charlie was sought by The Shop for their o ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Firestarter, Stephen King

Firestarter is a science fiction-horror thriller novel by Stephen King, first published in September 1980. Andy and Charlene "Charlie" McGee are a father/daughter pair on the run from a government agency known as The Shop.

During his college years, Andy had participated in a Shop experiment dealing with "Lot 6", a drug with hallucinogenic effects similar to LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide). The drug gave his future wife, Victoria Tomlinson, minor telekinetic abilities an
...more
Carol
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pushes and shoves can be a dangerous thing....as can Fear, Pain and Fire!

FIRESTARTER had me at the get-go with a super-intense, spring-into-action run as 34 year old Andy McGee and daughter Charlie, 7 flee for their lives with no money and only the clothes on their back.

The story alternates between Andy's college days bringing to light how the need for an extra $200 bucks brought him to present day terror in search for a way out....a way to survive....a way to keep his daughter safe.

There is

...more
Jamie Stewart
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Daviau
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While Firestarter doesn’t quite crack my top five King books, it does come pretty damn close! While I do find the idea of pyrokinesis and telekinesis fascinating and it is no doubt a big part of what makes this book so good, that’s not what makes this book great to me. For me, what really seals the deal, is the beautiful relationship between Charlie and her father. There’s just so much love and trust there, it’s incredibly touching and what makes me love this book so much!
Amber
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooksiown
Charlie McGee and her father Andy are two people on the run from the shop a group of ruthless government mad doctors that wants to experiment on Charlie for her powerful pyrokinesis powers. Can they survive? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read. If you enjoy Stephen King's books, definitely check this out at your local library and wherever books are sold.
Jeff
Jul 28, 2014 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
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: king
Part of February's #reviewking19 project where I revisit my Goodreads reviews of King books I've read.
Firestarter. This one flies under the radar when it comes to Stephen King standouts. The popular kids: IT, Salem's Lot, The Shining, Misery steal a lot of the limelight.
But it's King's lesser known titles that truly standout as favorites for me.
I read this book in high school and I'm particularly fond of it.
Honestly, this has more of a Science Fiction/Thriller vibe to me, rather than "horror" bu
...more
Manuel Antão
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1980
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.



Page-Turning Foofaraw: "Firestarter" by Stephen King




(Original Review, 1980-09-21)


The popularity of "occult" novels haunts the science fiction community. We of all people are expected to pay serious attention to stories based on semiliterate misreadings of religious apocrypha. Not based, mind you, on either testament of the Bible, but on superstitions which Catholic, Protestant and Jewish theologians can tell you are mostly transformati
...more
Ron
Mar 27, 2016 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
Adam Brigue
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, probably one of my favourite Stephen KING novels. The story evolves very gracefully while keeping you on your toes. Well done to Stephen for creating such world's and characters with supernatural powers!
Fabian {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
Rebecca McNutt
Firestarter was one of the first Stephen King books I ever read. I had seen the 1980's film adaptation when I was nine years old, and I read the book back when I was ten, but it's been quite awhile since I've revisited the book. King's idea for a child with mysterious powers that neither science nor mysticism seem to be able to entirely capture was not so unique for its time (he had already released Carrie, not to mention other works not of his such as The Midwich Cuckoos), but Firestarter stood ...more
Lata
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More enjoyable than I anticipated. I say this because I saw a dramatization of this book years ago, and it totally tainted my perception of this story and kept me from picking this up.
Now that I’ve finished it, I can say that though I recognized certain kinds of characters that repeatedly crop up in King's stories, I still liked the way the characters in this story worked together. The verbal patter between characters is dense and colourful (as expected with any King story), the stakes are high
...more
Ken
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason Firestarter always seems to get overlooked in various King lists, but it’s got all the hallmarks that makes he’s stories so popular.

Andy and Daughter Charlie are on the run from a government agency known as The Shop.
Andy had participated in experiments during the 1960’s that gave him the ability to auto-hypnotic, whilst meting he’s future wife Victoria, she also gained minor telekinetic abilities.
But it was their child Charlene McGee who gained frightening powers.

Kings not advers
...more
Anne
Mar 19, 2016 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
Paul Nelson
Sep 23, 2014 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
...more
Chris
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Suzanne
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time and just never got around to it. I am so glad I finally did because it was highly entertaining. I use to watch the movie with my mom and cannot believe it took me this long to finally get around to it. Enjoyed this read a good deal.
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 20, 2011 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
...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
Christy
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Oh. my. gosh. review to come.....
Glenn Sumi
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it


When I reviewed Stephen King's recent novel The Institute, about a mysterious place that exploits gifted children's powers, I wrote that there were echoes of previous King characters: Danny Torrance's telepathy, Carrie White's telekinesis.

My Goodreads friend Matt helpfully pointed out Charlie McGee's pyrokinesis (the ability to set things on fire) from the 1980 novel Firestarter. It was then that I realized I hadn't read the book – or even seen the movie starring Drew Barrymore.

Anyhow, now that
...more
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745,194 followers
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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