Firestarter (1980) – Stephen King

It was going to happen sooner or later, I came across a Stephen King that really didn’t do it for me. There’s an idea at the core that I really enjoy, but it felt like King wasn’t exactly sure he wanted to go completely dark, in his telling of this tale.

Little Charlie McGee is a young girl, with special parents, and consequently, a unique gift. She has pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires with her mind, and she and her father, Andy, are on the run from one of the darkest agencies of the U.S. government, commonly known as, The Shop.

The Shop is mentioned in a number of King’s works, and they are obviously bad news, and we know that Andy and Charlie won’t be able to outrun them forever. The Shop has a Native American assassin on their tail, Rainbird, and soon, they’ll find themselves in his hands.

I think if I had read the book when it came out, it would have reverberated a little more with me, but reading it now, some thirty-nine years later, it doesn’t quite captivate as much as his other novels. We’ve had X-Men movies, The X-Files, and any number of paranormal films and science fiction related ideas featuring mutant abilities, and I’m sorry to say arguably done better.


I like Charlie in this book, but for the first time, I had the impression that King didn’t have her down right, he’s usually so good at writing young characters, and yet this time, I didn’t feel like he connected to her, like he could only relate storywise what was going on with her.

There are no real surprises in the story, and it seems to go from point a, to be, to c, with no real shocks or reveals. This was one King book I knew how it ended a short ways into it, and that has never happened to me with one of his books.

It’s predictable, familiar, and lacks some of the depth of some of his other characters and stories. But, like I said, that may be because over the years the story itself has become very recognizable.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid enough tale, and King tells it well, but it just didn’t hold me. On the flip side, I’m glad I have now read my least favorite Stephen King novel, and that means the rest should wonderfully entertain me – and that’s cool because there are some still to revisit, and some I have yet to read.

And I cannot wait to see which one I go after next! He’s still one of my favorite writers, and I love to explore the worlds he has created.

Which is your favorite? Your least?





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s