A spiritual and intellectual sequel to Stephen King’s Firestarter; it picks up where that book left off in more ways than one. Junko Aoki, born with the power of pyrokinesis, lives a compulsively anonymous life while using her powers to render the kind of justice the authorities seem incapable of. Her power soon draws the attention of not only the police but the “Guardians”, an underground network of other people with inhuman capabilities. Any initial comparisons to King’s book quickly get put aside: this is its own story, with its own ideas and its own troubling implications. Those who are familiar with Miyabe from her young-adult epic Brave Story may be thrown for a bit of a loop, but those who come in from her mystery and crime titles (e.g, All She Was Worth) will see many familiar threads: the close observance of domestic details, or the way she probes most every situation for its ethical quandaries. And if you’ve read nothing by her at all, this is as good a place to start as any. The live-action film adaptation, Pyrokinesis, follows most of the original plot but suffers from embarrassing inconsistencies of tone; it’s best if you’ve already read the book and don’t mind having the story trashed by some really patchy direction.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind