The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus – AWESOMENESS!

The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus is a book that has been on my radar for a while.  The concept just sounded so cool and unique, and when I ran across a copy at a local library sale recently, I just had to have it.

And what a good choice I made.

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The Flame Alphabet is a book about a virus that occurs rendering children’s speech lethal.  Children’s speech sickens adults, eventually killing them.  Soon, all speech is lethal, while children are immune. . . but only until they are adults themselves.

Sam and Claire have a daughter, Esther, who is slowly killing them, being the difficult teenager that she is.  They leave her, as most adults do to their kids.

They also are part of this fictional sect of Judaism where Jews are “tapped” (like in a secret society) to practice their religion in these huts located around a wire-tapped hole in the ground.  It’s a unique and incredulous form of religion and plays a key part in the story.

The Flame Alphabet brings up so many questions like:

If all children are lethal does that mean the population will eventually die out because people won’t have more kids?

Will a vaccine be created?

What is this cool, made-up sect of Reconstructionist Judaism?

The Flame Alphabet makes you think deeply, and is not a light read, but it is one that will make an impression that is burned into your mind.

What are your thoughts on lethal speech?



21 thoughts on “The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus – AWESOMENESS!

  1. I loved the cover of this book. I loved the premise as well! But man oh man it was just too bizarre for this girl, lol. I’m super glad that you liked it Rebecca 🙂


    • It is a little out there for sure, but I think I needed a crazy, out there book. I just loved it.

      And that cover. . . wow, it’s genius. So simple yet really effective. Made out of paper. It’s awesome.


  2. Wow, this sounds crazy and weird but oddly intriguing? Although it just furthers my fear of little things/people. Kids are scary.


    • OMG yes! You would love this. For you, it’d just add to the whole “not wanting kids” thing. But for me, who totally will have kids at some point, it didn’t deter me, even though the concept is creepy/cool.


    • That’s probably why I loved it so much, because of its creativity. I mean, it’s not the most unique story line in general: virus kills tons of people. But the way that he thought of everything really was creative. I mean, speech is lethal? That’s just awesome.


  3. Rebecca, you’ve certainly brought a book to the table that makes a reader stop and think about whether or not you want to read it. A part of me says bring it on, and then the other part says I don’t think so. At some point, I’ll give it a try, after all I’m past those days of children/teenagers, except for the grandkids and greatgrands. 🙂 Great review, and yes, the cover is awesome too!


    • Sherrey,

      This book is one that it sounds like people love or hate. It’s not easy to be in the middle with this one. It’s a cool, unique concept and the book isn’t going to tie up all the loose ends, which I like. But some people don’t like that.

      Also, for some, the book is too bizarre. It was easy to read writing, but it’s not an easy read, if that makes sense!



  4. From here it seems it would be a quick book if it’s down to speech, I’m guessing the pacing fixes that. I’ve loved the cover since I saw it, the 3d-ness of it (it looks even more so in your photo!), one of those times I’d read a book solely for the cover. Knowing the premise I’d be even more compelled to read it.


    • It was!!!! And the cover is just also amazing. It’s made our of paper!! I mean, besides the obvious made out of paper since it’s a book cover. But like the picture on the cover is made out of paper. Maybe I’m being confusing 😛


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