Horns by Joe Hill

Posted February 8th, 2014 by in *Review / 1 comment

hornsTitle: Horns
Author: Joe Hill
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 2010
Classification: Adult Novel

Summary from Goodreads:

At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It’s time for a little revenge. . . . It’s time the devil had his due. . .

My Thoughts:

I did not come across this book on my own. I must give credit where credit is due; thank you Mike. Yes, I have mentioned one of my best  friends Mike on the blog a few times and he seems to appreciate it but I should be the one showing my appreciation towards him as if it was not for him, I would have not known about this gem of a book.

I must admit that horror novels are not a genre in which I have traversed quite often but I figured to give it a shot and much to my surprise, I was not scared but amazed by the sheer brilliance and grim, dark humor of this book. A lot of that is due in part to the author’s lineage. Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. A lot of Stephen King’s horror novels are blotted with some elements of dark humor to add depth to his novels. Not all books need be doom and gloom; a bit of the macabre humor does not necessarily lighten the mood as much as it enhances the thrills.

To accurately paint this book in a grim light in which it is intended might take some time so instead, I can detail the overall theme; the Devil is a human element and we can all relate to sin in one way or another. We are born of a blank slate but from our earliest onset of reactions and decisions which we make, we are molded but not defined by those actions. They lead us down a certain path in which we have to embrace in order to understand our own place in the world. But the main overall point to this book, at least the theme I took from it, was the Devil is not a villain. The Devil is just misunderstood, but aren’t we all?

How would you like to wake up one morning after a long night of indulging in pity drinking to find you have horns growing from your head? Ig Perrish undergoes just such an occurrence and it makes for a terrific read. This is one of the harder blog reviews I have had to write because I must be so vague as to not give away too much of the plot. It is the plot of this book that makes it so terrific but it is also somewhat hard to explain. I will do my best to describe it as much as I can without giving away anything crucial to the book.

The book is broken up into fifty chapters, with ten each divided into five different sections. It is a non-linear book and at times, it does bounce around between the past and the present, which only helps to add to its hellish tone. Each section has a title that presents the overall theme for that section. Joe Hill seems to have given the illusion that each section is independent of itself but in actuality, the sections are connected in various different ways; the reader is unaware of this til the very end for most of the plot points. That is a brilliant move on Hill’s part.

I was most impressed by the use of the Horns as a thematic device. The Horns themselves are a character and is an important character at that. The Horns acted as a gateway to a person’s soul and true feelings. The Horns also were able to influence the decisions of not just the characters around them but most importantly, Ig Perrish himself. Throughout the book, the reader is left wondering what the Horns intentions are and how they actually came to be placed on Ig Perrish’s head. Again, if I give this away then I will be giving away an integral part of the book.

To affectionately sum this review up, if you are looking for a mystifying horror/thriller novel filled with a bit of mystery and a whole lot of psychological mind boggling questions, then this book is the book for you. The son of Stephen King wrote this marvelous book that is soon to be a major motion picture starring Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. I was amazed by the sheer level of psychological intrigue and the many twists and turns this book took. Does it finalize itself and can be self contained with one story? More than likely, but I do wish that somehow, someway, I could revisit these characters.

Thank you Joe Hill (not sure why you wouldn’t want to be associated with your dad) and thank you Mike for the suggestion.




One Response to “Horns by Joe Hill”

  1. Christy

    They’re making this into a movie?! Sweet! It’s been so long since I read Horns, but I remember liking it a lot. Great review!

Leave a Reply

Enter your URL in the website field, then click here to leave a link to your posts below your comment!