Monday, August 24, 2015

Review ~ Horns by Joe Hill

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Author: Joe Hill
Available Formats: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 01-30-10                        Pages: 446
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples. 

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 So-Called Review:
Back in May I signed up to take part in a Recommendation Swap in one of my Goodreads groups. The point of the swap is that you get randomly paired with another member (hopefully someone you don’t know) and then you each recommend a book that you’ve read and hope the other person will enjoy. The risk you’re taking is that you could be paired with someone who reads very different genres, luckily that didn’t happen to me! I was paired with a fabulous partner and we chatted for days about books that we love. Turns out we’re both huge fans of thrillers, suspense & horror so it was a lot of fun! My partner recommended for me, Horns by Joe Hill; it’s been on my TBR list for years and one that I probably wouldn’t have read without a little push. As a King fan I figured I’d be too busy comparing the two on their technique and writing style instead of just enjoying the story. Turns out I needn’t had worried at all!

Horns is the story of Ig Perrish and boy what a story this is! Ig wakes up one morning with a hell of a hangover and quickly discovers he has horns growing out of his head. After his initial shock dies down he concludes that he must be hallucinating, some side effect from a wild night, and therefore must get to a doctor immediately. It’s these initial chapters, where he interacts with his current girlfriend, the folks in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and then with his own family that are absolutely hysterical and equally disturbing. No one seems to think there’s anything odd about the horns sprouting from his head but they sure are compelled to share all their deep, dark secrets with him. Then the moment Ig is out of their sight they seem to forget they even saw him or what they talked about. Ig doesn’t understand what’s happening to him nor why but it doesn’t take long for him to decide what to do with these strange powers while he has them.

One year ago, Ig’s childhood sweetheart and the love of his life, was tragically and violently murdered. The crime was never solved and since Ig and Merrin were in a public fight the night she died he’s believed by most in town to be her murderer even though there’s little evidence to support this. Ig’s life has pretty much been a hard downward spiral the past year, he’s lost almost everything and everyone and feels like he’s literally living in his own hell. This becomes even more apparent when Ig goes to his family for help with his horn problem and instead finds out what they really think of him. Now that he has the power of the devil behind him he chooses to take the course of solving Merrin’s murder and then exacting revenge for the hideous crime against her.

One thing that really surprised me was how quickly Ig finds out who murdered Merrin. When it was revealed I kinda stopped and wondered what was going on since we weren’t even at the halfway point in the story. What Hill does is then go back in time to when our main characters were young teens and he gives us the story of how Ig and Merrin come to be and the relationships between Ig and his brother and best friend. This was so bloody brilliant of Hill because by the time we returned to the present I was so much more invested in these characters and their story. I was devastated when I realized that Merrin would still die and she & Ig wouldn’t get their happy ending. But it’s these feelings that make it all the more satisfying as Ig tracks down the murderer and sets forth on his plan for revenge!

I really love books that are a cross between different genres but so rarely is it pulled off to the point of not even noticing it. Usually if an author crosses over too many genres I notice and the story begins to feel unrealistic or a bit corny, almost like the author is trying to shove too much in their book at once. Horns is equal parts a horror story, a paranormal story, a crime story, and a love story with some philosophy and dark satire thrown in there for fun and it’s quite frankly flawless! The only thing I noticed once I’d finished reading and was reflecting back was how much Hill’s ability to write in this way reminded me of King’s early work. Therein lies the only similarity I found between the two authors.

Horns was a fantastic read for me, I loved it! It was so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I would absolutely recommend this to fans of dark, gritty stories that encompass many themes and give you a lot to ponder and think about after you’ve finished reading. I will definitely be reading more of Hill’s books in the future and I now look forward to watching the movie. Even though I doubt it will live up to my love of the book, it will be entertaining to see Harry Potter sporting horns and playing this darkly comedic role! 

About the Author:
Joe Hill is the author of three novels, Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, and NOS4A2, as well as a prize-winning collection of stories, 20th Century Ghosts. He also wrote a pair of comics: Locke & Key and Wraith (which ties into the world of NOS4A2). Some nice people gave him an Eisner Award for his work in funny books, which is a great honor, even if “funny” probably doesn’t do a good job of describing the kinds of things that happen in the comics. Come to think of it, his comics aren’t very comic either.

You can get nearly daily doses of his pithy one-liners and mind-numbing insights over on Twitter, where he goes by the inspired handle of joe_hill. He blabs about all things pop culture over on his Tumblr, Joe Hill’s Thrills. Now and then he even updates this website.


Post a Comment