Horns by Joe Hill review – Spoilers

Horns Joe Hill HorrorHorns
By: Joe Hill
Published 2010 by Gollancz 

Goodreads synopsis: Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more – he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone – raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances – with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty.

Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power – with just a touch he can see peoples’ darkest desires – to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man 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.

Be warned this book had adult themes in it, e.g. rape, violence and drug abuse. So if these things aren’t your thing maybe you should stay away from it.

Some people has categorized this book as horror. I can understand why but I have to disagree with that. It’s not at least classical fantasy like Frankenstein or Dracula. In my opinion this is more realism with a touch of fantasy. Half of the time I was disgusted with the things happening in this book and the other half I spent wanting to know what happened next. I gave this four out of five stars because it’s a great book even though it ruffled me time to time.

The main characters had great depth to them. Ig having these horns that make everybody confess his/hers darkest, deepest desires to him and finding out that there is indeed something fishy about his girlfriends death is driven to be Satan in this book. Joe Hill contemplates in the book that is the devil after all the bad guy or is he actually working alongside God? He explores this and other themes around religion. I can’t start to imagine how Ig felt after his family basically tells him that they are disgusted with him and doesn’t want to see him.

Other characters that I think were well constructed in the book were Merrin, Ig’s girlfriend and Lee, his best friend. We get to see Merrin only from the memories from the other characters because she has died a year ago. They had been high school love birds with Ig and years after that till Merrin announces that she wants to brake up and see other people. The same night she is killed and raped brutally in the woods. Lee at first seems like the good guy: he believes in God, is everybody’s friend and helps all the time. Slowly we get to see that there’s actually a darker side to him.

I feel that even though the book had pretty dark themes surrounding, it still got the “happy ending”. Maybe not a happy ending you might anticipate but happy nonetheless. After this book I certainly will check Joe Hill’s other books out. I actually bought recently Heart-Shaped Box by him which I will read hopefully in the near future.

Have you read Horns or Joe Hill’s other books? What were your thoughts? Please leave your thoughts about the book down in the comments.

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