Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Horns by Joe Hill

Goodreads Synopsis

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with 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 had been 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. But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. Nothing Ig can do or 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—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. It's time for a little revenge . . . it's time the devil had his due . . .

My thoughts:

I bought Horns after reading a wonderful review by Chris Farnell at  Thanks Chris!

Containing one of the most original and intriguing premises I've ever read, Horns is a highly unusual book that explores the grey areas of good and evil using a mix of dark humor, the supernatural, and stark reality. It examines the ugly underbelly of human nature and forces us to consider our own personal demons. Horns was almost sinfully enjoyable and and a delightful guilty pleasure to read.

After a night of drunken debauchery, Ignatius Perrish wakes up to find that he has grown horns on his head. You would think that this would be fairly alarming for the people that see him, but one of the unusual powers these horns seem to possess is that of being overlooked or quickly forgotten by people. The more disturbing effect of these horns is that people who are within their range have the uncontrollable urge to confess their deepest darkest thoughts and wishes to Ignatius. This can be particularly problematic for Ignatius since most of these people believe he murdered his popular girlfriend and they generally do not think very nice thoughts about him nor do they wish him well. He explores the many facets to his newly acquired horns and discovers he can use them to not only find out what people really think, but also make suggestions that they are likely to act upon. Too bad about that free will thing, he can't seem to force people to do his bidding, only if its something they subconsciously want for themselves can he push them in any certain direction. He decides to use these powers to discover who really murdered the girlfriend who he loved more than anything. But what will he do when he finds the answers?

Most of the characters are highly unlikable but the story itself is compelling. The one thing that detracted from the book was the uneven pacing. While some of the book was edge of your seat exciting, other chapters crawled along at a snails pace. There were many  times when I wondered where the author was going with the story as it seemed he was going off into areas that had nothing to do with the plot, but all the pieces fell into place by the end. With a writing style and creative subject matter that is reminiscent of his famous father as well as authors like Clive Barker, Joe Hill is definitely an author to watch out for. With his macabre sense of humor and perceptive notions of the darker aspects of the human personality, I’m sure there will be more darkly delightful books from this author.

Rating – 3



TG said...

I've wanted to read this book for ages. Like you said, the premise is so unique. I read Joe Hill's first book, Heart-Shaped Box, and that also has an unusual plot - a guy buys a ghost over the internet. Although I also remember the problems you mentioned (uneven pacing and characters that were hard to love) and probably would have given that about 3 stars, too. Still, I'm interested because of the idea in this story.

The Happy Booker said...

You should definitely read it, the premise is well worth the read. I really enjoyed it even though I rated it a 3.

Jennifer said...

I have this one on my TBR list and need to get to it soon. It does sound very unique. After I realized that Joe is Stephen King's son I knew it was a must-read.

Tammy said...

Great review! I'm adding this one to my ReadList. I love anything out of the ordinary.

Mad Scientist said...

Horns... what? How have I not heard of this one ;) Sounds unique if not GREAT.

I'll have to look into this one.

Mad Scientist
@ Steampunkery & Book Reviews

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