Friday, December 6, 2013


Ignatius William Perrish is miserable. His girlfriend was murdered and he is the prime suspect. His name will never be cleared due to the lab with the evidence catching fire, so his life remains a torment. One day, he wakes up groggy and hung over after a not-quite-remembered night of drinking, blasphemy, and wallowing in his own misery. He notices he now has horns growing out of his head. Wondering if their a hallucination, he goes in public to see others' reactions and finds that everyone suddenly confides in him their deepest and darkest desires. Plus he can convince them to give in to those horrific desires. Ig decides to use his new found power to find the real murderer and enact revenge.

From page one, Horns is an addicting read. I didn't have any idea what it was about before I read except some guy randomly sprouted horns, but I couldn't put the book down after I started. The situations were so bizarre. People would just start spouting off their deepest, darkest, most sinful desires and secrets as if they talked about them all the time. These are the types of secrets people would never say out loud to anyone and were often disturbing. It was amusing at first, but grew quite serious as Ig encountered the people closest to him and heard their real opinions about him, namely that they all think he's guilty and hate spending time with him except his brother. His power is not easy to control and leaves him vulnerable when faced with his family. With the horns came other powers that showed themselves later on in the book that made it clear he was a modern adaptation of the devil complete with horns, a pitchfork, and snake minions. Despite all this new power, the villain of the novel is formidable, much stronger than anticipated, and also supernatural. I personally think a lot of Ig's bad decision making leads to the villain being so difficult.

I like and dislike the way the story is told. It starts in present day after the murder and goes until he discovers the identity of the true murderer. It's then interrupted by flashbacks to Ig's childhood for a long portion and then hopscotches back and forth from past to present. I like that clues and revelations are doled out slowly and carefully instead of in a rush all at once. However, the fast tempo the book started with was completely destroyed. It took me a long while to warm up to the new story and just as it got really interesting, the narrative again switched to the present. I would have liked it if it started a little slower and built up momentum instead of starting crazy and slamming on the breaks. The only other complaint I have is the ending. Compared to the epicness of the story, it was a little underwhelming and odd.

Horns is a wonderful novel about guilt, love, good and evil, and revenge. My favorite part of the story is the love between Merrin and Ig. We get to see her through past memories and other people's view of her. Their story is beautiful, heartbreaking, and felt the most real among all the supernatural aspects. I am eager to read more books by Joe Hill because his writing is beautifully written and sticks with you long after you've read it.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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