Horns by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Fantasy
For Fans of: early Stephen King novels, creepy books, books that will mess with your emotions
My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
“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. . . .”
So, I picked this up about three weeks ago on a whim, just to see what all the fuss was about. And let me tell you, I came out of this with a new book to add to my Favorites shelf (which, btw, is going to become a new tag and category on here)
Horns was, to put it simply, a roller coaster of emotions, especially for someone who gets emotionally invested in books and their characters. Right from the get-go, we’re forced to deal with the fact that, after a night of cray cray drinking and urinating on holy statues, the main character, who shall henceforth be known as Ig, Iggy or the Iggster, wakes up with a splitting headache and… well, a pair of horns.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I was hooked. I mean, the man woke up with horns sprouting out of his head. How could I not be hooked?
Anyway, we basically follow Ig around as he tries to understand the horns, as well as the creepy power that he received right along with them and, I’m not going to lie, a lot of it is pretty painful. But in between all the pain and pure heartache that we go through with Iggy, there’s also a sense of, “you know what? this is going to work out” which kind of keeps you going.
Warning, there was one part that made me so incredibly sad that I just had to pause reading for a while and curl into a fetal position. Ordinarily, I’d just talk about it and white out the writing so that those of you who’d read the book could just highlight the blank bits and see what I’m talking about, but I don’t want to risk it this time. There are curious cats out there, and me talking about this part would utterly ruin the experience for them. So I shall shush.
I absolutely loved the dry, almost-questionable humor that Hill squeezed into his prose, sometimes right in the middle of two very depressing or very disturbing scenes. It was terrible and yet, brilliant, how he could make you want to crawl out of your own skin at one moment, and then make you chuckle the very next.
I’ve been recommending this book to everyone, regardless of their tastes, because that’s how much I love it. Even now, three weeks after I read it, I’m still completely in love with the story and Hill’s brilliant characterization. That being said, I know it’s not for everyone. It’s gory, and gruesome and offensive if you’re religious. If you don’t mind all this, however, you should really, really, really check it out.
And maybe don’t hate me if, absurdly, you end up not liking it.