Book Review: Horns

Horns by Joe Hill

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.


As some of you might know I am a big fan of Stephen King, just when I was looking up more information about Joe Hill did I find out that he is the son of the legend. Now I don't want to compare father and son because every writer should be judged one his own. But I do have to say that it is genetics. Joe Hill shows with Horns that he is a tremendous author, this is book was highly entertaining and thoroughly crept me out at night, not so much by the scenes but by the thought of what the Horns did to the people. This book messes with your mind. 

The story of Horns focuses around the young man Ignatius (shortened to Ig) Perrish, a boy who grew into a wealthy family, his father is a well known musician and his brother is a famous TV-star, and what is Ig? Well he is a bit of a mess, in his current state. He has turned into something of a rebel, all of this due to one horrific event. Once upon a time, or actually still, Ig loves Merrin, a girl he dated a few summers back, the feeling was mutual and they had big plans. Then this one night Merrin was brutally raped and murdered and all fingers pointed in the direction of Ig, the evidence wasn't substantial towards Ig and he was released of the charges but everyone still accuses Ig of murdering Merrin... Now back to the present as Ig wakes up one morning with something more than a hangover, when he wakes up after a long night of drinking he feels something sticking out of his head. He has grown horns overnight. Now as one person said with great power comes great responsibility, these horns aren't just for decorative purposes. They grant Ig power, a power he uncovers very soon. Horns, these types, are associated with a of course Satan himself, they are devils horns and Ig's powers are that he is able to compel other people to talk about their sins. He first learns about this unwittingly but quickly comes to understand that he could use his newly gained power to find out what happened to Merrin, last time Ig checked, it's quite a sin to murder and commit rape. Now his brother Terry mentions something to Ig when he is held in the horns "sway". Lee, more than a friend to Ig might be more involved than Ig first dared to have guessed. Now Ig wants to find out exactly what happened to Merrin, he wants answers, no demands them, no matter the cost... 

This above is only the current time of the story of Horns as Joe Hill also weaves the story of how Ig and Merrin first met in church and what set their relation off in the early days. How deeply they were in love. I really liked how many facets in this flashback story were linked to the current frame and how well it in the end all came together. This story had everything of what a young and first relation is about, discovering yourself and the other, and sadly for Ig something more...

The more I come to think of it the more I like the story of Horns, the interplay between the two stories and the depth and exposure that was given to the characters and background of everything really great an engaging read that I couldn't put down. Though one small thing: I knew that Daniel Radcliffe played Ig in the movie (haven't watched it though) but his face did come popping up everyonce in a while when I was reading about Ig. 

As I already said the focus on the story is all about Ig and him getting his justice. Ig's character in my opinion complex. In the beginning of the book reading that he was more than wasted and living with a terrible girlfriend made me think he was a bit of a deadbeat, but then I knew his parents were rich and his brother had a lot of success so I had to change that to perhaps the child that wanted or his parents forced him to much, the pressured kid basically. However Ig also had a good education and even an overseas job offer so he had chances but everything was ruined the day Merrin was murdered. His life got ruined. Several of these emotions resonate very nicely throughout Ig's journey in Horns. Now added to Ig there are several other characters that you follow through Ig's eyes. I already mentioned Lee, well he is a piece of work. He really is. I both loved and hated his character. Loved him in the beginning and near the end hated him, not how Joe Hill portrayed him but how a baster he proved to be. Just as these two characters Ig's brother and his girlfriend Merrin are all character that add a lot to the completeness of the story. 

One thing that I really liked about the book was the horns itself. How Joe Hill showed the power of it. It took me a while to see people confess the bad and nasty things they did to Ig when he was around. They completely enthrall people and then some. These really boardered on something psychotic, very cool. 

It does come down to the bottom line and that is Horns is pretty damn awesome. I have read my fair share of supernatural trhillers over the years but with Horns Joe Hill introduces something not seen before, it's not a complete embodient of the devil but holds in the lines. A perfect story that will creep you out and play with your emotions. And at the heart of it all yes a love story, gone wrong. 
 

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