Review: 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.

I quite enjoyed Horns, by Joe Hill, but it’s not what I would call horror. Then again I think I’ve pretty much established in other posts that I’m desensitised to certain levels of disturbance. Really, maybe that doesn’t say much, but even so not what I would call horror and yet I would still say it is dark fiction.

I don’t know what I enjoyed more; the characters, the descriptions, or the idea and I found it to be a really good idea told with a refreshing take. A man, Ignatious Perrish (Ig for short), has the love of his life taken from him in a most horrendous manner and rather than a stale or predictable reaction, instead an element is added to throw him off from what one would expect; the horns.

There was a bit of back and forth motion with telling the past and present stories of these people involved, which did throw me at times, but I think that also added to the story because you can read parts of the story from both the point of view of the main character and the bad guy.

I have to say the bad guy is a sick fuck and even though I hated him, even though I enjoyed reading Ig, one of my favourite parts was reading from the P.O.V. of the bad guy.

Another thing too is Ig could have gone in so many directions with those horns, I was expecting certain directions given my imagination, but I’m really glad it didn’t go in any of those. I’m really glad the story ended how it did. It wrapped up well and the only thing left to be desired is a want to spend more time reading the story and getting to know the characters better.

I would love to have spent more time with the character  Ig, but I appreciated being able to read different point of views. Also, when you’ve finished reading a book and you’re wishing you had of been able to read more about a specific character, is it not better to be grateful a character has wormed their way into your afterthoughts instead of lamenting the author not writing more of that character?

I find myself wishing that there was more time spent on Ignatious, but at the same time I’m glad that there isn’t and that the character has intrigued me enough for me to wonder about them afterwards. I think it helps that Ig is not only readable, but given his condition, it makes him more intriguing as well.

That’s another thing I love is, the concept behind everything to do with the horns. I don’t want to go into it and give it away for anyone, not that it will be much of a surprise, but I still love the mythology behind it and the transformation the character goes through because of it. I would love to be able to read more about that or characters experiencing such as that, but I guess I’m going to have to make do with re-reading the book instead.

And one thing too, if you know who his father is, give him the benefit of the doubt and don’t judge what his writing will be like before hand because he is a writer and not his father. I only say this because I’ve known people to pick up the book of someone because they know who that person’s parent (or parents) is and they not only judge, but compare, before they’ve even opened the cover. I think that’s not only slack, but you might end up ruining a story for yourself.

  • Demographic: Dark fiction lovers and maybe people who enjoy devil stories.
  • Genre: Dark fiction
  • Recommended By: My Mum
  • Reminds Me Of: A little bit of Memnoch the Devil, but I can’t divulge why without getting into it. Otherwise it’s not like that story at all.
  • Would I Read More By This Authors?: Yes
  • Rating Out of Five: 4
  • Challenges: N/A

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