Author(s): Joe HillDownload
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. . . .
Some Reviews: 8139 in Goodreads.com
Joe Hill writes from a dark and mysterious place. When I read this book, I was enthralled and uncomfortable at the same time. With every Hill novel I have read, the evil is unconventional and twisted. In this novel, the protagonist connects with the dark forces through mysterious horns growing out of his head . . . and it only gets stranger from there.
My guess is that 9 out of 10 readers will have no idea exactly what happened, but there is a good chance that most of them will have enjoyed it (I was one of those).
When people saw me reading this they would ask if it was “any good.” To say that this was good would be a massive understatement. It was supremely good. It was deliciously good. It was piss-your-pants good. It was leave-the-lights-on-all-night good. Yeah, it rocked! I was haunted, I was chilled, I was tingled, I was addicted. Putting the book down, even for a moment, was a hardship. Hill wrote about a psychopath that was so real, so disturbing, so terrifying, that I just wanted to peel off my own skin and run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. Dude, he was
!! Looking forward to getting my hands on more by Hill…say, around Halloween? Mwahahahahaha.
P.S. I’ve never done this before, but I must comment on the paper quality of the hardback. It was sublime! If paper can be described as buttery then this was some buttery paper. Awesome.
(First Reads Win)
I had high expectations for this book.
It completely blew those expectations out of the water!
This review might end up as a bunch of disjointed thoughts, because I’m having trouble organizing exactly how I felt. Warning: The beginning of this story is slightly soul-crushing. This book doesn’t put a lot of faith in humanity, at least not in the beginning (I won’t disclose anything about the end). As long as you don’t take that aspect of it too seriously, it can be so good.
The setting was superbly visualized; a small town, lovely and charming on the outside and marred by sin on the inside. The character development was on point. There was so much depth. I loved Ig as the anti-hero. When he felt rage, I felt rage. And there was a lot of rage. This book was relentless in terms of its emotional pull on the reader. It dragged me through so many disparate feelings, I felt like I’d nearly been whiplashed. But it was so worth it.
I can see why some people didn’t like this as much as others did. The middle isn’t super action-packed, and focuses mostly on characters’ flashbacks, but I loved Joe Hill’s expressive writing style. He really knows how to get into his characters’ heads and expose their most reserved and unrefined thoughts.
It was dark and raw and vengeful. Absolutely gripping and so unconventional. I’m so glad I finally read something by Joe Hill, and I’m even more glad that I loved it. I will definitely be reading more of his books in the future!
This is one hell of a fun novel.
Let me get rid of all the side stuff first… I’m reading this because I respect Joe Hill on his own merits and it’s far from the first novel I’ve read of his. That being said, EVEN IF it wasn’t Joe Hill, I had a fantastic time reading this!
Let’s take the whole devil trope and turn it into a body/psychological horror novel, shall we? But let’s turn away from the outside agency angle. 🙂 Add a bit of the Lucifer tv show angle, add a few horns on Ig’s head and the inability for anyone to quite remember that they had just been talking to an apparent demon or that they just spilled all their most horrible thoughts to the guy, and run with this.
This is fantastically sick. Difficult. Pleasurable, even. In the, oh god, everyone really thinks THIS of me already, why don’t I give them something to REALLY munch on kind of way. 🙂
But then the novel became something a lot deeper when we got into the flashbacks and the love story. We get into the heads of the people who did him some serious harm thanks to a bit of touch-telepathy flashback power going on as Ig turns into a demon. The reveals hinted at only get more twisted and allegory-ish as we move on, but you know what I like best about this?
The devil never gets to be the hero. We WANT him to be the hero, tho, and that’s what’s really great about this.
So two thumbs WAY up. 🙂 I never once got bored. I FELT something for these characters. 🙂
And no, I’m probably not going to watch the movie made from this. I don’t want to spoil my very positive reaction. 🙂
Horns is one of the best books I’ve read in the last five years.
I came to Hill via NOS4A2, which is the only book that ever truly frightened me in the way that some films can, initiating bouts of hypervigilance and night-terrors that messed with my sleep for two weeks. Horns is a very different book, haunting and beautiful to the same extent that NOS4A2 is creepy and vicious. The so-called “horror” elements of Horns serve the greater narrative goals of the book, so much so that they come across as elements of magical realism more than speculative fiction. Horns is almost a literary novel.
But it is, first and foremost, a *good* novel, and this is because it is about people above all else, with the trials of life as a human as its beating heart. Hill’s prose style in Horns is also very different from NOS4A2, showing my favorite thing in a writer: an obvious effort to push creative boundaries and do something new with each manuscript. I work so hard to do this in my own work, and I admire it so much in other writers, as is clearly the case with Hill.
Horns is the best kind of tragedy: the sort that leaves you with tears stinging at the corner of your eyes and an ache in your heart. Wishing like hell that you could have made it easier for these fictional people you have grown to love so much, knowing that it couldn’t be any other way. Happy to have it all over to give them some measure of peace, sorry it had to end because it means you have to stop reading.
This book cements Hill as one of those writers “on my list” of those whose work I will read as soon as it comes out, for as long as publishers are smart enough to keep them coming.
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