2010: #48 – Horns (Joe Hill)

horns Book #48 was Horns by Joe Hill.  The back of the book reads:

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. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster 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. . . .

This was an interesting book about love and how far people will go for it, hate, and the evil that exists within all of us.  Ig’s story is tragic even before the book begins, but you feel like he’s better off in the end. The book jumps back and forth in time, showing us Ig’s past as well as his present transformation.  When people see Ig as the devil, they feel compelled to blurt out their darkest desires, which leads to some very interesting, yet believable, conversations. I liked the concept that the devil can’t make you do anything you aren’t willing to do. Hill does a great job not only with dialogue, but with his description and setting. I could immediately picture the site of the old foundry, including the detritus left behind by years of teenage foolery. I found myself marking passages for later review, something I rarely do in a book in this genre.  A few of the passages that caught my eye were:

The service ended, and conversation rose like water filling a tub, the church a container with a particular volume, its natural quiet quickly displaced by noise.

"It goes against the American storytelling grain to have someone in a situation he can’t get out of, but I think this is very usual in life."

The maiden and the devil walked in the furnace light at the end of the day, and the devil admonished her…

Maybe all the schemes of the devil were nothing compared to what men could think up.

While this book isn’t the type of horror to keep you up at night in fear of what lurks beneath your bed, it is the type to keep you up reading.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more stories from the mind of Joe Hill.

This book was a review copy.

Other reviews:

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: ‘Horns‘ – Joe Hill (Gollancz)
Fantasy Book Critic: “Horns” by Joe Hill (Reviewed by Robert Thompson)
Kay’s Bookshelf » Horns by Joe Hill

Page count: 384 | Approximate word count: 105,600

2009: Bonk (Mary Roach)
2008: Blood Noir (Laurell K. Hamilton)
2007: Ghost Story (Peter Straub)
2006: Seduced by Midnight (Laurell K. Hamilton)
2005: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling)

Used in these Challenges: Countdown Challenge 2010; ARC Reading Challenge 2010; 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; 2010 Pub Challenge; Second Reading Challenge; Pages Read Challenge Season 2;

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.