Horns: A Fascinating Tale of Mystery, Romance, and Devil Horns
Horns by Joe Hill
Okay. The origin of this is not quite as random as usual. I always wanted to read something by Joe Hill, since I discovered Locke and Key and saw had a twisted yet intriguing imagination. His books are expensive though and since he is the son of Stephen King (I applaud him for using a pen name to make a name for himself rather than ride off at his father success), I felt his work may fall into Stephen King isms that I have grown to hate. By Stephen Kingisms I mean, pointless chapters , unlikable characters, writing around the bush instead of getting to the point and out place tangents such as when Henry reciting “I am a Walrus” while hiking in a snow storm in the book Dreamcatcher. So I was not intending to spend a lot of money or have high hopes for his one, but I would investigate. And then I found Horns by Joe Hill in a dollar store of all places. The movie was apparently supposed to come out in 2013 but was delayed. So the over stock must have went there. And I took full advantage of it.
So what is Horns about? It’s about Ignatius Perrish (Who wins the award for having he oddest name) who wakes up one morning from an drunken bender to find horns are growing out of his head. Scared and terrified, he seeks help from friends, family and doctors. People take no notice of the horns and tell him their deep dark hateful secrets. But when someone tells him a clue to who killed his lifelong girlfriend Merrin, he decides to use this ability to find her killer because Merrin was everything to him his whole life until someone murdered her, leaving everyone to blame Ig for her death. The story is told in an episodic fashion flash back and forth through his life. In fact the book actually starts at the events toward the end of the story and pulls puzzle box Momento kind of tale on the reader. The story essentially is about Ig, Merrin and Ig’s best friend Lee. It’s about how they all became friend. How Ig and Merrin fell madly in love so much so it seemed they were destined to be together. How Lee saved his life and Ig saw the good in him even though Lee was not that good of a person. How Ig rose, and the how his life spiraled out of control after the murder, the consequence of all and all that is about to come. It’s a mystery. It’s a love story. It’s a supernatural thriller. But its miles away from anything scary.
So the good? When I started this back, I didn’t like the characters. None of them. If they all vanished from the pages and brought in someone new I would have relieved. But went the book jumped into the past all of that changed. The author went out of the way to make likable. The characters are so layered and real. By the end of the book it feels like I grew up with these guys. The love story between Ig and Merrin is charming as hell. And the mystery is tense and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The book analyzes well what makes a man a demon and a demon a man.
But there is the bad? And oddly enough it does relate to the horns. Yes. The horns, is what puts this story into motion. But what is happens to Ig toward the end a is a tad over the top and may come off as silly to some. Along with that is the beginning I think it fair to say this book starts out daffy as hell and a reader is likely to put it down. I almost did. I was reluctant to bear with it as it seemed silly more than anything else. Those issues disappeared quickly though. Toward the end some of the silliness returned. And it was very unwanted but because I was so invested at that point, I let it slide. But it was still there and was still distracting. The book suffered from one small case of derailment as Ig goes into a temporary realm of insanity. There is also a very violent scene where a cat dies. Don’t read it you love your cat folks. And after the amazing climax, the ending is very abrupt. Like Hill gone, “Oh yeah, I have to solve the whole horns thing and give the audience an answer.” And he had was very weird method that, dare I say, falls in line with Stephen King’s sort of endings which was very disappointing. Hill shaped this thing into his masterpiece without a trace of his father’s work. Then all of sudden comes that weird as hell ending that doesn’t feel like it matches the rest of the book at all.
Overall, the book is not without its issues. It seems to have an identity crisis of whether it was to be funny or scary as things go over the top at parts. But still manages to tell a good and somewhat brilliant story. It’s an exceptionally well written mystery with fascinating characters and incredible twist and turns. So well written that the Horns aspect of the story wasn’t even needed the horns were often on the burner at many points. But it is there for you when you like the supernatural in your story. This is a good read. I recommend it to most (Just be warned that some things might make you ask if this is a comedy or not) and for once I can a well, I guess it’s not horror, but recommend a pseudo horror to peopled beside hardcore fans. This is different than anything I read in a long time so give it a shot
3 ½ smoothie out of 4