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Horns: A Novel by Joe Hill

Horns: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Joe Hill

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1,9321583,536 (3.84)186
Title:Horns: A Novel
Authors:Joe Hill
Info:William Morrow (2010), Edition: 1ST, Hardcover, 370 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Horns by Joe Hill

  1. 50
    Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (sturlington)
    sturlington: Better Joe Hill, in my opinion.
  2. 64
    The Shining by Stephen King (level250geek)
    level250geek: Stephen King's seminal work of horror, this book also confronts evil and humanity, putting in the reader's face things they'd rather not see.
  3. 20
    Mike Careys One Sided Bargains by Mike Carey (level250geek)
    level250geek: Adapting the story of Faust in three unique ways, Carey examines humanity's relationship with sin, temptation, and evil.
  4. 10
    Ghost Story by Peter Straub (ktoonen)
  5. 00
    Come Closer by Sara Gran (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Similar plotlines and styles, though the narrative in Come Closer is more personal and Horns more distant.
  6. 00
    Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry (ktoonen)
  7. 33
    Paradise Lost by John Milton (level250geek)
    level250geek: Hill was obviously inspired by this work, which frames Satan as a tragic hero, much like the way Ig is characterized in Horns.
  8. 01
    The Mailman by Bentley Little (ktoonen)

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Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
This was an excellent read. I will go so far as to say that the son surpasses the father in regards to storytelling and character development. At least these days, anyway. (Don't get me wrong, old school Stephen King is amazing. I just haven't been all that impressed by his novels since the 90's.)

The character development was very well done. I loved reading about the change to something not-quite-so-nice and then to see yet another change at the end. Excellent.

While I enjoyed it, it isn't the happiest of books. What happened to Merrin was horrific, and honestly, I wanted the antagonist to be tortured to death in quite a number of slow and painful ways. The details of the plot are woven well enough to be quite realistic---realistic enough that I could believe our main character's changes.

If you like thriller, you'll love it. Just be aware that it's intense. Trigger warning indeed for rape/abuse victims. ( )
1 vote kaonevar | Nov 12, 2014 |
This review and others posted over at my blog.

From the back of the book: Merrin Williams is dead, slaughtered under inexplicable circumstances, leaving her beloved boyfriend ignatius Perrish as the only suspect. On the first anniversary of Merrin's murder, IG spends the night drunk and doing awful things. When he wakes the next morning he has a thunderous hangover...and horns growing from his temples. Ig possesses a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look - a macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his lover. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. Now it's time for revenge...it's time the devil had his due.

What I liked:
Joe Hill did it again - once I started this book I hated to tear myself away. What really grabbed me about Horns was the characters. Hill's writing made me forget that I was reading his work, rather, I felt like I was actually inside his characters. I was so transported by the - sometimes horrible - thoughts and actions of the characters that they felt real to me; I had to constantly remind myself I was reading a work of fiction.

This book was scary, but not in the usual sense. What freaked me out, was the horrible thoughts Ig was hearing from his friends and family. His horns brought out their compulsion to speak their worst thoughts and desires and I couldn't help but imagine myself in his position. That's a power I would never want! I had to try hard not to think about what awful things the people I know might be thinking as I went about my normal life.

One of the scariest moments for me was when one of the male characters in the book was misinterpreting everything the female was saying and doing and it eventually lead to violence. Unfortunately this could be a real scenario and being inside that character's head was chilling:

"The thing about Merrin was that she didn't always mean what she said but often said things that were in direct opposition to her intentions."

I even found some of his descriptions gross, even though nothing scary or gory was happening:

"She held [the box] in place, shoved her face into it, and began to eat. She made noises while she chewed, smacking her lips and breathing strangely. She gagged again, her shoulders hitching, but kept eating, using her free hand to push more doughnut into her mouth, even though her cheeks were already swollen and full."

It's not all bad though. I really enjoyed the imagery in this quote:

"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."

As usual, Hill's work kept me interested and I flew through this book. I know there were probably times when I was younger that I wished I could read minds, but like Merrin said:

"The people you love should be allowed to keep their worst to themselves."

What I didn't like:
I don't completely dislike the ending, but it made me go "huh?" and I couldn't quite picture what was happening. I don't think it was as strong as the rest of the book, and while I can't think of an alternative, it seemed to just drop off. It doesn't detract from the fact that this is a solid book.


If you've already read something by Joe Hill and liked it, you'll probably like Horns. If you're looking for a more alternative style of horror, check out this book. If you're bored or have a lot of time on your hands, check out this book! Basically, just go read it, then tell me what you thought. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Nov 9, 2014 |
Started off slow, Ig only becomes somewhat likeable as the book goes on. Teen angst abounds. Never sure how much is delusion or illusion. Love triumphs ? in the end. ( )
  bgknighton | Oct 27, 2014 |
Absolutely wonderful. Weird, frightening and heartbreaking.

( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
Absolutely wonderful. Weird, frightening and heartbreaking.

( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
Thoroughly enjoyable and often original... a richly nuanced story... fire and brimstone have rarely looked this good.
Mr. Hill, whose outstandingly inventive first novel was “Heart-Shaped Box” (2007), is able to combine intrigue, editorializing, impassioned romance and even fiery theological debate in one well-told story.
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Satan is one of us; so much more so than Adam or Eve."
--Michael Chabon, "On Daemons & Dust"
To Lenora--love, always
First words
Ignatius Martin Perrish spent the night drunk doing terrible things.
The best way to get even with anyone is to put them in the rearview mirror on your way to something better.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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 pergatory, 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, wealthy, 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.

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After his childhood sweetheart is brutally killed and suspicion falls on him, Ig Parrish goes on a drinking binge and wakes up with horns on his head, hate in his heart, and an incredible new power which he uses in the name of vengeance.

(summary from another edition)

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