Benbrook Library / Books

Patron Review: Horns


This week, we have a guest post from Diana N., a library patron and BARC participant. In order to fulfill the requirements of the “Everyone’s a Critic” task, Diana has written a summary/review of Horns by Joe Hill. Emphatic thanks to Diana for providing content. Here is her review:

This is one of those books that if it weren’t for my book club, I could’ve gone my entire life without reading. I had little to no interest in it, even though Daniel Radcliffe will be starring in the movie. I’m not huge into horror books, because I’m such a weenie with a hyperactive imagination. Plus, the synopsis really didn’t sell me. I wasn’t into the hype that Horns was written by Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son. Typically, when I have little interest in a book club book, I still dislike it even after reading it, e.g. The Light Between Oceans.

However, I was pleasantly surprised with Horns, and I really enjoyed it. This book is Hill’s second, after Heart Shaped Box, which apparently terrified my husband (who loves that kind of thing). The story introduces us to Ig Perrish, who wakes up after a night of binge-drinking with a righteous hangover and horns growing out of his head. He discovers that the horns cause people all around him to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets, secrets that no one would readily admit, especially to a complete stranger.

He has spent the past year in a private, personal hell, tormented daily by the death of his beloved girlfriend, Merrin Williams. Before her death, he lived the charmed life, with a loving, successful family, and the love of the coveted Merrin. Ig was implicated in her death, but because of his family’s influence, he was able to go free from all charges. However, his reputation afterwards was damned. Trying to figure out what is going on with him and his ability to bring out the worst in people, he discovers who Merrin’s murderer was, and goes after them to complete his revenge.

This book was so well-written. I was impressed with Hill’s prose, and I found it so thrilling. I’ve talked to people about this book, and some of them have said that it was difficult to get into after the first 100 pages. Personally, I did not find that to be so. The book starts so quickly, and I found that there was really no drag time. I think it was because I was so enthralled with Hill’s writing. I think that the man has great talent, and is a very gifted writer.

The story is written through multiple points of view and flashback sequences. It doesn’t take a traditional linear approach. I found that despite that, it wasn’t very difficult to follow since most of the stories sync up in some way. I also think that “horror” is not the right genre to stick this in. Maybe a paranormal mystery. There are some graphic, disturbing scenes, and vulgarity that may bother sensitive readers. The love story between Ig and Merrin is very sweet. I love the different relationships in this book.

The ending, however, was a little strange to me. I won’t give it away, but given the way the entire story goes, it just didn’t feel like it fit. When I mean the ending, I mean the last ten or fifteen pages of the book.

As I’ve said, I really enjoyed this book. If I could get over my wussiness, I’ll read Heart Shaped Box and anything else he may write. The man is an up-and-comer!

-Diana N.

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