Review: Horns (By Joe Hill)

Horns Source: Goodreads

Horns
Source: Goodreads

Length: 416 pages

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It had been a year since Merrin Williams had been raped and murdered, a year since Ig had been tagged as the only suspect in the murder of the woman he’d loved. Although never charged or tried, Ig remains the culprit in the eyes of the people, with no one willing to believe his claims of innocence. Enraged at the life he’s been living for the year since her death, Ig spends the night of her death anniversary drunk, and doing terrible things. When he wakes up the next morning, he has no recollection of the previous night. But her does have horns growing out of his temples. At first, he believes them to be a result of hallucination… until they start wielding their power and people around him behave unlike ever before. For an entire year Ig had looked for answers, praying for strength and justice, praying to find the man who’d murdered Merrin. But God, it seemed, had abandoned him like all the other people of the town. But now, with the terrible gift the horns had given him, he could finally find the answers he needed, he could finally have his revenge. Now, he would follow the path of the Devil.

My take:

Horns is, in one word, unusual. It is a really good read – fast paced, with a good back and forth between the present and past, giving you a full picture of every character and understanding behind their moves. But it is also one of those supernatural books that say, “This is what it is, so there.”

You are told the way certain things are, things that are crucial to the story, and you have to take them as they are. There’s no scope to think, “That can’t really happen.” It’s a fantastic book, so yeah, things that can’t really happen, will still happen. So if that isn’t something that agrees with you, then maybe you should avoid the book. But if you have no problem with something like that, then read on to know what else you can expect from the book.

The writing style is great – unique without trying too hard – a way with words that only a gifted author can have. Character building is subtle yet powerful. You feel for the people within without even realizing that you have learned enough about them to be able to associate with them so deeply. Emotions are beautifully depicted and are, again, subtle.

The most striking aspect, in my opinion, is the understanding of human behavior. Life isn’t black and white and people aren’t only good or bad. The best people can have horrific sides to them, sides of which nobody is aware, not even the people themselves. Yet, they exist, and they make you do things that you may even be able to justify at a later point in time. But the truth remains that you do those things because that is who you are. The devil within you is as much who you are as the angel without. And maybe, if you didn’t have a clear division of black and white in the way you looked at life, you could appreciate the devil too and recognize its worth. That is just one of the things I thought Hill touched upon in his book. His expression of course, goes much deeper, and is surely thought provoking.

His take on people, the way they think and act, the reasons for their behavior, and even their self perception, all indicate an amazing understanding of human beings. The story itself unfolds well and moves along briskly, leaving you turning page after page in an eagerness to know what happens next. There are many elements of suspense that are well maintained and that keep the book going smoothly. And at the end of it all, you get this feeling of everything falling into place (even if some of it is simply handed to you with no option).

To put it simply, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Hill’s work is definitely unique, but it still shares an odd, however remote, similarity with that of his father’s. Maybe it’s just that particularly quirky genre of the supernatural; whatever it may be, if you like the kind of work Stephen King does, or the supernatural genre in general, then you’ll definitely enjoy Horns.

– Rishika

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