Wednesday 17 February 2010

HORNS by Joe Hill

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache...and a pair of horns growing from his temples. Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring and unlikely midsummer magic. Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look and he means to use it to find the man 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.

I really like this cover. It was the first thing that caught my eye about this book and made me curious. This also happened to be my first Joe Hill book.

Ig wakes up one morning with horns, and the uncanny ability to hear people's most horrible compulsions, fantasies, and confessions. It doesn't matter where he goes, people let their innermost secret desires spill. And he finds himself listening to some pretty awful things. Even his parents and grandmother have terrible stuff to say to him. See, a year ago, the love of Ig's life was raped and murdered. He happened to be the main suspect but wasn't convicted, though that didn't stop people from treating him as if he did it.

The beginning of the book was tension-filled and very interesting. I enjoyed the discomfort that I felt with every dark confession Ig was faced with wherever he went. He even manages to persuade some people to do things, which made for some interesting situations. But when the story goes back to the time when Ig first met a young Merrin and Lee, I kept wanting to return to the present. Though I have to admit that going back to meet Lee (especially) provided a very important clue in what really happens to Ig's girlfriend.

This is a story that keeps going back and forward, to get the full scope of the relationship between Ig, Merrin, and Lee. It's a story of love. A story of tragedy. A story of betrayal. It's also about friendships that appear to be one way but are actually another. I found it a very dark study of how far an unstable person will push before it's too late. Also, as the events of what happened to Merrin unfold, everything made so much more sense.

Horns is an interesting and powerful story that made me squirm a lot. Some of the subject matter was edgy and with a tinge of reality that made everything so much worse. I might not have loved it, but I enjoyed it. It left an imprint that'll have me thinking back to it every now and then.

Horns, February 2010, ISBN 978-057-507917-5, Gollancz Paperback

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