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Horns: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 388 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Publication date : January 30, 2010
- File size : 1741 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 388 pages
- Publisher : William Morrow; Reprint edition (January 30, 2010)
- ASIN : B0036F6WYO
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #76,518 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This guy has demonic powers and keeps getting his butt kicked?! C'mon that's as bad as superman vs batman. Even a lesser demon would have no problem with a mere mortal no matter how psychotic that person may be. The other reason I deducted a star was the setup of the book was all flashbacks which I don't mind but I thought he was going to try and figure out how he got the horns and with clues figure out what really happened to his girlfriend. Everything was solved through chance meetings and accidental physical contact. The concept for the novel was great the execution was good not great. I think this would have been better written as a short story or novella. I will continue reading his novels but for anyone expecting Stephen King quality he isn't there...yet.
It's an interesting exercise on emotions; jealousy, anger, lust, love, evil, sadness, happiness, imagination. Joe Hill brings it together well.
The author creates and bring his characters to life in a believable fashion. He weaves the characters together well through the twists in the story. The ending comes together in a complex blend of the characters and their emotions; some sad, some bittersweet, and some with a hopeful future.
I found it a page turner and is well worth your time. Though It has its touch of the supernatural, its roots are very much based in the human emotions of love and lust; along with one's twisted imagination.
[As an aside, I thought how many of the stories were in Stephen King terrain, and wondered if Stephen King himself had ever read Joe Hill. There are certainly important differences - for one, Joe Hill doesn't feel the need that Stephen King seems to have, to insert something "scary" or startling every so many pages, to keep the buying public awake, I guess. It was only after finishing the book that I discovered Joe Hill was Stephen King's son!]
So I was excited to try his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box. However I never got past the Kindle sample ... it seemed cliched and written-to-order.
But Horns is much, much better. The characters are complex, and unlike many horror books that immediately establish a good vs. evil trajectory, this one didn't simply strap you in for the typical "fight the evil" battle that would escalate in predictable chunks until the climax.
No, this book kept you guessing, kept you wondering what would happen next, kept you wondering what direction things would go in, even kept you wondering if the protagonist was a "good guy" or a "bad guy".
SLIGHT SPOILER BELOW
One criticism is that I never really bought into the main "villain" ... his personality didn't seem particularly coherent, nor believable as written. I would think a person capable of doing what he did would have shown signs over the previous decade that something was out of whack.
And to be honest, I was a little confused. Because "Guy does bad stuff, wakes up with horns, makes people admit bad things" sound like the kinda thing I would've come across in my elementary school's library. But all the good reviews alongside a Bram Stoker Award had to mean something, right? So I bought it, anyway. And God, am I glad I did.
Within the first few pages, Hill creates a delicious sense of creeping unease--one which only builds as Ig is forced to play confessor and judge to his neighbors, friends, and family. And while identifying a killer becomes the main character's ultimate goal, what makes these moments great is just how real they are. People aren't confessing to off-the-wall desires. They're admitting to wanting and feeling and believing things many people might and likely would want or feel or believe in a similar situation without ever admitting to it. Beyond the creepiness and the darkness, thought, there's also a hilarity to many of the scenes in this book. Hill deflty blends comedy and discomfort over and over, again, as receptionists threaten children and doctors admit to addictions.
But while all these things are great--while all of them will pull you in and keep you reading--what really sets this book apart, and makes it one of my favorites is the beauty and the heartbreak of it all. There are moments in this book where I had to stop reading, where I had to sit back and give myself a chance to just reset. The depth of some scenes is astonishing, and those for whom I've bought the book or to whom I've recommended it have told me they've finished it in tears or were lucky no one was around as they began to sob. I felt chills while reading some scenes, and marvelled at how well Hill seems to tie it all together.
Now, I won't pretend I understand everything about this book. Some things still elude me. But what I do understand is this--Hill created something special with Horns, something the movie never stood a chance at doing justice. And if you're looking for a rollercoaster ride of feeling, you need to give this book a shot.
Top reviews from other countries
Giving a character the ability to see people's darkest secrets and to prompt their darkest confessions is a really nice plot device, and the most entertaining, and often really amusing, passages are found early in the story when the author is exploring this idea. I started to think 'ha, this is going to be really good'! I thought he would have developed this theme and have a whole lot more fun with it, but unfortunately he largely abandons this and takes us on a long, long back story centred around a teen romance, and my thoughts changed to 'hm, this is going to be really tedious'! And so it was.
If you are going to change your main character into a demon with revenge in his heart, why make him so utterly wimpy and ineffectual? This has to be the most pathetic and impotent devil in all of literary history. Having survived and thrived in fire and brimstone and progressively developed the stereotypical, cartoon-like, devilish appearance of popular culture (complete with horns, goatee and dark red skin), he then starts living like a hobo, prancing around in a mould-covered blue skirt (yes, really!), talking to snakes and having his ass whipped on a regular basis by a sadistic redneck. This is where I found this novel to be quite comical, in a rather tragic way. Surely the author can't have been serious with this stuff?! And yet, having filled the rest of the book with such cheery themes as murder, rape, jealousy, lost love, malignant mammary carcinoma, hatred and revenge, I have to believe he was! When our devil, with all his new found supernatural powers, was completely felled by a simple blow to the bollocks in the wholly anti-climactic last act, that was the final nail in the coffin of this story for me. I threw up my hands in mock despair and I found I didn't much care what happened to him after that.
Our hero, Ig, wakes up after a night of angry drinking and sacrilegious vandalism, sporting a pair of horns. We discover that Ig is the primary suspect in the rape and murder of his girlfriend the year before. It isn't only the new horns and the old accusations that Ig has to contend with. People reveal their darkest secrets in his presence and often act on their darkest desires, and Ig is, more often than not, who they want to harm. Hill adeptly handles theological philosophy in an entertaining and thought-provoking way as Ig learns to embrace the demon revealing itself in him.
It's a fun read, which frequently soars above fun to become a great read. Horns displays Joe Hill's talent for writing the quirky and the strange.
A longer review will be posted on my blog soon - www dot carmillavoiez dot com
1. He can’t remember a great deal of what happened the night before
2. He has some unusual protuberances on his forehead that can only be described as horns
As he goes about his day, he slowly begins to realise something else – people, be they family, friends or complete strangers, suddenly want to confess their darkest innermost thoughts to him. And Ig has the power to sway them one way or another.
A year earlier, his girlfriend and childhood sweetheart Merrin was brutally raped and murdered. Almost everyone, including his family, believe that Ig was responsible, the lack of evidence being the only reason he was never charged. With his newfound “gift”, Ig begins to seek answers as to what happened that night, intent on avenging her.
The narrative jumps between the current day and the past, letting the reader see how Ig and Merrin met as children, and how they became an item. And we see what happened on that fateful night when they argued, and he left her stranded. And the conclusion was heart breaking.
Horns isn’t really a whodunnit as we find out who murdered Merrin relatively early on in the novel – the focus is very much on what Ig intends to do about it. Despite his actions, Ig is portrayed as a good guy, very much at odds with his devilish appearance, a contrast I found fascinating. Here, the devil is on the side of justice, although:
“if God hates sin and Satan punishes the sinners, aren’t they working the same side of the street?”
As you might expect, there are religious undertones to the novel, and some interesting interpretation of scripture:
“I guess Satan was the first superhero … In his first adventure, he took the form of a snake to free two prisoners being held naked in a third world jungle prison by an all-powerful megalomaniac. At the same time, he broadened their diet and introduced them to their own sexuality.”
Whilst some people may disapprove of this, I found it quite amusing, and I found Hill’s observations to be clever.
Horns is a brilliantly written novel – dark, yet humorous and intelligent. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author, and I’m particularly excited about his forthcoming novel The Fireman.
Review originally posted on josbookblog.co.uk
On the surface the premise sounds preposterous; man grows horns and appears to be turning into the devil. I wish I was in that pitch session - I could have learned enough to make my career. Anyway however it sounds, it reads pitch perfect. If you've seen the film, this is worth a read as it fills in some blanks and expands on things the film could not cover - the treehouse was an especially nice touch. If you haven't seen the film or read the book and you like your humour pitch black with some highly quotable lines and few really deep thinks to kick the grey matter into gear, then give this a whirl. It's a bit of a slow starter but utterly addictive when you get going.
I felt the characters were well written, especially Ig and Lee, and I felt the author did a great job of putting you in the mindset of both of them so as you read a certain aspect of the story, you see the current character's own point of view (however twisted that may be!).
The writing style was easy to get along with; it was funny, romantic, had just the right amount of religion befitting to the story without being off putting, and the fantasy element was well thought out and made for an interesting read. I read it in three evenings and would definitely recommend this book