Review: Horns, by Joe Hill

So, with a to-read list as long as mine, it’s no surprise that it took me a while to get round to reading Joe Hill‘s Horns. In addition, in a bumper reading work, I also got round to reading a couple more books, which I will mention later. On to Horns.

Horns was first published back in 2010, and is considered to be a dark fantasy, which is a fitting category. It follows the tale of Ig, who dwells in small-town New Hampshire. He is the runt of the Perrish litter. Ig’s father had a fine career in the music industry, rubbing shoulders with the stars, while his brother Terry has parlayed his heritage into an equally successful career.

Ig’s life takes a turn for the worse when his girlfriend Merrin is murdered and Ig is never cleared or convicted. As a result, he is a pariah in his own town, and a constant subject of ridicule and harassment.

We first meet Ig the morning after the anniversary of the Merrin’s death, waking to a blinding hangover and sporting a small pair of the titular horns. It soon becomes apparent that the horns are just for show, as everyone he comes into  contact divulges their deepest secrets and desires.

One such encounter with his brother Terry reveals the identity of the killer, and Ig spends the rest of the novel figuring out how to deal with Merrin’s murderer.

The novel jumps back and forth between Ig’s teen years and the modern day, while switching point of view to other characters in the book. This doesn’t confuse, and helps fill in some of the plot gaps. There is a fine streak of dark humour throughout, which is always good in my book, and Ig has some nice iconoclastic rants as he develops as a demon. The main focus of the book is the contrast between the fledgling demon Ig and the soulless human killer. I thoroughly enjoyed Horns.

Rating: 9/10

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