Sunday, 25 October 2015

Book Review: Horns; Joe Hill.

This month is turning out to be quite the month for spooky, slightly bizarre reads and this latest one is definitely the strangest I've read so far. I had actually tried to read the book a long time ago, in my youth, and gave up a few chapters on because I felt a little lost. Considering the book's mature content and themes, I'm glad I decided to tackle it again when I was much older. I'm entering it into the 'Monthly Motif' Challenge, which I'm certainly on a roll for this month!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Horns
AUTHOR: Joe Hill
SERIES: --
PUBLISHER: Gollancz
PAGES: 437
GENRE: Adult, Horror, Fantasy, Thriller

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars


Blurb:
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.

Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone - raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances - with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty.

Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power - with just a touch he can see peoples' darkest desires - 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.

What I Liked:
  • I really took to Hill's writing style very quickly. It was captivatingly brutal (there's seriously a whole lot of violence and some shocking moments in this read), and I loved the way that, through Ig, he highlighted and mocked the hypocrisy found in human behaviour. It really made me reflect on just how selfish people can be, despite the fact that they can go so far as to kid themselves they are doing what's right. While reading, I felt like I wasn't just getting a Horror story, but a study into the mind and what it is to be human. A great concept!
  • There is a whole bunch of iconography and symbolism in this book, and I adore reading books that contain that. My favourite thing to do is unpick the deeper meaning behind certain environments, animals or objects and seeing as this book had a deep connection to religion as an idea, it made for a very enjoyable and thought-provoking read. It also made the atmosphere a whole lot creepier!
What I Disliked:
  • Despite liking a lot of aspects regarding this book, I had this vague, disjointed feeling that I really didn't enjoy. There was a real lack of connection, for me, to the characters. I didn't really sympathise with any of them, I thought they were all a little reckless at times, and I didn't ever feel all that emotional (though Merrin's letter was the closest I got to feeling a little bit sad). I think part of the problem came from Hill not really knowing what kind of book he wanted to write. It switched from Horror, to Murder Mystery, to Romantic love triangle, to total tragedy and then back to Horror in the space of just a few chapters and at times made me feel pretty lost as to where the story was actually going.
Overall Conclusion:
This book was a little difficult for me to rate at first because although I had enjoyed this read, I also felt a little dissatisfied with it. There are some great aspects to this book: the imagery, symbolism and hidden meanings found within are spot on. However, a strong writing style isn't always enough to make a book the best thing you've ever read. There has to be a real sense of plot direction (which I felt thee was not) and/or characters that the reader can really relate to and root for (I was not entirely convinced here either). I would like to read more of Hill's work. As this was his second novel, perhaps he's still deciding what kind of Author he'd like to be? Anyway: this was a great read that I would only keep clear from if you are faint-hearted or a little sensitive.