The “Horns” Book Review

March 3, 2010

Joe Hill is quickly shaping up to be one of the best modern fiction writers of any genre. “20th Century Ghosts” and “Heart Shaped Box” proved him a lock for the best new voice in horror and dark fantasy, and although “Horns” is undeniably another horror rooted work, it’s just one more piece of evidence that Hill is a top-notch writer surpassing any genre limitation.

“Horns” is suspenseful, intriguing, heart-breaking, comedic, scary, thought-provoking, disturbing, vibrant…it’s a breath-taking thrill ride from start to finish, with an ever-layering yet plausible mystery at its core. The characters really drive the story. Ig Parrish and his lost love Merrin Williams are a relatable, realistic, captivating couple. Their romance, its gruesome demise and its nostalgic highlights jump off of the page.

Give “Horns” a read. It’s bound to startle you, pull you in and keep you wondering how it will all turn out until the very end. The ending might cause you to feel angry that certain things don’t work out as you had hoped. But after wrapping it up, think back to the part where Merrin says “I’m away from it and into the treehouse” and think about that “wedding.” I’m being vague, because I don’t want to ruin it, but I think that the Rolling Stones song that’s referenced in the book, “You can’t always get what you want” works out very thematically in the ending. I hate to use a cliche, but I think the ending truly is bitter-sweet upon reflection. Something about it makes sense and is satisfying in its own way, and the more I mentally fill in the blanks, the more I think Ig might have worked out things as best as he possibly could.

After you read “Horns,” if you haven’t checked out “20th Century Ghosts” or “Heart Shaped Box,” do so. “Pop Art” in 20th Century Ghosts is one of the most oddly profound short stories I’ve read in years. If you’re a comic fan, check out “Lock and Key,” the montly series Hill writes for IDW.



One Response to “The “Horns” Book Review”

  1. […] reviewed this book here earlier this year when it first came out. It’s a bit new to add to a “best of list,” but it’s […]

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