Book Review – Horns

HornsHorns by Joe Hill

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Before I read this book (though after I read Heart Shaped Box, Joe Hill’s debut novel) I learned that the author is Stephen King’s son. Cool! I love Stephen King! I thought it was pretty awesome of him that he was using a nom de plume instead of cashing in on his dad’s fame, but from what others told me, they were disappointed in his writing, because he doesn’t write like his dad.

It’s true. This does not read like a Stephen King novel. If you expect his kid to write knock-offs of his dad’s work you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re a Stephen King fan, you may actually not be interested in his style, characters or plotlines.

That said, if you’re a fan of books by Chuck Palahniuk, you’ll probably LOVE Joe Hill’s style, characters and plotlines. Seriously. He’s not derivative, but he’s very similar stylistically and in a good way. Being as I’m a big fan of both those authors, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I really liked this book.

What would happen if you woke up after a drinking binge one day to discover horns growing out of your forehead? Even worse, what if people were so affected by those horns that they’d tell you their deepest desires, looking for approval for their sins, and somehow couldn’t remember either talking to you or the fact that you were suddenly be-horned?

This is a fun, trippy, scary, gory, intriguing, and entertaining book. It has some spectacular gore… which I mostly skimmed, I have a weak stomach (what, in a Palahniuk fan? I know, I know!!). It has some fascinating characters that reveal some truths about human nature and the human condition as a whole. There are some wonderful moments about secrets in families, and some hilarious rolled-my-eyes bits of dialogue. While some of the characters and scenarios were a bit cliched, there’s a root to them that makes them cliche, the way they pop up over and over in literature and in life.

Overall, an interesting book. Definitely kept me intrigued to the last page.

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