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Friday, March 25, 2011

Horns by Joe Hill

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  Is it just me or has this week flown by as a whole, yet dragged its feet along the way?  Maybe it’s just me since it’s been so so busy, but hey…we do what we can and hopefully love what we do! 

The weekend has arrived and with it (for most of us anyway) the chance to discover a new book or two in our local bookstores, or even start/finish something from our persistent TBR piles, stacks, or mountains.  The sky’s the limit on what adventure we’ll uncover next; just the way I like it.  If you’re on the hunt for your next read, allow me to make a suggestion for a creepy good reading experience.  Today’s book of choice is…


***WARNING:  This book is not intended for young readers.  Adult audiences recommended due to language, and content.  Readers, you’ve been warned.***

Ignatius Perrish (aka Ig) is a bad, BAD man.  He’s suspected of murdering his girlfriend almost a year ago to the day.  He’s an alcoholic with a penchant for drinking beyond the point of no return.  His current girlfriend he’s admittedly with mainly for the “extracurricular activities”.  Yep; he’s one BAD fellow.  Guess it’s only fitting that his new image is going to include horns now isn’t it?  But there’s more here than meets the eye.  Secrets and lies, deep seeded fears and darkest desires all bubbling just beneath the surface, ready to break through.  In short…all “H-E-double hockey stick” is about to break loose…

Seems like I’ve had to use the “warning” spiel a lot recently as for some reason or another I’ve run into a string of books that warrants them.  Interesting…but alas, it was bound to happen at some point, hence the pitfalls of reading books across so many genres (but that’s a pitfall I’ll gladly traverse, thank you).  Anywho…back to the story at hand.

I admit it, when I started reading this one I wasn’t completely taken in by it as I usually am… or at least not in the same way.  It’s not that the writing isn’t good, because it is.  It’s not that the story isn’t original, because unless there are two people running around with these ideas in their heads (scary thought) than it is.  It’s the actual events in the story.  They rank among that rare group of ideas that you find morbidly fascinating.  It’s like one of those proverbial accidents waiting to happen that you can’t seem to look away from; those slow motion falls that you see coming but are somehow helpless to do anything about.  That’s the meat and potatoes of this book…but the gravy bringing it all together is much deeper (and darker).

Ig wasn’t always a bad guy; in fact he was rather good hard as that may be to believe.  I mean sure, he did some fairly stup…silly things as a boy and his adult life may not have been perfect, but he had a good heart and always tried to do what was best for everyone even if it shorted himself in the end.  So…why the turn from angel to devil?  That’s where the story gets a bit fuzzy.  You can see the murder of his long time girlfriend acting as the hinge that came undone, but only if you take the stand that he internalized his feelings of guilt towards what happened…or rather what didn’t because his brain is playing hide-and-seek with that information.  And that my friend is just the beginning of the “sticky” part…

There is a place mentioned that he and his gal dub the “Tree House of the Mind”.  It’s an actual tree house that I can only liken to the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter, you know, it appears only when it’s actually needed, though this couples “use” of it was far less studious.  The events that occur in his youth regarding this tree house circle back to him towards the end of the book, almost like an intensely real moment of déjà vu.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone, but it left me a bit befuddled.  (Perhaps if you’ve read it, you can share your thoughts on it?)

I did find that underneath the hardcore creepiness seeping off the pages, the mystery and how the truth was uncovered was really GOOD.  We live through Ig’s past to get a sense of who he is.  We’re welcomed into his present as the pieces slowly fit (or are pounded, whatever works) together to form the bigger picture not completely anticipated though vaguely revealed in a general sense early on due to the penchant for revealing hard truths and desires that his newly grown horns endows.  (Can you imagine having THAT power?  ~shudders~)  We even get a glimpse of his future as it slithers closer and closer leaving no doubt what end he will choose (or will choose him) by the conclusion of the story.  It’s quite the roller coaster but one well worth strapping in for. 

So, let’s see here.  Is this for the faint of heart?  No.  Is this for the squeamish?  Nope.  Is this for young readers?  Uh, that’s a “heck no” if ever one was deserved.  What in the world is it then?  Well I’ll tell you.  It is what it is; a book dark and twisted around a plot perfect for adult readers and a story you won’t soon forget.  The odd sense of humor grows on you...much like the horns on our old pal Ig, but with less permanent effects (so far at least).  It boggles the mind to the point of “dear-goodness-why-did-I-start-reading-this-again” and brings you right back around to reveal that apparently, you were in the mood for something a bit out there and hey, you found what you sought. 

A few final notes you may find intriguing (as I know I did).  First, there is an interesting inclusion of Morris Code within the book  as it’s used to gain the attention of someone and later on to reveal hard hitting truths, but it also makes an appearance somewhere else…the cover, or rather inside the cover on the hardback edition.  At first glance, I thought…huh, interesting choice of decorating.  I mean it looks like a pattern.  After having read the book, I was curious and decided to decipher the message…revealing a rather fitting (and laughable) statement.  (Shan’t be revealing it here, but trust me, it’s fitting.) 

Second revelation of sorts, it appears as though the book has been slated to be brought to the big screen.  That’s right, another book turned movie.  But will it be a hit or a miss?  Personally I think it has a good shot at being a hit (and it even might make a few scenes clearer, ya never know), especially with the potential actor cast as Ig….Shia Labeouf.  Yep.  Whether you love or hate him, I think he’d do the role justice when considering the actual written characters personality.  Thanks goes to popculturenerd on Twitter for the heads up on that!

Recommended for adult readers only due to content, language, situations…you get the picture; 18+ or older.  While this book was published in hardback previously, it just made its paperback debut this month so whatever your reading preference may be, the format is now available!  Review copy received courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.  (THANKS!)  For more information regarding this title as well as their full catalog be sure to visit them online or follow along on Twitter.  To find out more about the mind behind the vision, head over to the author’s website or follow his Twitter feed.

(Yes…I did have too much fun with the Morris Code aspect of the book.  What?  What?!  Oh come on….I’ll even give you the link to the “guide” to decode it and a hint that each line of the code is only one word...   ^_^)


Misha said...

I am a huge coward, but I love creepy books with dark plot-lines! :D

" Secrets and lies, deep seeded fears and darkest desires all bubbling just beneath the surface, ready to break through."

This sentence convinced me to add the book to my TBR! Thank you!!

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Thanks for this honest review. Not a book for me I don't think but then you never know. Have a good weekend.

Gina said...

Misha: *high five* Yay for adding another to the TBR. ^_^ Might be a great fit for you.

Petty Witter: Absolutely...on all counts! ^_^

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review as usual darling :)

Happy weekend!

Heather said...

As I was reading your review I could feel my heart beat speeding up. Don't know if it was trepidation or excitement.

Gina said...

Juju: You too!

Heather: Oooh...with this book? Could be either...or quite possibly BOTH! ^_^

Mary Ellen said...

Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the chance to win!

Evie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evie said...

.- .-- . ... --- -- .
.-. . ...- .. . .--

I enjoyed reading HORNS a lot, Joe Hill is now one of my favorite writers. I read his other books - 20th Century Ghosts and Heart Shaped Box, and really liked both of them as well.
I think the darkness and the creepiness runs in the family, but that's ok, I'm fine with that. For me this book was brilliant. I loved everything from page one to the end, especially how it all came together, like puzzles.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

This book is totally on my TBR pile must get to it soon.

Vivien said...

I had fun with the morse code as well. It was a really clever idea!!

Gina said...

Mary Ellen: Good luck!

Evie: Ah, nice turn of the tables with the coded message....and thanks! ^_^ I haven't read his other works at this point, but may have to in the future. Agreed on the puzzle it when it all comes together.

Jessica: Yay! *high five*

Vivien: Agreed!

The1stdaughter said...

Definitely sounds like the perfect read for the adult audience wanting something...a little different and a bit scary possibly. I can think of quite a few people who would fall into that category.

Hopefully someone helped you out on that fuzzy section of the book, because perhaps it would clear up things. I don't know? O_o

Seriously good review, honestly. Still not one I think I'll be picking up anytime soon...I'm scared of the dark, may give me nightmares. Eeck!

Jessica M said...

I am hearing so many people raving about Horns on Twitter and in reviews, so now I've definitely added it to my wishlist. It sounds like a great read for those times when I wish I could be watching a scary movie but my bf won't let me! (He's afraid of them so I can never watch them at home, lol.) :)

Gina said...

The1stdaughter: Yes, definitely adult audiences...and alas, nope. Either no one else was confused by it, they haven't read it, or they don't care to share. =0( LOL though....not every book is for every one. ^_^

Jessica M: ...and with good reason! Definitely can be enjoyed despite bf's adversion. ^_^

Kate @ Candlemark said...

I'm such a scaredy-cat, but I just got Joe Hill's first book, _Heart-Shaped Box_ in the mail yesterday, and I'm already hooked. Gonna have to read _Horns_...and then hide in a blanket fort for a week.

Gina said...

Kate @ Candlemark: Ooh...I remember the cover on that one. Curious to see what you think of it. Same goes for HORNS...I'll wait until you come out of the blanket fort. ^_^

Unknown said...

A nice review, which further cements my want for it. I've had it on my wish list for a while, but I've never been in a hurry to go out and get it. I've read his other titles, Heart-Shaped Box, 20th Century Ghosts, and even started into his graphic novel series Locke & Key. The guy is a great storyteller.

April said...

Oh, I have been so looking forward to your review and thoughts on this! I really enjoyed it - I loved Heart Shaped Box more, but did like this one a lot. For me, the tree house had a metaphysical aspect to it. For some reason, when I read horror, I always feel this underlying "lesson" of sorts, rather than the morbid glory that the story is presented in. I know, I am incredibly odd, lol! I do hope you read Heart-Shaped Box because I would love to hear your thoughts on it!
Great review!!

Gina said...

Rabid Fox: Wow...a true fan! I applaud you. Though this was my first experience with his work, it more than likely won't be the last.

April: TADA! Ask and you shall receive. LOL. Seriously have to check out this Heart Shaped Box as everyone is toting how GOOD it was. Hmm...interesting thoughts on the tree house. Will have to ponder a bit more... ^_^

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