Almost one year ago, Ig's girlfriend, Merrin, was brutally murdered. He had no alibi and was arrested but with little evidence the police had to let him go. Most people in his town believe he did it. The weight of his grief and anger eats away at him leading to the events of the previous night that he can't remember but resulting in the horns. With the horns' power Ig finds out what his friends and family really think of him and it's usually unpleasant. Another ability the horns give Ig is the power to see all the evil deeds committed by the person he touches.
One hidden secret is about to turn his world upside down once again and set him on a path to revenge.
Horns by Joe Hill was quite surprising. I expected the story to go in certain directions but it nearly always took a twist. Ig's story is not a straight narrative. Part of Horns flashes back to Ig's youth when he first meets Merrin and follows their romance. The reader gets a frightful view of the thoughts of a sociopath. As I was listening to this as an audiobook, I found myself fast forwarding through some of that. The mind of the killer was a dark place to be. It's scary to think that there are people who take every innocent comment and turn it into an invitation.
Hill turns the idea of good and evil on its head. Ig is a truly good person. He believed that the people he knew were good. Then a terrible event has him questioning his beliefs. The horns are a burden. They end up changing him, being in the presence of the evil in others changes him. The murderer poses as a good person but he has an empty spot where his soul should be. I'm not sure what a very religious person will make of Horns. Even my own reaction to some aspects of the book was “hmmm...” *raised eyebrow*.
But it's funny! There are some seriously funny parts in Horns. The things people tell Ig are shocking but hilarious. Poor Ig doesn't know how to deal with this. It's not really fair, actually. We all have not very nice thoughts about our love ones occasionally but those are fleeting and don't negate the love we really feel for them. Too bad Ig only hears the bad thoughts.
I'm still trying to decide if I'm satisfied with the ending of Horns. On the one hand, it really couldn't have ending any other way but still... I was quite happy about how things turned out for certain characters though.
Horns is both dark and light-hearted. Joe Hill certainly has a good sense of humour and a twisted imagination.
About the audio: I enjoyed the narration of Fred Berman. He has a youngish voice that suited Ig. The only thing that kept distracting me was his voice for Glenna. She kind of sounds like Buford from Phineas and Ferb to me. Sorry but that's who kept replacing the image of Ig's curvy friend in my mind.