Overall rating: 5/5 stars. Seriously, it was that good.
I’m going to start off with the fact that it really took me about a month to finish this book. This book is not in my favorite genre, young adult, but I picked it up anyway. I mainly picked it up because I knew that Daniel Radcliffe was going to be in a production of this movie and I just found out it was a book. This book got me thinking about so many different things in life. I’ve had several different conversations with one of my co-workers about some of the topics this book brings up. I think that in order to do a good review, I need to talk about what I think that this book can teach me as not only a writer, but a person living on this Earth. (Then I will also review the movie, because lets face it. The movie really needs to be mentioned.)
“Horns” by Joe Hill is about this guy named Ig Parrish, who is accused of killing his girlfriend. A year later, Ig wakes up one morning after a night of drinking with horns on his head. The horns make people tell him the honest truth about themselves. It can also influence what other people do. Ig decides to use this power to help find the person who really killed his girlfriend.
What I thought was most thought provoking about this story was the symbolism. There is the obvious God vs. the Devil, and then there is the symbolism of the cat and the snake. Snakes play a big part of this book, as minions to Ig’s will. They are the companions to the Devil. The cat is a whole different story that is intertwined within this book. I thought the author used the symbolism of these two creatures well to bring depth to the two opposing characters. Symbolism works to help create a different world for the reader. We are brought into the fictional part of the story, but at the same time, it goes against the fabric of the reality of the world within the piece of fiction. We are brought into the setting of a normal small town without the use of magic or any other supernatural events. And these weird and strange events happen… so we must kind of conclude that the use of symbolism and supernatural elements help drive this story.
There is a part in the book where Ig is talking to the snakes like disciples. He’s kind of comparing the Devil to humanity. He brings up an excellent point about how the Devil is the one who is in love with humanity. We all sin at one point in our lives. Who is going to love you for it, according to the Bible? The Devil. The Devil loves you for the bad and shameful things you do. It’s really God who condemns you for being a sinner. And I totally sounded like some kind of Devil worshiper. Which I am not. We all make our own decisions in life and God is going to love us no matter what. But that’s besides the point.
Another good point that I found while reading this book was the distinction between character and writer. There is literally a page in the book where the character is referring to Asian Americans as the “Slanted” and basically being very racist towards Asians. Some people might hate this book because of how racist that sounds, but those people are just showing their ignorance. A character is an entirely different entity outside of the writer. The character could be the most messed up person on the planet, but this should never be portrayed as an insight into the thinking of the writer. A character can have their own separate thought and not have it represent the views of the writer. If I wanted to write a character who was pro-Hitler, that should never make people assume that I am too.
The writing in this book was so impressive that I had to put the book down a few times in order to clear my head. I was hooked from the first chapter. I thought it was great how it started out with a way to clear his name, but then later just became about revenge. I mean, if it was a predictable story, Ig would triumph over the real killer and his name would be cleared and everyone would feel bad that they accused him of being a monster. But we have a character who wants to be the good guy, but later kind of embraces his bad side.
I don’t like to point out the use of perspective, but I’m going to do that for this piece. The fact that it was in third person made it really terrifying. Getting inside different people’s heads gave the story a different element that I can only describe as jaw dropping. The ease in which the writer goes between each story and perspective is very inspirational for my own work. I would love to be able to go between each story with ease. I have a hard time with transitions between scenes. I know I need to work on this and I’m hoping I can get better as the years go on.
Now… for the movie!!!
I actually watched the movie half way through reading this book. I could not wait to see how Daniel Radcliffe would pull off Ig Parrish. So I bought it on iTunes and watched it with my mom.
Let me just say that the movie in no way spoiled anything for me. I had already found out who really killed Ig’s girlfriend so everything else kind of went a different way than the book. Normally I dislike movies that stray from the book, but in this case, the movie was just as gruesome as the book. Maybe a little bit more. I can see why they made cuts to the story. I really enjoyed having an interpretation of this novel be enjoyable to watch. It did not stick with the original outline of the book, but it drew the viewer in nevertheless.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who loves gory thrillers. Plus, Daniel Radcliffe was amazing in this movie. And yes, there is a sort of sex scene. Imagine Harry Potter having sex… well he had to have had sex in order to have those kids in the Epilogue.
I know the movie review wasn’t that great, but I’m more of a book reviewer than a movie critic. I hope you liked my review and all.