In Horns by Joe Hill, Ig Perrish wakes up one day with horns growing out of his head and the powers of the devil. Not sure how this happened, he discovers that not only can he hear people’s darkest secrets, but they also have a compulsion to tell him their inner truths. Oh, and no one seems to notice Ig’s horns.
Ig is haunted by the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin, a crime for which he is blamed but did not commit. As he struggles with his new power, he revisits his relationship with his family, his friends and Merrin. He discovers truths that change him. Ultimately Horns is about good coming from evil, change coming from struggle.
Joe Hill is a great writer. His books are cleanly written, have wonderful character development, and a strong pace. Unlike his father, Stephen King, Hill isn’t a true horror writer. His books are more of a blend of horror, mystery and fiction, with a dash of ghost story thrown in for good measure.
A 2011 GR Reads pick, I think that Horns is the book that most directly relates to the Good vs. Evil theme. Through Ig’s eyes, we see that the eternal struggle between right and wrong is universal. That we all have bad thoughts and want to do bad things, but most of the time, we choose not to act on them. How Ig chooses to use his powers is the crux of the story. I often wanted to tell him what to do, to control him. In the end, the reader is left wondering if Ig can remain a good guy while embodying a bad one.