HornsHorns by Joe Hill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

this book makes me think i don’t know how to write about books very well.

cause i really felt it was ok, nothing special, but i couldn’t put it down.

so how can a book be nothing special if you can’t put it down? and yet it is, i’m not just being cranky. the main character is well-drawn, but pretty much everybody else is a cardboard cut-out. there are some really good plot twists, and a bunch more that seem unnatural, forced. there are altogether too many trap-door moments (“and i was dead! but not really” sort of things). the final Big Action scene is just kind of eyerolling. like, sure. and the symbols are often forced, lit up like neon signs so the somnolent reader is jolted awake (cross! cross! it’s a cross!!! the car’s a Gremlin!!!!! baptism by river! pay attention to my symbols!!!!!!!!).

but then there’s a few spots where the book transcends itself altogether, and becomes really quite good–see pages 216-219 of the paperback edition if you don’t believe me. mighty fine reading, speculating about god/good and evil/devil, and you know i’m an atheist for whom all biblical arguments have the emotional valence of arguments about Zeus or Ra.
the main character in this book has the effect, under certain circumstances, of inducing a kind of amnesia in his interlocutors. They have a feeling they talked to him, but they can’t put a finger on what they talked about. that’s kind of how i feel about this book. i can’t even really identify why i kept reading it, let alone enjoyed it in parts. so you can perhaps see why this book leaves me somewhat puzzled about my ability to render any kind of judgement on books.

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