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Horns

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Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. . . .

370 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2009

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About the author

Joe Hill

349 books24.6k followers
Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He writes short stories too. Some of them were gathered together in his prize-winning collection, 20th Century Ghosts.

He won the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long running comic book series, Locke & Key, co-created with illustrator and art wizard Gabriel Rodriguez.

He lives in New Hampshire with a corgi named McMurtry after a certain beloved writer of cowboy tales. His next book, Strange Weather, a collection of novellas, storms into bookstores in October of 2017.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,177 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly.
447 reviews216 followers
April 20, 2010
In order to enjoy this book for the disappointment it is, I suggest the following for the over 21 crowd:

Take one sip every time...:
Someone exclaims any one of: "No!"; "Oh my God!” “What ARE you?”
A character or location from a Stephen King novel is mentioned.
You want to slap the main character and tell him to man up.
Merrin’s hair is described.
The pace becomes inert.
The word devil appears. (*Warning* you may get intoxicated from this action alone)
The setting is either at the evil knieval trail or Lee’s house.
His style of writing makes you question if he really is King’s son.
You revisit a scene/character that has already been described ad nausea.

Take two sips every time...:
Plausibility exits stage right.
Something way too convenient is revealed, but then just as quickly is dismissed.
The narrator repeats himself.
An animal/reptile dies.
After countless pages of unnecessary descriptions of inanimate objects and places, you realize he is King’s son.
You can predict the outcome of each introduced character. (*Warning* this happens with every character)
You yawn, doze off, skim, or rub your temple in frustration.

Down the bottle every time …:
You feel a headache coming on because just as it was starting to get interesting, Hill slips into the past without even a head’s up or Scooby effect.
You start screaming, “Ok, but why does he have horns?!

*And for all you tolerant drinkers out there who haven’t had enough, I DARE you to drink every time you think a question, any question, is going to be answered...

*Sidenote:
If you’ve found one likeable/fleshed-out character in this book – you’ve drank too much. Step away from the computer and dial 9-1-1.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,388 reviews6,655 followers
March 22, 2010
Stephen King really messed up his son, Joe. It’s not surprising. The children of famous people generally end up as tabloid fodder, and with King as a dad, I’m shocked that one of his brood hasn’t gone on an extended murder spree.

King spends all day thinking of the most horrific shit possible to try and scare the collective pants off the reading public, and he had huge substance abuse problems when his kids were young. So you gotta assume that the conversations went something like this:

“Joe, get Daddy another beer. And a mirror and a razor blade. First, tell me something. Would you be scared if I told you there was a clown in the storm drain waiting to lure you close and pull your arm off?”

No surprise then that King’s son has grown up to write a couple of very disturbing horror novels. (And I also like that Joe uses an alias to avoid cashing in on the family name even if the secret is out.)

Ignatius Perrish’s girlfriend, Merrin, was raped and murdered, and he was the prime suspect. An accident destroyed most of the evidence against him so he was never tried. The entire New England town he lives in thinks he did it, and so does most of his family except for his brother, a famous talk-show host. Grief has completely derailed Ig’s life, and he spends most of his time drunk.

One night, Ig goes out and gets more wasted than usual. When he wakes, he doesn’t just have a hangover. He’s got a pair of horns coming out of his forehead and some surprising new abilities to go with them.

I loved the early chapters of this and thought that it was going to be a book laced with dark humor about the nature of people and the hypocrisies of small towns. But the book shifts into outright tragedy and zeroes in on Ig’s past with Merrin and how her death has destroyed his life.

While it’s always interesting, the book can’t really decide what it wants to be. Maybe Joe Hill should have written one book about the tragic aftermath of a murder and another about a guy who wakes up with horns. Because the two tones really don’t sync up well.

There’s still a lot to like here, but I don’t think it delivered on the promise I saw in the early chapters.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,517 reviews10.8k followers
February 21, 2012
horns-book-cover-02-1v2

Joe Hill has the story-telling gift and his terrific sophomore effort catapults him onto my “authors-to-watch” list. I had some heated internal debates regarding what final rating to tag this with as I vacillated between 5, 4 and 3 stars depending on where I was in the book, eventually settling on a very strong 4. I don’t think this ratings quandary necessarily reflects uneven levels of quality in Hill’s execution. Rather, I think the back and forth resulted from the subtlety and complexity of the story Hill was telling which caught me a bit off guard.

You know how some works you go into knowing that you need to be focused and mindful of parsing sentences for hidden nuggets of meaning, while other stories you can come to far more passively and just sit back and let them entertain you. Well I think I came to this story expecting the latter and thus was not as “active” in my reading when confronted with some of the depth that Hill brought to this story. I’m not saying this is Joyce (and thank goodness for that), but Hill shows some surprising chops for digging into the underbelly of who we are.

PLOT SUMMARY:

Horns is broken up into 50 chapters, five main segments of 10 chapters each.

Chapter’s 1-10: Hell

These opening chapters were a lot of fun and sported some wonderful dialogue (and monologue) as Ig, the main character, wakes up with a massive hangover and discovers, much to his “what manner of fuckery is this” surprise, that he has horns. In addition to the hat-handicapping appendages, Ig quickly discovers that he is able to provoke people into spilling their darkest secrets and into acting on their darkest desires. As Ig is struggling to come to grips with his new reality, we also learn that his life has been a deep dark place for many years following the brutal rape and murder of his girlfriend. Everyone, including Ig’s family, believes he is guilty of the crime though he was never tried for it.

I was at an awe-laden FIVE STARS for pure surface enjoyment and snappy dialogue and this section ends with a big reveal regarding the murder of Ig's girlfriend (Merrin Williams).

Chapter’s 11-20: Cherry

This second section of the book was the slowest part of the novel and the one I enjoyed the least. In it, Ig recalls his childhood and his early interaction with the main players of the story, Merrin Williams, Lee Tourneau and Ig's brother Terry Perrish. I found this section to be a serious downshifting to the pace established in Part I and I noticed that my attention began to drift. However, as I mentioned above, I think I may not have given Hill enough credit for under the surface meaning here. In hindsight, given how the story ended, this section provides some critical information that is essential to the eventual resolution and probably deserved a better effort from me while I was reading it. As it is, I had this labeled at 3.0 stars.

Chapter’s 21-30: Fire Sermon

Ramping right back up into 4/5 star territory, this segment details the day of Merrin’s murder and had me fascinated and glued to the page. I don’t want to spoil this by saying any more but Hill shows a tremendous gift for exploring the dark in this segment. He must have had a very good teacher.

Chapter’s 31-40: Fixer

Here Hill switches gears again and shows us the world through the eyes of Lee Tourneau, Ig's best fried growing up. These are the best chapters in the book in my opinion. Lee is a superbly drawn character and his portrayal by Joe Hill is subtle, complex and brilliant. It was while reading this segment that I truly began to see that there was far, far more to this novel than simply a well-written dark fantasy.

Chapter’s 41-50: Gospel According to Mick and Keith

The final 10 chapters tie the novel together into a very satisfying, though somewhat unexpected, ending. I thought the use of the "Treehouse of the Mind" was a nice device and showed Hill’s skill for imagery as he illustrates the battle raging within Ig. While part of me would have liked a little more clarification on the meaning of the treehouse, most of me was pleased that I was allowed to arrive at my own conclusion about what the imagery and I can't call that a bad thing.

THOUGHTS:

Overall, this was an excellent novel and one that I intend to revisit at some point as I think a second reading may provide a more robust appreciation for the story. For now, I think it’s safe to say that if you enjoyed Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel, this novel may blow you away. Both Hill's writing and story-telling have improved significantly over his debut novel and I expect some truly amazing work from him in the future.

This guy has talent and I like that both of his stories have been unique and "off the beaten path."

4.0 to 4.5 stars. Highly Recommended!!
Profile Image for Becky.
1,312 reviews1,595 followers
December 16, 2015
Remember, way back at the beginning of the year, when I said that I wanted to hump Hugh Laurie's leg for writing The Gun Seller? After reading Horns, and just the ARC - not even the finished, shiny and perfect masterpiece - I want to hump Joe Hill's leg for writing it.

Not too long ago, I read Hill's short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, and in the intro, Christopher Golden says that Hill is subtle writer, that his stories are "promises fulfilled". I think that Golden's words about Joe Hill are even more apt when it comes to Horns. This is Joe Hill fulfilling his promise to readers. Horns is his promise to the world that he can keep pulling new and amazing tricks out of his bag, and each one will be better than the last.

I'm sad that I'm finished, that it's over. I feel like I should just flip back to the beginning and read it again, because I know, without a doubt, that it will be even more brilliant the 2nd time around.

Joe Hill's subtlety and brilliance is much more in evidence and has more effect in this book than any of his other books I've read. I don't even know how to gush enough to do justice to what I want to say! I feel like with every line that I read, there was another line behind it that added to the depth of the one I'd just read. The way that he wrote Lee was amazing. Seeing things through his eyes was truly scary and disturbing. (I don't want to give too much away about his character, but I will say this, I think that Joe Hill wrote Lee Tourneau better than his father, Stephen King wrote Junior Rennie.) When Ig sermonizes to the snakes, I was proud of him in that moment. Not simply for finally realizing that the snakes were his, but for his understanding of truth, and life, and love in that moment, and for accepting Merrin's decision that last night as being her right, even though it destroyed him. I feel like Joe Hill wrote these things, but then I also feel like he didn't write them, that he doesn't have to write them because they just seep out of the pages and into me. Merrin's letter is another one of those 'between the lines' bits. My heart hurt reading her letter to Ig, I felt like I was losing something myself, and I hurt for them. I definitely had some sympathy for the devil at that moment.

Which brings me to my next couple of points. I love how music works its way into Hill's writing and stories, and the depth that it gives them. It's not just there for set dressing or for a pop culture stamp to place the story into a familiar territory for the reader, one gets the feeling that not only is music important to Hill, but that it is vital to him. I feel like he was speaking through Ig when he was appalled at Lee's lack of music appreciation, his plain statement that music is simply the background noise to events or action. Music is something that some people live and breathe, and I feel like Joe is one of those people, and because he is, so was Ig.

I also loved the devillish humor inserted throughout the story. I love when a book can take me from one extreme to another, and this was no exception. I went from confusion, to shock, to laughter, to tears, to laughter, to more tears, etc. Every page brought some new revelation, and to me, Hill's timing with the humor and the heartache were spot on.

I further loved the full picture of Merrin we got, even though we never got to really meet her. We got a composite of her from various other sources, like a police sketch artist making a picture from one person describing the nose, another describing the shape of the eyes, another giving us the hair, or the mouth, or the jawline, etc. Merrin's loss hit me like a ton of bricks, even though I knew about it from the beginning. But it still hurt, because I came to love her the way that Ig did - even though there was a brief time that I disliked her when I saw her through Lee's eyes. Even though I knew it was hopeless, I still wanted to hope that something would happen to magically reverse what actually DID happen. That was wishful thinking, but what I'm saying is that Joe Hill made me feel that way, despite knowing what I knew about the impossibility of that.

I both loved and hated the way that people would spill their deepest and darkest thoughts to Ig, and I really felt for him having to endure the awful things that people thought about him. I couldn't imagine hearing those kinds of things from the people I love, and the people who are supposed to love me. Everyone claims to want the truth about how people feel about us, but I think that the plain, unvarnished truth is awful and unbearable. In my head, I can hear Jack Nicholson yelling, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" and it's true. I would have probably just crawled in a hole somewhere if people had said to me what they said to Ig. So, kudos to him for being stronger than I am.

I think that's enough gushing... There's a lot more that I wrote down to mention, but I think you all get the point now, don't you?

If you haven't already, read this book. Discover the greatness that is Joe Hill. I'm waiting! :)
Profile Image for Shannon.
3,030 reviews2,341 followers
March 5, 2010
It's hard for me to rate this book. On one hand I was hooked within the first 20 pages. On the other hand though I found it emotionally draining and painful to read. There's a quote that Ig reads to himself that I think sums up my feelings as well:

"It goes against the American storytelling grain to have someone in a situation he can't get out of, but I think this is very usual in life."

I often read fantasy and paranormal books to escape the harsh realities of life. It's the same reason I don't watch the news or read it often on the internet. The most I normally expose myself to is the Daily Show and the Colbert Report because most of the time the news is full of death and horrible things. That's not to say that I'm completely ignorant of what's going on in the world, but seriously, turn on your local news and I bet most of the stories are about rape, death, and murder.

I think this is sort of the reason I tend to steer away from horror novels and movies. I saw the first Saw movie and thought to myself, who would find something like this enjoyable? I just can't see the appeal of watching people suffer.

But now, back to this book. I picked it up because of a recommendation from a friend at work. She enjoyed it and it sounded like it had just enough of a paranormal bent for me to be intrigued. I was literally hooked within the first few chapters but then when the story started taking place in the past things moved a little bit slower and I wasn't as enthralled as I initially was. Once the mystery starts to unravel though it quickly resembles a gruesome car crash; one you have to slowly drive past and gawk at.

Ig Perrish wakes up the day after the one year anniversary of his girlfriend's death. He drank way too much the night before, did something he can't remember, and woke up with horns growing out of the middle of his forehead. When he's around people they tell him all kinds of dirty secrets, the stuff they want to do and how they really think, as if he's their own personal demon that they can confess to. And with this new ability, Ig finds out what his friends and family really think about him and the mystery of who really raped and killed his girlfriend slowly unfolds.

Like I said, this was tough to read. Ig was blamed for the death of his girlfriend even though there wasn't any evidence to link him to the crime. He was a permanent person of interest though and he and his family suffered because of it. The things that Ig learns made me flinch as I read them. They're heartbreaking and terribly sad and they make you hate just about every character. As you learn more and more and realize the truth of what happened the night his girlfriend was killed you really just feel sorry for Ig. It's really a sad ending for a sad tale. I also thought the villain should have suffered more, but do they ever suffer enough for their crimes?

I guess I can say I liked this book but I didn't like the way it made me feel. I want to read Hill's other books though because I think he's a good writer. I'm just hoping his other stories aren't as tragic.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,792 reviews69k followers
February 6, 2023
Hands down my favorite book from Joe Hill!

description

Well, so far. Some of his books can be a little too long and winding (for me) but this one I actually enjoyed from start to finish. Everything fit and there wasn't a lot of extra nonsense to it. Plus, I liked all of the characters. I was rooting for Iggy. He wasn't perfect but he wasn't gross, either. I wanted him to somehow be happy, even though it looked pretty much impossible from the get-go.

description

If you don't already know, the gist is that this guy named Iggy wakes up from a blackout drunk episode with horns starting to sprout from his head. He quickly learns that everyone who sees him inexplicably tells him their deepest darkest desires, AND he has the ability to nudge people into doing something bad that they secretly want to do.
Why?
Well, you gotta read the book to find that out.

description

Iggy spends the book between flashbacks and real-time, trying to figure out not only why this horn thing was happening to him but also who killed the love of his life. Everyone assumes Iggy is the one who raped and killed her because of an ugly, very public fight they'd had the night before she died.
Maybe Iggy is just absolutely the unluckiest guy in the world when it comes to timing? Or maybe he was the luckiest guy in the world until that night, because he certainly seemed to be blessed with friends, family, and a perfect love until then. At least, that's what he thought.

description

Without giving too much of the plot away, this is mostly the story of a guy finding out whether the Devil is the bad guy or just the guy who punishes bad guys.
Now, this may not be for everyone, but it was definitely a big winner for me.
Highly Recommeded.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
199 reviews143 followers
November 5, 2022
“It was like wondering how evil had come into the world or what happens to a person after he dies: an interesting philosophical exercise, but also curiously pointless, since evil and death happened, regardless of the why and the how and the what-it-meant.”

Merrin Williams is dead, slaughtered under inexplicable circumstances, leaving her beloved boyfriend Ignatius Perrish (Ig) as the only suspect. On the first anniversary of Merrin's murder, Ig spends the night drunk and doing awful things. When he wakes the next morning he has a thunderous hangover... and horns growing from his temples. Ig possesses a terrible new power, a macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his one true love.

Horns, at it’s core is a touching love story that is surrounded by grief, loss, love, death, and the extent of human nature. The innocence of childhood love is a beautiful thing that the Author explores with such grace that you can't help but feel warm inside. However, it's a bittersweet feeling when you know the fate of their love.

This brutal and edgy story is a dark fantasy full of mystery and tension. The characters in this story are human, they're likeable and they have their faults. I couldn't help but feel connected to them instantly. I've yet to read anything similar to this book. It does an excellent job of weaving together multiple genres - dark fantasy, crime fiction and horror.

I’m relatively new to the world of Joe Hill having only read Heart-Shaped Box and now Horns. But I can already see myself becoming a huge fan. What an incredible talent. Highly Recommend.

“Satan has long been known as the Adversary, but God fears women even more than He fears the devil—and is right to. She, with her power to bring life into the world, was truly made in the image of the Creator, not man, and in all ways has proved Herself a more deserving object of man’s worship than Christ, that unshaven fanatic who lusted for the end of the world.”
Profile Image for Baba.
3,505 reviews738 followers
October 8, 2022
This supernatural mystery thriller, is packed with great ideas and compelling non-linear storytelling, but being of the supernatural ilk, those always a fear of Deus Ex Machina! And alas, despite this book really getting under my skin and chilling me at times, I found the later stages of the book so unsatisfying! Horror lovers will most likely enjoy it though. 7 out of 12.

Sadly with the exception of the most marvellous Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft, I've found Joe Hill's conventional horror novel work really unsatisfying on completion... the journey's are great, but the last acts are meh!

2020 read
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,864 reviews10.5k followers
September 25, 2013
Ignatius Perrish's longtime girlfriend was murdered and the whole town thinks he did it but he's walking free because the evidence was destroyed. After an all night bender, he wakes up with horns sticking out of his head that allow him to hear the thoughts of others. When he learns the identity of Merrin's killer, things start spiraling out of control...

First off, the good points. Joe Hill's writing is a throwback to his father's early days, back when people had the guts to edit him and his still wrote like the bastard son of John D. McDonald and Richard Matheson. He paints an accurate picture of small town life and what it's like to lose the most important person in the world to you. Also, I found the sociopathic villain of the piece to be quite hate-worthy and couldn't wait for Ig to settle his account permanently.

And now, the rest. I don't know if it was the case of wrong book, wrong time for me but I felt like the book didn't know what it was trying to be. Is it a revenge story? Is it about how death can devastate a small town? I felt like the story kept wandering away from the parts I cared about. While I felt Ig's pain, I didn't think he was a very well developed character. Lee was the only character of any substance in the book.

Note that 2 stars does not mean I hated it. I felt it was okay but I couldn't help looking at the other unread books on my shelf and knowing I would enjoy a number of them more than this.

Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,691 followers
July 4, 2016
Joe Hill writes from a dark and mysterious place. When I read this book, I was enthralled and uncomfortable at the same time. With every Hill novel I have read, the evil is unconventional and twisted. In this novel, the protagonist connects with the dark forces through mysterious horns growing out of his head . . . and it only gets stranger from there.

My guess is that 9 out of 10 readers will have no idea exactly what happened, but there is a good chance that most of them will have enjoyed it (I was one of those).
Profile Image for Annemarie.
249 reviews683 followers
March 12, 2018
Actual rating: 2.5 🌟

I had no idea where the story would go and how it would end, which led to me only be able to make a judgement at the very end. This is one of those books you really have to look at as a whole.
However, I still can't say if I enjoyed it or if I didn't...

The biggest problem I had were the characters. I felt no connection to any of them. In fact, all of them seemed kind of "unreal" and "untouchable". I felt no emotion whenever something bad happened to them, either. I just didn't care for them.
This doesn't mean that they weren't interesting people, though. But that's exactly why I would have liked to learn more about them...

The ending left me feeling kind of cold as well. I simply expected more after such a long build-up.
The positive thing about the book was the writing style (very easy to read, despite the gruesome topic) and the overall message the story seems to convey.
Profile Image for Michael || TheNeverendingTBR.
427 reviews141 followers
March 15, 2022
This is a fantastic example of book perfection, I have never read anything quite like this one before.

It was unputdownable and the quickest I've ever read a book.

Iggy Perrish wakes up with a terrible hangover and also finds he has protruding horns.

Along with the horns, Iggy has gained powers of dubious value, including the ability to induce those around him to give voice and in some cases action to their darkest thoughts and desires.

By touching them, Iggy can also see what dark deeds they have already committed.

We learn that, even before the appearance of the horns, Iggy was not an average guy. Not only is he a member of a marginally famous family, he remains the prime suspect in the year old rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin.

He sets out to solve and avenge using his newfound abilities.

It's a very dark, wicked and entertaining read.
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
648 reviews402 followers
April 14, 2017
I'll start by saying that I loved both the book and the movie. Daniel Radcliffe did an amazing job at portraying Ig even if the actor looked a lot better than the book-Ignatius.

description
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside.

description

As I said before, I really liked this book.
And unlike the movie, in the novel, we find out pretty soon who killed Merrin. And we get to hang around with Ig as he deals with his new powers, and tries to come up with a plan to punish the real murderer.

Talking about the murderer, I was surprised with him/her. I'm morally grey sometimes, but I cannot imagine a person being so vile, so heartless, and so utterly insane as to imagine all those things about Merrin. She definitely deserved her happy ending with Ig. But I can see where Joe Hill was going with this. And I respect him for his choices.

Hill tells a very good story that has it all: romance, horror, drama. And I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
615 reviews4,243 followers
April 29, 2020
“It bewildered Ig, the idea that a person could not be interested in music. It was like not being interested in happiness.”

A solid 5 stars for the flashback portions of the book... but a meagre 2 stars for the present day sections.

My feelings for this one are a bit all over the place. The premise is that Ig Perrish wakes up after a heavy night on the drink, but he seems to have sprouted horns on his forehead. With this comes the side-effect of those around him telling him exactly what they are thinking.

I oddly felt like I would have enjoyed it more if the supernatural aspect was removed? Which doesn’t make much sense as the horns obviously help with the progression of the story. This would help explain why I liked the flashbacks more - pre-horns, if you will. I loved learning about Ig and his relationship with Merrin, the girlfriend everyone thinks he killed, as well as getting more of an insight into the character of Lee.

I just felt like the horns were kinda stupid? I don’t know, I just couldn’t get into all the imagery and symbolism, and ultimately I felt quite disappointed with this one. So much is just left unexplained and that was frustrating too.

But being a Joe Hill novel, it has its merits. He’s a great writer, there’s no doubt about that. This plot just didn’t work for me and although I wanted to feel an emotional attachment to the characters, I just couldn’t connect.

Overall, just a big fat meh for me. 3 stars.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
1,968 reviews2,687 followers
August 28, 2021
4.0 Stars
This is an incredibly vulgar and disgusting book…. Yet, I liked it. The main character is completely unlikable and the rest of the people in the story are somehow worse. I really enjoyed the sinful confessions which made for a fun, voyeuristic reading experience. This book is definitely not for everyone. It's honestly quite offensive at times. However, it's so smart in how it's written that I mostly enjoyed the indulgently inappropriate story. 
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
600 reviews714 followers
April 16, 2018
Surprisingly good.

A clever premise that was executed really brilliantly.
I hated the characters, each more loathsome than the next but I loved our MC Ig.

But what I loved even more was the non-linear narrative style. Time jumps, POV changes, misleading narratives - all to finally wrap up so nicely in the end.

Profile Image for Bill Muganda.
351 reviews226 followers
March 4, 2017
“The best way to get even with anyone is to put them in the rear-view mirror on your way to something better.”

Update: Just watched the movie I would give it a 6/10 the book is still way better
This book rapidly broke into one of the best books I have ever read. In my small reading life, I have never come across a book that has such a bizarre concept with its own unique premise and an amazing story line that just leaves you…



 
“I guess Satan was the first superhero [...] In his first adventure, he took the form of a snake to free two prisoners being held naked in a Third World jungle prison by an all-powerful megalomaniac. At the same time, he broadened their diet and introduced them to their own sexuality.”

This book was made extra cool by the fact that it was my first buddy read with Liz, Ron & Paul and I had such a fun time discussing it. Seeing the others perspectives really added depth to the story and made the book that much greater. Thanks guys and I really can’t wait for future reads.
You Guys Rock!!!

“It bewildered Ig, the idea that a person could not be interested in music. It was like not being interested in happiness.”

The book broke bounds in storytelling, it was like putting a puzzle together or being shoved into a new world and you have to navigate through it yourself, it wasn’t hard to get into the story because Joe Hill’s writing has this dark humor to it. Literally the first page we meet Ignatius Martin Perrish (IG) who woke up with horns(Hence the title) .He can apparently see into peoples inner dark secrets, people treat him like a priest in a confession box and so many fucked up things that came with the horns. His life was pretty fucked up before the horns came into play, from losing the love of his life to a heinous murder and him being the main suspect, basically the whole town hates him so you can imagine what the guy was going through…


“You think you know someone. But mostly you just know what you want to know.”

As I said before, Hill is talented and Stephen King must be so proud because he created such an amazing book with a concept that just blows my mind just think about it. Sometimes it read like a crime novel in which you were the detective and the need to find answers will have you flipping the pages, trying to piece the puzzle together. It also read like a horror novel *not the kind of monsters under your bed* but the kind where you question your own morality and seeing how messed up being a human being is… In all sense this was just a book that was on its own level and you can’t pinpoint it to a certain genre just like most of Stephen King’s work. You will have this weird feeling that you aren't supposed to be enjoying what is happening to some people or the feeling of killing of some people and the author manged to put the reader into this grey area of " morality ", I loved it.
batman applause clapping joker heath ledger “When you think about it, most of the good ideas came along to make sin a whole lot easier.”

Themes and Symbolism shone throughout the book and they were funny, dark, twisted and thought provoking. He managed to incorporate and played around with the concept of religion and his use biblical references with a twist was pure genius..

For Example :
“He paused, twisting his goatee, considering the law in Deuteronomy that forbade clothes with mixed fibers. A problematic bit of Scripture. A matter that required thought. "Only the devil wants man to have a wide range of lightweight and comfortable styles to choose from," he murmured at last, trying out a new proverb. "Although there may be no forgiveness for polyester. On this one matter, Satan and the Lord are in agreement.”

and Also...
“I see God now as an unimaginative writer of popular fictions, someone who builds stories around sadistic and graceless plots, narratives that exist only to express His terror of a woman's power to choose who and how to love, to redefine love as she sees fit, not as God thinks it ought to be. The author is unworthy of His own characters.”

Really good stuff!!!!

It was witty and pushed the envelope a bit and I ate it like my favorite dessert. The characters in themselves were twisted and almost life like, you could see the growth of the main character as he slowly loses his gullibility and realizes that the world is pretty messed up. The side characters were fleshed out to the bone and done so well because we got to see their dark-side which made them essential to the story and I was so happy about that because most side characters are just cardboard cut outs.

yes the office good nod stanley

I went into this book with the intention of comparing father and son but I got out with a new favorite author, who can write a story like no one I have ever read. I am so happy that I decided to read this and I can’t wait to read his other works. What The Heck are you reading this for, get of your ass and read this god damn book!!!!

the hunger games catching fire katniss everdeen peeta peeta melark

P.S. This was one of the most quotable books I have ever read!!! I can't wait to see the movie adaptation. Also check out his graphic novel Locke and Key :)

Thanks For Reading Guys and Happy Reading!!!
Profile Image for Charity.
632 reviews442 followers
July 21, 2010
4.5 Stars

When people saw me reading this they would ask if it was "any good." To say that this was good would be a massive understatement. It was supremely good. It was deliciously good. It was piss-your-pants good. It was leave-the-lights-on-all-night good. Yeah, it rocked! I was haunted, I was chilled, I was tingled, I was addicted. Putting the book down, even for a moment, was a hardship. Hill wrote about a psychopath that was so real, so disturbing, so terrifying, that I just wanted to peel off my own skin and run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. Dude, he was scary !! Looking forward to getting my hands on more by Hill...say, around Halloween? Mwahahahahaha.

P.S. I've never done this before, but I must comment on the paper quality of the hardback. It was sublime! If paper can be described as buttery then this was some buttery paper. Awesome.

(First Reads Win)
Profile Image for Jadranka.
229 reviews128 followers
October 15, 2016

Ig Periš, 26-godišnji mladić koji krade Bogu dane posle tragedije koja ga je zadesila, budi se jednog jutra mamuran, bez sećanja na prethodnu noć, sa rogovima na glavi. Vrlo brzo uviđa da rogovi nisu samo rožnati izraštaji, već da zahvaljujući njima može da sazna najgrešnije misli ljudi oko sebe, kao i da utiče na njihove postupke.
Ig Periš postaje vrsni poznavalac "univerzalnog jezika - jezika greha".
"Rogovi" je drugi Hilov roman koji sam bila u prilici da pročitam (prvi je bio "Kutija u obliku srca") i bogami Hil je poprilično napredovao, primećuje se zrelost u njegovom pisanju. Rečenice su daleko konkretnije i sadržajnije.
U ovom romanu, autor na originalan i veoma maštovit način obrađuje grešnu stranu ljudske prirode. Hilu se ne može osporiti kreativnost i veliki talenat, karakterizacija likova je na veoma visokom nivou, radnja neusiljeno teče, a pored toga on u svoje romane unosi i određenu dozu zabave, pa su "Rogovi" roman koji se brzo čita, u kome nema stagnacije i koji uvlači čitaoca u čudnovati svet Iga Periša.

Ocena:4.5/5
Profile Image for Taylor.
296 reviews111 followers
October 29, 2014
I had high expectations for this book.

It completely blew those expectations out of the water!

This review might end up as a bunch of disjointed thoughts, because I'm having trouble organizing exactly how I felt. Warning: The beginning of this story is slightly soul-crushing. This book doesn't put a lot of faith in humanity, at least not in the beginning (I won't disclose anything about the end). As long as you don't take that aspect of it too seriously, it can be so good.

The setting was superbly visualized; a small town, lovely and charming on the outside and marred by sin on the inside. The character development was on point. There was so much depth. I loved Ig as the anti-hero. When he felt rage, I felt rage. And there was a lot of rage. This book was relentless in terms of its emotional pull on the reader. It dragged me through so many disparate feelings, I felt like I'd nearly been whiplashed. But it was so worth it.

I can see why some people didn't like this as much as others did. The middle isn't super action-packed, and focuses mostly on characters' flashbacks, but I loved Joe Hill's expressive writing style. He really knows how to get into his characters' heads and expose their most reserved and unrefined thoughts. made my skin crawl.

It was dark and raw and vengeful. Absolutely gripping and so unconventional. I'm so glad I finally read something by Joe Hill, and I'm even more glad that I loved it. I will definitely be reading more of his books in the future!
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,610 reviews5,009 followers
July 7, 2017
As is the usual outcome, the book went leaps and bounds beyond the movie. When Ig awakens after a heavy night of drinking to forget his lover's death, he finds himself submerged in a brand new hell. As he searches for the truth about her murder, he finds out that devils walk amongst us... and sometimes, they're the good guys.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,721 reviews6,663 followers
August 24, 2016
This book was psychotic, sad, humorous, mysterious, and did I say psychotic? Imagine waking up with a pair of horns growing out of your head and every person you encounter suddenly has a compulsion to tell you their darkest thoughts and actions. Twilight Zone is a kid's show compared to this!

After pissing his pants, the main character: Ig decides to make the best of this unbelievable situation. The love of his life was murdered and he didn't do it. But lucky for him, he can find out who did. Process of elimination...Ig's got a whole bunch of ugly to get through. Joe Hill's writing engaged me from the first chapter. I mean, I couldn't believe what I was reading but I loved it! The beginning is incredibly dark, the middle is a lot of flashback content (some helpful but most was very long-winded and unnecessary IMO), and the end is a fast ride on the highway to hell...literally.

Horns was a great horror novel that I enjoyed very much. It had its highs and lows but I would definitely recommend it to fans of the genre. It has been adapted to film and TGIF because I'm watching it this weekend!

My favorite quote:
"You think you know someone. But mostly you just know what you want to know."

8/23/2016 Movie Review:
I finished reading the book on a Friday and ended up watching the movie that same Friday. I just couldn't wait. On the one hand, my excitement to watch this film was 100%...obviously. But when you're that high, there's nowhere to go but down. I liked the movie but not nearly as much as the book. That's no surprise to my fellow readers though. It was a decent adaptation and it was definitely worth the time in my opinion. I'm glad I watched it.
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Profile Image for Barbara.
1,299 reviews4,829 followers
September 17, 2021



Joe Hill doing a reading from his book

Joe Hill - like his father, horrormeister Stephen King - delves into dark and frightening themes in his fiction. In this novel, the devil tries to get his due.....and we cheer him on. 😎

*****

Ignatius Perrish (Ig) and Merrin Williams met in a Gideon, New Hampshire church when they were fifteen and were soon a couple. Due to a confluence of circumstances, a boy called Lee Torneau - who also had eyes for Merrin - became a third wheel in the relationship, and often tagged along with the lovebirds.



Skip ahead ten years and Merrin is at Harvard, Ig is at Dartmouth, and Lee is an aide to a U.S. Congressman. Merrin and Ig have plans for their future, which include good jobs, marriage, and children. Their agenda is shattered, however, when Merrin is found raped and murdered near the old foundry in Gideon. Ig is accused of the crime, but evidence is lacking and the cops let him go.....but never clear him.





The following twelve months are miserable for Ig, both because of his profound grief and the hatred of the townsfolk - who believe him guilty. Even Ig's best friend Lee distances himself, because politics and scandal are a bad match.

Then, on the anniversary of Merrin's death - after a hazy night of drinking - Ig wakes up with horns protruding from his forehead. Oddly enough people don't run away screaming when they see the horns, but instead divulge their darkest thoughts. Even if men and women's sinful wishes aren't spoken out loud, Ig can sense them with a touch.



As Ig encounters friends, family members, a nurse, a doctor, a priest, police, shopkeepers, etc. each person reveals their most wicked desires and actions. Additionally, Ig can now influence people's behavior with sly suggestions and prompts. Afterwards, when Ig is out of sight - no one remembers seeing or speaking to him.

Because of the power of Ig's horns we learn a lot about some folks in Gideon, including:

- Ig's 'friend with benefits' Glenna binge eats supermarket donuts; she also got drunk one night and fellated Lee Tourneau in front of his friends.

- Ig's priest is a lecherous creep who's screwing Merrin's bereaved mother.

- An elderly clerk in a convenience store wants to kill his wife and join his mistress in Florida.

- A cops who constantly harasses Ig is gay and lusts for his partner.

- Ig's mother, father, and grandmother - though professing to believe him innocent - REALLY THINK he killed Merrin, and wish he was out of their lives.

- Ig's brother Terry knows who actually killed Merrin, and reveals the name of the perpetrator.

After this Ig is out for revenge, and as he pursues the murderer, Ig acquires more and more devilish characteristics - like control over snakes and the ability to rise from the ashes.....like a phoenix. Ig's nemesis is no slouch either, and proves to be a formidable opponent.





The story moves back and forth in time, so that - between sections set in the present - we go back to the past.....and see what various characters are up to. Over the course of the story we learn that Ig's father is a well-known jazz musician; Ig's brother is a popular television personality; Ig's relationship with Merrin started with a prank; Ig's friendship with Lee stems from a cherry bomb and a dare; Ig had hoped to do good in his life; and so on. We also discover that some characters have disturbing secrets.....and at least one is a delusional sociopath.



Though I was caught up in the plot and found the story compelling, the book moves too slowly (for me). The scenes are repetitive, so that we're told the same thing again, which I found plodding and tedious. Also, if you're expecting a Stephen King-like book, you should know that there's not that much horror in the tale. Instead, there's a rally for justice and redemption; character studies; religious overtones; and a spot of fairy tale magic.

I would have preferred a different ending, but I enjoyed the story and recommend the novel to Joe Hill fans and readers looking for something off the beaten track.

FYI: This book has been adapted into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe.



You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,849 followers
October 21, 2018
This is one hell of a fun novel.

Let me get rid of all the side stuff first... I'm reading this because I respect Joe Hill on his own merits and it's far from the first novel I've read of his. That being said, EVEN IF it wasn't Joe Hill, I had a fantastic time reading this!

Let's take the whole devil trope and turn it into a body/psychological horror novel, shall we? But let's turn away from the outside agency angle. :) Add a bit of the Lucifer tv show angle, add a few horns on Ig's head and the inability for anyone to quite remember that they had just been talking to an apparent demon or that they just spilled all their most horrible thoughts to the guy, and run with this.

This is fantastically sick. Difficult. Pleasurable, even. In the, oh god, everyone really thinks THIS of me already, why don't I give them something to REALLY munch on kind of way. :)

But then the novel became something a lot deeper when we got into the flashbacks and the love story. We get into the heads of the people who did him some serious harm thanks to a bit of touch-telepathy flashback power going on as Ig turns into a demon. The reveals hinted at only get more twisted and allegory-ish as we move on, but you know what I like best about this?

The devil never gets to be the hero. We WANT him to be the hero, tho, and that's what's really great about this.

So two thumbs WAY up. :) I never once got bored. I FELT something for these characters. :)

And no, I'm probably not going to watch the movie made from this. I don't want to spoil my very positive reaction. :)
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,379 reviews1,051 followers
May 3, 2019
3.5 stars

“You think you know someone. But mostly you just know what you want to know.”

Of course I know by now that Joe Hill is none other than the son of the nearly worshipped Stephen King. I keep seeing praise in my feed and groups about his work, but Horns is my first taste of what he's offering. I'd seen - and loved - the movie on Netflix a few months before reading this.

Since the book and movie are so similar, there weren't surprises waiting for me. That soured it a little but I still loved the story. It's inventive and surreal, sort of like a parable vibe horror tale that uses symbolism but refrains from being preachy. It's hard to say what it all means, but that's part of its appeal.

Joe Hill gets brownie points for being original and daring - there's plenty of dark humor that pops up. Morbid chuckles aside, the story is surprisingly rich with its layers. I'm judging it to be a horror-drama piece, but its not frightening in a specific, suspenseful way. The mystery is strong since the main focus for the character continues to be finding out who killed his girlfriend, with the side story of his horns being another mystery in the background.

The book wins when it comes to the villain because I was able to be inside his head, understand his views more and see the pure evil that existed. There was the strange situation with his mother and demented glimpses into his childhood. In the movie he wasn't done that well, but I have to say I actually prefer the main character in the film.

Hill writes a little dryly when it comes to emotion, so to me Iggy was too distant with the way his feelings were written. I grew into that writing style later as the book progressed and I became used to it, but it made it harder to grab me in the first half.

Seriously trippy scenes were awesome - especially with the snakes, his bizarre relationship with the other characters, and that creepy horn making people tell the truth and act on their true impulses.

I've seen some reviewers write that this book didn't know what genre it wanted to be or what direction to go in, and they're right. It reads at times like a horror piece, but then it turns around and tries to be a mystery, then turns around yet again to try on its drama-genre look. Even though it struggles to define its genre, that doesn't bother me anyway since I like those quirky books that combine so many genres it almost comes across mentally confused.

It's not a perfect book - characters other than Iggy were stronger with emotional depth- but the story was intriguing. I'll definitely give Hill another go in the future.
Profile Image for Dave Edmunds.
232 reviews44 followers
June 1, 2021


"Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long years"


Wow! That's three full novels and three five star ratings for Joe Hill I've awarded. This one was hot stuff! Original and highly creative.

I'd be hard pressed to pick my favourite out of this and NOS4R2, which by the way was freaking awesome. If you like your villains then you go with Charlie Manx in NOS4R2 but if you like your heroes (with a bit of devil in them) then it's Horns all the way.

So what's this one all about? The fine line between spoilers and giving you a taste and the desire to read it. I'm sure I've crossed the line once or twice in my reviews and I'm sure I've got an eternity in fiery damnation to look forward to as a result. So here we go...

Hill does what he does in a number of his stories. Take a ridiculous concept and mesh this with fantastic characters that has you buying in from the off.  He's given us a man who gets trapped on a cloud and a boy who turns into a giant praying mantis.  In this one he doesn't disappoint with an outlandish and enthralling tale of revenge. As we know, it's a dish best served hot.



"Maybe all the schemes of the devil were nothing compared to what man could think up."

Its the anniversary of the murder of Ig Perrish's girlfriend and he wakes up with the Mac Daddy of all hangovers to find he's sprouted a set of horns. As you can probably guess, these aren't your ordinary set of horns. Our protagonist in chief soon discovers these prongs compel those around him to reveal their darkest thoughts, and they seek his blessing to do dastardly things. The Devil in us all is made very obvious, a major theme in this novel.

Hill crafts one fiery tale that is compact, emotional, and darkly fantastic.  The prose are pretty no-nonsense but he has that rhythm and flow that his dad (Stephen King) is famous for. It's a very easy, yet compelling read.  The pacing is on point and for this author, it's a quick read that packs one hell of a punch. There's one scene involving a letter that pulled seriously on my cold black heart. That's all I'm saying as I don't want to spoil anything.



"When you think about it, most of the good ideas came along to make sin a whole lot easier."

The only negative I could come up with is that flashbacks provide a huge part of the narrative. Sometimes this can slow down the pacing a tad. Personally I didn't mind as it added a lot of heart to the proceedings.

Anyway, if you like horror, dark fantasy or a thriller that's a little bit out there, give this a try. A straight five stars. I highly recommend it. And so does Lucifer himself!

Profile Image for Kerri.
952 reviews341 followers
December 19, 2022
Over the last few years Joe Hill has become one of my favourite authors. It's taken me a while to get to 'Horns', not through any act of avoidance but just because there are so many books to be read! Also, I'm a big believer in choosing what to read next based on instinct, letting a book call out to me, rather than working my way through a list methodically -- reading is my most loved activity, so I don't want to turn it into a chore.

So, as is often the case for me, this is exactly what I wanted and needed to be reading right now. This instantly makes a story more enjoyable, I think. When you're sort on the same wavelength as it (or something along those lines anyway!).
From the first chapter, five sentences taking up less than half of page 3, I was in sync with this book:

'Ignatius Martin Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke the next morning with a headache, put his hands to his temples, and felt something unfamiliar, a pair of knobby pointed protuberances. He was so ill -- wet-eyed and weak -- he didn't think anything of it at first, was too hungover for thinking or worry.
But when he was swaying above the toilet, he glanced at himself in the mirror over the sink and saw he had grown horns while he slept. He lurched in surprise, and for the second time in twelve hours he pissed on his feet.'

I liked how it got right down to it, and also made me laugh a little.

The horns have a powerful effect on people, making them tell Ig their dark secrets and desires. It's sad and rather horrifying in equal measure, and almost feels like being trapped in the mind of someone going through an intense bout of paranoia. Ig quickly (inevitably) learns that the things people have said to his face for years, do not match up with their innermost thoughts.

What's interesting about 'Horns' is while I suppose it is a horror book, it's really more of a love story. I gather from reviews here that not everyone enjoyed this as much as I did, but the flashback section to the beginning of Ig and Merrin's relationship was incredibly valuable to me. Merrin goes from being Ig's dead girlfriend, to being a fully fleshed out character, one of my favourites in the book. And Lee emerges as the chilling villain of the piece -- though in this book the lines on who the villain is get blurred quite quickly.

Without context since I don't want to give too much away, Merrin's letter made me cry. It was very poignant and beautiful.

I also really liked the ending. It's made me happy and sad at the same time.

I'm one of those readers who love to read the Acknowledgements, and Joe Hill's are always interesting!
Profile Image for Kon R..
219 reviews92 followers
May 11, 2022
I enjoyed this way too much. Joe Hill seems to do no wrong. He really is as awesome as his dad. Maybe better. I need to read more of his work to make that determination. I actually liked this better than NOS4A2, which is surprising as I gave that one 5 stars. NOS4A2 seemed a bit drawn out and could have benefited from a bit of editing. Horns seemed have a tighter narrative.

I will have to agree that the beginning with all of its social commentary was definitely a blast. I wish I could have seen a bit more of that, but I understand why that was dropped for a more traditional revenge story. It takes place in a small town, so naturally you run out of juicy gossip. Also it would have gotten a bit fruitless after a while.

Joe did a great job blending the realistic with the fantastic. Ig's powers had fair limits, which helped without being overwhelming powerful. His origin story does come extremely late into the book, but with the heavy use of flashbacks all throughout it doesn't seem out of place. I often found myself forgetting about the existence of the supernatural element then was pleasantly reminded.

I NEED to see the movie now. Partially because the book was so awesome. Partially because of Daniel Radcliffe. Max Minghella is cool too.
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
743 reviews1,264 followers
June 25, 2018
Me gustó bastante, es un libro de terror decente. Sin embargo, no lo amé como creí que iba a hacerlo, quizá porque tenía mucha expectativa. Lo considero un buen libro, entretenido, con situaciones macabras muy apropiadas para este tipo de historias, pero me pareció que hubo mucho relleno, hay cosas que sinceramente siento que sobraban. A veces se me hacía pesado, no avanzaba más, quizá por eso me tomó tanto tiempo terminarlo. El final me gustó, aunque no me agarró en un estado anímico estable (la verdad, me volteó un poco emocionalmente). Pronto le haré una video-reseña más detallada en mi canal: https://www.youtube.com/coosburton
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