My Rating: ∗∗∗∗/5
I have a hard time deciding if this book is so friggin good or so friggin cliché. Alright, it’s both. I finished it within a weekend so can’t say it wasn’t interesting, but there were just too many metaphors, too many symbols as if Joe Hill trying to say it over and over again to make sure he got the point across to the readers. Ok, I get it: Satan isn’t all that bad, and Satan doesn’t always appear to be the one that looks evil. And as Ig (as Ig in the movie, played by Daniel Radcliffe) put it: “Damn right, they’re horns!!”
One thing I have to admit: The idea of growing horns and being the devil is very refreshing. Being able to hear people speak the truth is not new, it kinda reminded me of The Invention of Lying. But when you combine those two and adding the ability to convince people doing the bad things they really really want to do, woa, I could hear Sunday sermon echoing inside my head from back when I used to go to church. Then the pitchfork, the snakes, cherry, horn musical instruments, horn horn horn,… OMG, you name it, well, talk about cliché! Many people were bothered as to why Joe Hill never explains the whole situation of how Ig grew horns: Was it because he was “the one” that went to the time traveling cabin in the wood? Was it because something he did the night before (he woke up the next day with no memory of it)? Or was it because it was the story and it needs a protagonist and Joe Hill decided that this is the only portion of the the story you get to know? It didn’t bother me not knowing.
But there was this burning question: Who killed Merin, and why, and why why why??? It would have been better if the story was more like that, when you find out who killed Merin, the end. But no, it was revealed too early at ~30% into the book, causing the rest of the book to drag with the unnecessary and mushy romantic plot. At that point I didn’t enjoy it as much even though I kept reading and finished within two days. I found the whole thing with Merin pushing Ig away because of her dying unreal, or if it could be real like people in my book club thought, it’s rather stupid. Such action will leave a hole in Ig’s heart when he found out either before or after she had died. The last days of your life really should be spent with people you love or people that love you and want to be with you. Had she not done that, nothing in the book would have happened. Maybe.
There was also the whole (cliché) theme about God vs Satan, or God c/o Satan, or whatever that may bother religious people. It’s just entertaining fiction to me and at the time I didn’t think much about what he wrote so I wouldn’t dwell on it here. Overall, I rate this novel highly (4/5 goodread stars) and would love to read more Joe Hill’s novel. I heard they are also weird and different.
Photo Credit: Book stock photos