Book Review: Books of Blood: Volume One by Clive Barker
My rating: 7 of 10 stars
This is the first book of two sets of trilogies of short stories. So far there are no interconnected stories but from what I read somewhere all 6 books were written in 18 months.
First of all - I enjoy reading Clive Barker's novels but there is something there that I can't put my finger on, that makes me drift me off. Nevertheless is prose is quite good for an horror writer.
The Book of Blood it's the first tale and what a start.The story is set in a haunted house as a women and a man are trying to communicate with the dead. As a man tries to cheat the living saying that he, and only he, could talk with the undead he uncovers that the undead albeit silence and hidden are there. And they have plans of their own. 6/10
The Midnight Meat Train - A good tale about a killer who is getting old. But he kills for something more important than him, his victims or even the city. It kills for the secret rulers of New York City. Quite interesting tale with a good finale twist." 7/10
The Yattering and Jack - This tale is kind of a blend between comic horror. Clive Barker's Mister B. Gone as the same feeling. A minor daemon is sent to earth to haunt a person. This daemon - Yattering, tries first smoothly to make the human go crazy. Did I close the lights? Why is so hard to open the door and other things like that. But this human as almost a stoic personality only says " Che sera, sera". As he gets more frustating the daemon becomes more reckless and careless. The daemonn can do anything BUT cannot touch his victim directly or leave the house. The ending was quite good. A twist and we learn why the "victim" is behaving the way he behaves. Quite good story. My only complain was the dead cats... 9/10
Pig Blood Blues as my least favourite story of the lot. I just couldn't get it. After reading ten pages I gave up. I'm sorry. Maybe in a second try...
Sex, Death and Starshine This one was a good tale. Maybe this one could be turn into a theatre play. I think it would work. This tale is one that I think I have seen somewhere... in some tv series mayhaps... This tale is set on a theatre that is going to be demolished and they are enacting a play that had passed the same theatre many years ago. The female character, who is sleeping with the director, is not fully committed with the play. A man, who was connected with the theatre several years back has other plans for the main female character. The story has an eerie feeling. An eering feeling only presented on spooky theatres. I like the story but I had another feeling. This story is not original. It has been done several times over the years. From the Gothic era to today. Nevertheless Barker creats and changed it to give his own touch. 7/10
In the Hills, the Cities This tale is about two male lovers who are roaming through old Yugoslavia. I enjoy the characters and Barker really gives them life and feelings. It's hard to write about gay couples. But Barker, a gay himself, really does it. This book was written in the early eighties and there was few stories with gay characters. The love scene between two gays, I bet, was one of the first in horror fiction. Usually when there is a gay character, his sexuality is not that relevant to the story, and is sexuality with another male character is not even discussed. congratulations Barker. I am not gay or anything like that but I've read a couple stories where a male gay character is presented and usually his sexuality is not even relevant. Brian Keene's Dead Sea is one of this times. More.. He is a black gay character. But neither is skin tone or sexuality has any relevance to the story. It could be a Androgyny martian for all that matters. ---- Now back to the story. So this two cities fight. And what do they fight? Like transformers. All the habitants transform into a gigantic transformer and battle. But that's it. It has no impact. Maybe it's a sociologic critique...but I am afraid that I don't get it.
Overall, this first anthology has some good stories. Pretty solid on its own. The book has almost 200 pages so it's not dull even if in a couple stories I would cut some pages. It's weird horror anthology that encompass different kinds of horror.
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