Lisa (Harmonybites)'s Reviews > Books of Blood, Vols. 1-3

Books of Blood, Vols. 1-3 by Clive Barker
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Oct 27, 10

bookshelves: contemporary, fantasy, horror, short-stories, ultimate-reading-list, fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Recommended for: No One
Read from October 24 to 25, 2010, read count: 1

This is an anthology of 16 horror short stories and novellas, ranging from around 4,000 to 17,000 words. Such anthologies generally sell poorly, but I'm a fan of the well-turned short story, and in fact feel there are several authors out there whose short pieces are more impressive than their novels--Stephen King for one. You have to really have talent though to make an anthology solely of one author's stories worthwhile. There has to be something that shines in terms of style, voice, or really memorable twists. Stephen King has that--try Everything's Eventual. Gerri Leen has that. Try her Life Without Crows. Barker doesn't.

I tried all the shorts in the first volume of Books of Blood and didn't want to read more. Anthologies open with their strongest story usually, but the short that opens and gives the title to this book, "The Book of Blood" is an unremarkable haunted house story.

I outright disliked the second story, "The Midnight Meat Train," set in the subways of New York City surrounding a serial killer. I'm a native and resident of New York and it didn't evoke my city for me. For one thing, there is no "Avenue of the Americas" subway line--"Avenue of the Americas is Sixth Avenue--there's a 7th Avenue line. Also, hiding under a subway seat? Maybe if you're a very small child. This one also contained a huge pet peeve. I hate it when a character is identified as Puerto Rican based on looks. I'm of Puerto Rican extraction--with cousins who are blond and blue-eyed and others who are black. You can't tell someone is Puerto Rican, rather than say Dominican, Cuban, Argentinian or that matter Italian by looking. And for more points on offensive stereotypes front, the Puerto Rican has a fancy knife in his possession, cuz you know, we're all supposed to carry them...

The story "The Yattering and Jack," about a demon trying to gain a soul, did strike a welcome note of humor, but didn't strike me as all that clever. Ditto the grotesque "Pig Blood Blues" with its sow, the predictable "Sex, Death and Sunshine" centered on a theater company and the rather silly "In the Hills, the Cities" set in Yugoslavia.

Lots of gratuitous and graphic sex and gore here as befits the author and director of Hellraiser if that's your sort of thing. It's not mine.
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message 3: by PC (new)

PC Wheeler You know, the only Clive Barker book I've ever enjoyed was "Weaveworld" but I had a friend who was mad for his stuff. Just too freaky weird for my taste though.


Lisa (Harmonybites) Priscilla wrote: "You know, the only Clive Barker book I've ever enjoyed was "Weaveworld" but I had a friend who was mad for his stuff. Just too freaky weird for my taste though."

The freaky weirdness was about the only thing that distinguished the stories I read, and not in a good way. I just don't see him as an equal to a writer like Stephen King.


Patrick To each his own. When reading horror, I always wonder what it would be like as a movie. I remember reading and enjoying Dean Koontz's Midnight, but it would be ridiculously corny as a feature-length film. I remember seeing one of the Hellraiser films and that was beyond cheesy!


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