Carolyn's Reviews > Mister B. Gone

Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
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Apr 26, 09

Read in April, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Jakabok Botch (Mr. B) is a minor demon of hell, and you can probably guess from his name how it all turns out for him in the end. After suffering through various tortures meted out by his father in the ninth circle of hell, he is literally pulled up into our own world by The Fisherman (are you getting the good v. evil theme yet?).
His first few encounters with humans make him wish he were back in hell, until he meets Quintoon, a fellow demon who becomes his traveling companion over the next several hundred years, as they walk the earth sowing death and destruction. Spurred by Quintoon's fascination with human machines, they travel to Gutenberg's workshop as he works to perfect the printing press.
Huh?
Yes. Gutenberg's home workshop becomes the scene of a wannabe epic battle between angels and devils. Along the way, we learn that good and evil are necessary for each other's existence, that sometimes members of the clergy are evil in disguise, and that words can do great harm or save men's souls. In other words -- and without meaning to be pejorative -- this would be an interesting book for a 12-year-old.
(Full disclosure: This is the first Clive Barker book I've read, the first horror book of any type I've read. The first few chapters had me spellbound, and I was pretty darn grossed out by what other reviewers have called "juvenile" violence. Oh, well.)
The relationship between Jakabok and Quintoon piqued my imagination, but their relationship really went nowhere. It was almost as though Barker followed this path, then, deciding it went nowhere, simply moved on to the next storyline.
Without completely giving away the ending, let's just say it's a gimmick that I imagine Barker conceiving of initially, then working backwards from there to try to contrive a story that would culminate in the revelation of said gimmick.
Along the way, Botch, as first person narrator, repeatedly implores the reader to "Burn this book -- please." These entreaties are often set off as complete paragraphs with an inch or two of white space above and below them. I get the shtick, but it soon becomes tiresome.
Ultimately, I was disappointed in Mister B. Gone, as the promise in the first few chapters was never delivered.

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