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Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three

(Books of Blood #1-3)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  26,598 ratings  ·  816 reviews
"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red." For those who only know Clive Barker through his long multigenre novels, this one-volume edition of the Books of Blood is a welcome chance to acquire the 16 remarkable horror short stories with which he kicked off his career. For those who already know these tales, the poignant introduction is a window on th ...more
Paperback, 507 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Berkley Books (first published 1984)
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Casey 😂 one story is about a monster who is basically a giant penis. I dunno if Clive Barker is what you’re looking for.

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  26,598 ratings  ·  816 reviews

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Start your review of Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three (Books of Blood, #1-3)
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Looking for good horror? Look no further...

My favorite horror novel, ever. Erm... short story collection. Technically.

Wow, wow & WOW! Barker is undeniably unique, a few steps above Stephen King (at this point) in the whimsical world of the macabre. All fifteen of these tales are incredible-- & incredibly wicked--anecdotes, all wonderful drafts for damn-good horror flicks (bettering "Hellraiser," surely) that could become classics as quintessential as Carrie, Pet Semetary or The Shining. Barker
mark monday
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
based upon the evidence of Books of Blood 1-3, Clive Barker sprung into the literary horror world fully-formed, a writer all grown up, already past the awkward growing pains of an adolescent period that other writers of his stature and widespread appeal suffered through before reaching their full powers. his ability to construct and sustain an intriguing narrative, his resonant themes, his stylistic flourishes, his use of irony and dread and gore and comedy, his strength at detailing truly real ...more
Michael || TheNeverendingTBR
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best short story collections I've ever read.

Barker is an expert at capturing your mind and drawing you into the crazy worlds and concepts he creates.

It's superbly written, darkly imaginative and makes for highly addictive reading.

My favourites from these first three volumes are:

The Midnight Meat Train
Rawhead Rex
Son of Celluloid

Highly rated and highly recommend.

Johann (jobis89)
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."

Comprised of insane and downright horrifying tales from Clive Barker, Books of Blood is a strong debut release which led to King referring to him as "the future of horror". This edition contains Volumes 1-3, a grand total of fifteen stories (sixteen if you include the intro) - a large number of which have been subsequently adapted into movies.

Having already been blown away by The Hellhound Heart, I was excited to get into more Cliv
Books with Brittany
Oct 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Only loved 2-3 stories. Enjoyed over half. Some were boring. Others I really didn’t care for.
Alexis Hall
Source of book: Bought by me
Relevant disclaimers: None
Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author.

And remember: I am not here to judge your drag, I mean your book. Books are art and art is subjective. These are just my personal thoughts. They are not meant to be taken as broader commentary on the general quality of the work. Believe me, I have not enjoyed many an excellent book, and my individual lack of enjoyment has no
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-collections
This collection of the first half of Clive Barker's Books of Blood short story collections is jaw-dropping in the amount of high quality content, very graphically violent and not for the squeamish, but extremely well written and interesting, a must-read for any fan of the genre or of dark fiction in general. Below you will find a list of the stories including in this collection, along with a rating for each story and song lyrics which you may find entertaining or diverting, or not:


Benoit Lelièvre
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing

That was unexpectedly great. And gory. And transgressive as hell. Reading this book made it clear to me why Clive Barker (who I hadn't read before) is considered an iconic writer. The man is not only a master stylist, but he has this narrative obsession with tearing reality apart. Sometimes a form of religion or systematic afterlife is involved like in The Midnight Meat Train or Hell's Event. Other time, it's just off the wall wild and imaginative like In the Hills, the Cities. My favorite
Paul Bryant
Dec 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
One hit wonders – I usually think of such oddities as Nena (99 Red Balloons, UK No 1, 1984) or Aneka (Japanese Boy, UK No 1, 1981), or even Sir Mix-a-Lot (Baby Got Back, US No 1, 1992) – a No 1 hit and then nothing, nothing, nothing. But of course you do get one hit wonder authors – the toppermost one in that list will be Harper Lee. OMG can you imagine the advance she would have got for her second novel? And it could happen, she’s still here, 87 years old. We remember it took Henry Roth 60 year ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Highly inventive and innovative, and chock-full of delightfully concise, clever turns of phrase. I came across this when I was about twenty, which is probably a good age to so do.
Ashley Daviau
Jun 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
I’m fully expecting to receive boos and hisses for not liking these short stories but I’m prepared for it. I just could NOT get into any of them. I dreaded having to pick up the book and read and every time I did I had this pit of dread in my stomach, and not a good pit of dread. I thought I might actually DIE of boredom while I was reading these stories. This isn’t my first read by Barker, I’ve ADORED everything else I’ve read by him, but Volumes 1-3 of Books of Blood was just NOT for me. I fou ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Here is an introduction of Clive Barker's movie brilliances: ...more
Nov 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are a fabulous collection of short horror stories, and they can and do bite indeed!

Suffice it to say that I'm a sucker for short stories, and I did grow up having as my literary mentors' people like Mr. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons and on top of it the obligatory classics by Edgar Allan Poe...

Now you understand that I had to read Clive Barker, and gosh, am I happy that I did!
All the ingredients that makes a good short story collection are here available...

I won't go into the stor
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Clive Barker's Books of Blood is a collection of short stories. This edition collected the three Books of Blood into one edition. Clive Barker, though not as well known as Stephen King, is well known for his Hellraiser stories. As with any anthology the end result is determined by the stories therein. The Books of Blood does not fail, for the most part, to deliver some truly gory (Barker seems to relish in the more blood and guts aspect of horror) and downright bizarre horror stories.

The volume
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, autographed
This Scream Press edition was the first compilation of Clive Barker's Books of Blood tales under one binding (the first and original three volumes). This was the way Barker meant them to be presented and for good reason. These 16 horror tales were revolutionary in their lack of sentimentality and their gruesome realism making way for the next generation of horrors writers including the splatterpunks and the bizarro writers. Every story is a classic but special mention goes to "The Midnight Meat ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars - A couple of things about a couple of stories in volume 3 stopped this being a perfect collection, but it’s damn close!!!
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first read this in high-school and remember loving it. And now after revisiting it, I have found a much deeper appreciation for Barker’s imaginative and addicting storytelling. I can’t even explain how beautiful his writing is, it feels like being put under a spell. The way he finds beauty in the dark and grotesque is elegant, alluring and at times sexy (monster erotica, anyone?). He likes to starts off slow with a mystery before it gets into the violence and gore, but he writes it in a way th ...more
Heather (glitterandlashes)
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to be by a friend and at the time I just kind of passed it off but I kept coming across the name Clive Barker not realizing that he is such a huge horror Icon.
I had a bit of a hard time tracking it down but when I finally found it and started it, it grossed me out right from the first page.
That's a huge plus for me as I find a lot of horror novels very blah and I will catch myself skimming some paragraphs.
I couldn't get enough of these stories.
Barker took these words a
Plagued by Visions
Aug 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Only reread a few selections, but I can confirm this is still great stuff. 🌝
Jason Parent
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Awesome... simply awesome. I am sad it took me thirty years to read this. Dread, The yattering and Jack, Rawhead Rex, and Human Remains were all beyond 5 stars, most of the rest were 4 or 5 stars, and Pig Blood Blues and In the Hills, the Cities being the only not totally awesome tales for me.

Great read. Highest recommendation. Not just tearing and carving skin like I was used to from Barker, but there's plenty of that, too.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fuck... masterful... amazing... off the hook! An insane introduction to an absolute horror genius.
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Bloody brilliant. Clive Barker writes horror that truly terrifies; his stories aren't cheap thrills, but literary-horror blends that make you think as well as pull the covers over your head. Sex and death almost always go together, as do thrills and disgust, curiosity and foreboding. These stories, with all their gore and existential musings, will forever be imprinted in my soul.

"The Yattering and the Jack"
"Pig Blood Blues"
"Sex, Death and Starshine"
"Hell's Event"
Will Errickson
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Still the all-time heavyweight champ of Eighties short horror fiction. Buying the original Berkley paperbacks in early 1987 was one of the smartest things I ever did.

If you haven't read BOOKS OF BLOOD... you haven't read horror.
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I got this short story collection last year as a christmas gift and I finished it at the first of the year. Clive barker is a true storyteller of the macabre. I enjoyed all of the stories and if u like horror, then you will enjoy checking the books of blood out.
Jessica Lynne Gardner
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Completely blew me away- the very introduction I found to be enthralling. This was a very different kind of horror, one that didn't lose its sense of identity and roots in mysticism. ...more
Asghar Abbas
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
New Murders in the Rue Morgue was the best entry in the collection. A very Poe take.
avery (avereads)
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“There is no delight the equal of dread.”

Books of Blood volumes 1-3 packs in sixteen gruesome and gore filled short stories. I love short stories, I’ve read my fair share, but Clive Barker has mastered the horror short. He tackles some terrifying fears and just doesn’t stop. I am dying to get to the other volumes. I read volume one in a standalone edition, but I carried my ratings over to this one:

Volume One

The Book of Blood 🌟🌟🌟🌟
The Midnight Meat Train 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The Yattering and Jack 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pig B
Oct 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've heard all my life that Stephen King's genius as a horror writer is making the familiar terrifying. Clive Barker's genius as a horror writer is making the terrifying familiar. This collection of short stories, tenuously held together by the precept that they are the stories carved into the flesh of a fake medium by vengeful ghosts, has no part of King's familiarity. Instead, it plunges the reader headlong into the multiple worlds of the unfamiliar and horrific, but brings the unspeakably evi ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2009, horror
It pains me to say this, but this book sucked. I couldn't even finish the last batch of stories in volume 3 because I found almost everything in volumes 1 and 2 so damn intolerable. How could the guy who wrote Imajica, Weaveworld, and The Great and Secret Show have come up with some of the absolute garbage found in the Books of Blood?

Keep in mind I am a huge Clive Barker fan, but most of these stories were just terrible. The first two, Book of Blood and Midnight Meat Train were not bad. In the H
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
A horror classic. Clive Barker hit the ground running with this amazing collection of unique dark fiction. This was the book that made Stephen King call Barker 'the future of Horror.'

I really wish Barker would write some horror again, as his Abarat series does little for me story wise (though the paintings are beautiful) Honestly I've had my fill of sweeping fantasy from this author, especially since with each series I have to learn a whole new complex mythology.

Really I'm just dying for Barker
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The Ink to Film B...: Rawhead Rex 1 16 Feb 22, 2018 02:06PM  
The Reading For P...: Ongoing Buddy Read - Books of Blood: The Series by Clive Barker with Beth and Greg 20 21 Jan 10, 2018 09:36AM  
Which short stories would you recommend? 13 56 Mar 31, 2017 11:11PM  
Clive Barker's incredible short story 2 12 Feb 26, 2017 04:40PM  
Seriously? 6 105 Jan 30, 2013 01:02PM  

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Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more

Other books in the series

Books of Blood (6 books)
  • Books of Blood, Volume One (Books of Blood, #1)
  • Books of Blood, Volume Two (Books of Blood, #2)
  • Books of Blood, Volume Three (Books of Blood, #3)
  • The Inhuman Condition (Books of Blood, #4)
  • In the Flesh (Books of Blood, #5)
  • Books of Blood, Volume 6 (Books of Blood, #6)

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  Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the New York Times–bestselling author of critically acclaimed speculative novels including Mexican Gothic (which won...
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“Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red.” 706 likes
“There is no delight the equal of dread” 16 likes
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