Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror's Reviews > The Hellbound Heart

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
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it was ok

Interesting.
Well, it's official. I'm *not* a Clive Barker fan. I love horror. Horror is a precious genre because the stakes are very high--I'm naturally prone to be a timid, fearful person when it comes to adventure or doing risky things. For instance, I would never consider bungee jumping or parachuting from an airplane. I would skip a white water rafting trip or a zipline through the jungle. I don't even like to go inside a haunted house attraction at the carnival.
But I do love reading horror and maybe that's where I get to be adventurous and risky.
I've read a few Barkers before this one.
I didn't finish Mister B Gone. I read part of the Great and Secret Show and loved the Thief of Always. Every time I reviewed, someone would always recommend this one to me.
Barker--he's a great writer, don't get me wrong. But I have his number now. I know what he's all about. He likes to explore this whole pleasure and pain principle. He likes to explore the human body (inside and outside). He enjoys gore and blood...lots and lots of that and blurring the line between what is torture and what is sex.
And none of it really is my thing.
I don't really want a story like this with no character investment. I felt nothing for Rory, Julia, Frank or Kristy.
I felt like all of the people in this story were just puppets, playthings for the sinister, hellish Cenobites
which I guess would be cool, if we knew a little more about them too--like, just some backstory on the Engineer. I'm laughing even as I type this because I'm sure diehard Barker fans are like STFU, Sadie!
The Engineer even says, "I'm the Engineer!" no more than that.
Alright, alright "I get it!" it's whatever. It's not for me. Barker fans, have it *your* way but I want my horror reads *my* way.
This was a no for me.
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Reading Progress

May 2, 2017 – Shelved
May 2, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
July 11, 2018 – Started Reading
July 11, 2018 –
page 20
12.2% "Blech. Gross"
July 11, 2018 –
page 31
18.9% "The seasons Long for each other, like men and women in order that they may be cured of their excesses"
July 11, 2018 –
page 82
50.0% "I see now how many books have borrowed from this one"
July 11, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent I gave it a 3.5 and people still showed up on my review to "correct" me.


message 2: by Tobin (new)

Tobin Elliott Boo!


Mindi You go, girl. You do you. <3


message 4: by Amanda (new)

Amanda || eastofreaden I legitimately don’t like Clive Barker at all so you have my full support ;)


mamalovestoread Great to see your usual honest self coming through in this review Sadie. I am a huge Barker fan but he is indeed the marmite of the genre. Before you give up just yet, have you given Books of Blood a go?


Bri | bribooks I love you Sadie. Even though you made my heart hurt :(


Daniel Barnett All fair points. I don't think I've ever fully fallen in love with Barker's characters with the exception of Imajica, which is a book I wouldn't recommend to you if you're not feeling him to begin with (it's utterly brilliant in my opinion, but it's HUGE). You might try a few stories from The Books of Blood one day. In the Hills the Cities, Dread, Rawhead Rex, The Body Politic (to name a few from the collection) are all wonderfully unique, and together they showcase a pretty broad spectrum of horror.


message 8: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh I think you and I are in agreement with Barker. I've read some of his longer books, the last one being Coldheart Canyon, and I'm done.


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Dan wrote: "I gave it a 3.5 and people still showed up on my review to "correct" me."

That's just ridiculous. Taste is not up for debate.


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Tobin wrote: "Boo!"

I tried!


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Mindi wrote: "You go, girl. You do you. <3"

Thanks Mindi Lou xo


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Amanda wrote: "I legitimately don’t like Clive Barker at all so you have my full support ;)"

Well let's have a horror book party with no Clive Barker lol


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror mamalovestoread wrote: "Great to see your usual honest self coming through in this review Sadie. I am a huge Barker fan but he is indeed the marmite of the genre. Before you give up just yet, have you given Books of Blood..."

Jo gave me Books of Blood, I might give it a shot at some point, maybe, but not any time soon


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Cody | codysbookshelf wrote: "I love you Sadie. Even though you made my heart hurt :("

We have lots more in common Cody! We love John Irving together!


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Daniel wrote: "All fair points. I don't think I've ever fully fallen in love with Barker's characters with the exception of Imajica, which is a book I wouldn't recommend to you if you're not feeling him to begin ..."

Thanks Daniel. I do own the collection so maybe someday. I have a lot of other things I want to give my time to, you know? Like your book! :D


Daniel Barnett Sadie Hartmann wrote: "Daniel wrote: "All fair points. I don't think I've ever fully fallen in love with Barker's characters with the exception of Imajica, which is a book I wouldn't recommend to you if you're not feelin..."

You’re too kind! :)


message 17: by Hannah (new)

Hannah I’m not a Barker fan either, for a lot of the same reasons you have, but I did really enjoy his book Abarat. It was written for a younger audience and it’s kind of like a shadowy, horror lite Alice in Wonderland.


message 18: by Dennise (new)

Dennise I am with you on this, I am not a fan of Barker either, in fact his last name is so apropos. He reminds me of a carnival Barker inviting us in to see ghastly things that are, yes--horrific, but to me is not my idea of the "Horror" of my favorite genre.
Glad you posted your review despite the possible blowback from Barker fans. The only good and truly helpful reviews are HONEST reviews. Thanks Sadie.


Lewis Ebejer Damn, sucks to hear you didn't enjoy it, but hey you can't enjoy everything! I personally loved the book and I love a lot of what I've read from Books of Blood. Cabal was quite a letdown for me personally but I think if you were to ever read any more of his books you might enjoy that one more considering it's not really gory at all. So that's a suggestion if you ever feel up to it, but I understand completely where your coming from. I love his work so far, but it's obviously not for everyone


message 20: by Jackie Cowgill (new)

Jackie Cowgill (LanternsJourney) I have never read him, and may eventually, but I have a feeling I will side with you. That's why I love Stephen king. I love the character development. It's not for everyone though.


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Hannah wrote: "I’m not a Barker fan either, for a lot of the same reasons you have, but I did really enjoy his book Abarat. It was written for a younger audience and it’s kind of like a shadowy, horror lite Alice..."

I might give that a go sometime--I love Dark Fantasy


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Dennise wrote: "I am with you on this, I am not a fan of Barker either, in fact his last name is so apropos. He reminds me of a carnival Barker inviting us in to see ghastly things that are, yes--horrific, but to ..."

Thank you Ma Me. I never remember you bringing any Barker into the house so I imagined you weren't a fan--even though I know your proclivities for sex & horror, somehow I knew this wasn't your thing.


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Lewis wrote: "Damn, sucks to hear you didn't enjoy it, but hey you can't enjoy everything! I personally loved the book and I love a lot of what I've read from Books of Blood. Cabal was quite a letdown for me per..."

Thank you, Lewis. I really appreciate your recommendation.


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Jackie wrote: "I have never read him, and may eventually, but I have a feeling I will side with you. That's why I love Stephen king. I love the character development. It's not for everyone though."

Stephen King is a FAR better writer than Barker.


Peter It's great that you have given barker a try on more than one occasion. That he is not for you is fine and I don't understand why people have to correct other people's taste. Personally, I adore barker. He is one of my all time favourite authors. My unpopular opinion is that I'm not a Stephen King fan at all. I've tried to get into his work, but have never been gripped by it (with the exception of the odd short story). My belief is that in this wonderful, many faceted genre we are able to explore and find what suits us individually.


Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror Peter wrote: "It's great that you have given barker a try on more than one occasion. That he is not for you is fine and I don't understand why people have to correct other people's taste. Personally, I adore bar..."

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Peter


Ethan Demartelaere This has always been Barker's problem, his writing is so full of style, with beautiful poetic prose, but it lacks anything resembling substance.


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