Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Book Review: Books of Blood Vol 1-3 by Clive Barker

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. 

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."

Having already been blown away by The Hellhound Heart, I was excited to get into more Clive Barker - and oh boy, this did not disappoint. The sheer range of stories within these first three volumes of Books of Blood is staggering. And the quality remains consistently high throughout. Barker's imagination is unparalleled - I mean, King has a pretty awesome imagination too, but his skills are slightly different to Barker's. One minute you're reading about a serial killer who quite literally skins his victims and hangs them up like pieces of meat on the subway, and the next you're reading a pretty hilarious story about a guy and the demon currently inhabiting his house trying to outdo each other.

There's dark humour in some of these stories, whereas some are just pee-your-pants scary and will no doubt lead to some pretty disturbing nightmares. There's something for every horror lover in here. However, I do feel like it's necessary to warn people that a high proportion of these stories have a lot of blood and gore in them - it is the Books of Blood after all - so if you're not a fan of this, maybe this  collection isn't for you. I just don't want anyone to read these on my recommendation and think I'm some sicko (I kinda am, but that's a discussion for another day). BUT it's also important that I point out that the gore isn't gratuitous or included merely for the "shock value"  - in my opinion, anyway.

I'm still finding it so strange to be reading sentences that are meant to be graphic and disturbing, yet they're still poignant and beautiful. Barker has a real talent for examining the beauty of horror. He seems to have a fascination with the human body and it's reflected in his writing. The book just drips with sex and violence, and I'm more than cool with that.

I generally loved the majority of these, so it's difficult to pick a favourite, but standouts for me were: The Midnight Meat Train, The Yattering and Jack, Scape-Goats, Rawhead Rex... yeah, I'm close to just naming them all. However, a special mention must go to In the Hills, The Cities. I've honestly never read a story like this - such a unique, fascinating idea. Imagery I'll never ever forget. Wow. 

Initially I had intended to delve right into volumes 4-6 soon after finishing this... but I think I'm going to wait a while. Like a semi-reasonable junkie, I want to know that my next hit is still out there... just waiting for me to pick it up. This gets ALL THE STARS. 5 stars out of 5!



  1. Here’s to Clive Barker, the master of mystery and macabre. And to us sickos!!! �� Great review! Fantastically horrifying book!

    1. Yasssss Girl!! Now I need even more... like a gosh darn junkie!!!

  2. Ahhh, still an author in my pile that needs to be read! I'm afraid, very afraid. But I will try!

    1. I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re that scary in the traditional sense.... just gory and kinda insane 😂 I think you can do it!!

  3. Ooh! Girl! Another on my "to-read"! Thank you!!! I'm always looking to pee my pants when reading books. :) <3


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