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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Book Review: Cabal by Clive Barker


After being convinced by his psychiatrist that he is responsible for a whole host of murders, Boone flees to the semi-fantastical Midian, a crypt inhabited by shape-shifting monsters who call themselves the Nightbreed.



“When the sun goes out and there’s only night, we’ll live on the earth. It’ll be ours.”

I only needed to read the first couple of paragraphs of Cabal to be reminded why I have fallen for Barker’s works – his writing is simply incredible. His ability to present horror and gore in such a beautiful way is a unique skill. With Cabal, I was hooked from the very beginning, although there was a bit of a lull in the middle, but thankfully it picked up again to give us a really exciting finale.

In terms of the plot of Cabal, it’s a good one – the Nightbreed are a community of peaceful “monsters” who have moved to Midian as a consequence of the fear they instilled in those who didn’t understand what they were. A group of people or “monsters” who are persecuted for their unconventional lifestyle. It becomes even more poignant when the humans in the story turn out to be more evil and destructive than the actual monsters themselves.

My only real negative about Cabal is that I would have liked more backstory about the Nightbreed – we only really get a taster, and while it certainly whets the appetite, I just want to know MORE. The monsters that we do get to know are intriguing and colourful, and I wish this was a world that Barker delved into more – as far as I’m aware, there is no further expansion of this world. OH and how could I almost forget about Barker’s tendency to write incredibly detailed sex scenes! I was reading one particular scene while on a plane and I was pretty much trying to read it with the book closed as I had a fear of the stranger beside me glancing over to read some bookish porn. AWKWARD. Thanks, Clive! :D

Overall, Cabal is a really solid book, a nice blend of horror and fantasy with a pinch of romance thrown in. Thoroughly enjoyable and now I look forward to watching the movie as I LOVE Craig Sheffer in One Tree Hill!! This one gets 4 stars.

Johann
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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Book Review: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down follows the story of a group of rabbits who are in search of a new home after they escape the destruction of their warren.

We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity---so much lower than that of daylight---makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.” 

Let’s provide some background to my Watership Down reading experience – I’ve never seen the movie, never read the book before, so I honestly had no idea what to expect. Watership Down is also my friend Mindi’s (Instagram handle: @gowsy33) all-time favourite book, which is actually what prompted me to finally read this greatly loved story. I love dogs and I love sloths and cute little animal videos on facebook, but I wouldn’t say I was a HUGE animal lover, especially when it comes to animal characters in books.

Well, let me tell you… I was NOT expecting this. I was not expecting to develop such an intense affection for these rabbits in Watership Down. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about them, and I was WORRIED. I was concerned. My boyfriend even knew the ins and outs, my love for Bigwig and Hazel, the hardships these poor rabbits were facing! I feel like this book has really provided me with a newfound empathy for those poor rabbits out in the wild. They just want to survive and live a good life when they have to face so much adversity *cries*

Anyway, let me compose myself again. When I first started reading this book, a number of rabbit names were being thrown at me and I was thinking to myself “I’ll never remember who is who, how am I meant to form a connection with these bunnies”… well, by the end, I could tell you that Bigwig was the brave, strong one (although they were all brave to some degree), and Hazel was the level-headed and intelligent leader, and Fiver was such an adorable little bunny who I kinda want to take home with me… they all had their own little unique traits and personalities that just made them so loveable.

The story and the characters are truly incredible, very quickly I was completely absorbed into the plight this warren was facing. However, a special mention must go to Adams’ writing – HOLY HELL. Some paragraphs completely blew me away – I would find myself reading and rereading certain parts because they were so perfectly crafted and just so TRUE. The descriptions of nature and the flowers – I’ll be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference between many flowers – but these descriptions were fantastic. And I was lucky enough that my edition had some of the most beautiful illustrations that really made the experience even more magical.

This book is a rollercoaster of emotions, I was terrified for these rabbits, I was anxious, I felt tense, I cried tears of joy at points (and also some tears of sadness) – my feelings were really put through the wringer here. And I went into this thinking “Pfft it’s just a story about some rabbits” when really it is SO much more than that. It’s about friendship and bravery and community and making a life for yourself. I’m floored. Completely floored. And I honestly don’t think I’d have ever picked this book up if it wasn’t for bookstagram. So thank you, bookstagram (and Mindi), for enriching my life with this wonderful story about the rabbits on Watership Down. It’s been emotionally trying.

Johann
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Friday, 16 February 2018

Book Review: Bleed by Ed Kurtz


Walt Blackmore has just moved into his brand new home, where he is met by an unusual brown stain that has formed on the ceiling. He tries to paint over it, but it keeps coming back – and its growing. As it grows it feeds on cockroaches, rats… but pretty quickly it moves onto human blood.


“It was no longer just a stain. It was a living entity. And it was feeding.”

This book has been my favourite read of the year so far. SO. DAMN. GOOD. It’s clearly heavily influenced by Clive Barker’s “The Hellbound Heart”, so if you’re a fan of that kind of gruesome yet brilliant horror, then this book needs to make its way onto your TBR. However, it might not be for you if you have a weak stomach.

It’s simply unputdownable, the pages practically turn themselves! The pace is perfect, there’s never a dull moment, it constantly had my attention and dying to find out what happened next – and the fun thing is that I could never even predict what was coming. This book had me hook, line and sinker; I was along for the ride! And what a bloody, disgusting ride it was. Quite easily one of the most disturbing and unsettling books I have ever read. It will live long in the memory, and when it comes to horror, that is ALWAYS a good thing.

Watching our protagonist’s descent into insanity was incredibly addictive. I found myself thinking about this book a lot when I wasn’t reading it. A sure fire sign that I’m loving a book is when I tell everyone around me about what I’m currently reading (much to my mum’s disgust and concern, I’m sure she wishes my literary tastes were slightly less horrific).

I sometimes find it really difficult to write a review for a book that I really loved, all I want to do is exclaim “I LOVED IT. ALL OF IT.” over and over again! So I’ll stop before I become tedious… simply put – pick this up! I’m so glad the Nocturnal Reader’s Box included this book in one of their boxes, who knows if I’d have found it otherwise. BRILLIANT. 5 stars!

Johann

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