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"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 "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 the creator's mind. Reflecting back after 14 years, Barker writes: I look at these pieces and I don't think the man who wrote them is alive in me anymore.... We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present. Reading these stories over, I feel a little of both. Some of the simple energies that made these words flow through my pen--that made the phrases felicitous and the ideas sing--have gone. I lost their maker a long time ago. These enthusiastic tales are not ashamed of visceral horror, of blood splashing freely across the page: "The Midnight Meat Train," a grisly subway tale that surprises you with one twist after another; "The Yattering and Jack," about a hilarious demon who possesses a Christmas turkey; "In the Hills, the Cities," an unusual example of an original horror premise; "Dread," a harrowing non-supernatural tale about being forced to realize your worst nightmare; "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament," about a woman who kills men with her mind. Some of the tales are more successful than others, but all are distinguished by strikingly beautiful images of evil and destruction. No horror library is complete without them. --Fiona Webster


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"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 "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 the creator's mind. Reflecting back after 14 years, Barker writes: I look at these pieces and I don't think the man who wrote them is alive in me anymore.... We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present. Reading these stories over, I feel a little of both. Some of the simple energies that made these words flow through my pen--that made the phrases felicitous and the ideas sing--have gone. I lost their maker a long time ago. These enthusiastic tales are not ashamed of visceral horror, of blood splashing freely across the page: "The Midnight Meat Train," a grisly subway tale that surprises you with one twist after another; "The Yattering and Jack," about a hilarious demon who possesses a Christmas turkey; "In the Hills, the Cities," an unusual example of an original horror premise; "Dread," a harrowing non-supernatural tale about being forced to realize your worst nightmare; "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament," about a woman who kills men with her mind. Some of the tales are more successful than others, but all are distinguished by strikingly beautiful images of evil and destruction. No horror library is complete without them. --Fiona Webster

30 review for Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    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 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 has indeed a romantic, and visceral, and uber-gross view of things, foremost a fantastic infatuation with the human body, and with the traffic of the spectral world with mortal sexuality... it's all very toxic, dabbling in the world of erotic masochism & clever even genius motifs of a collective dread. Indeed, I love the collection. It rivals the very best of King (perhaps only one of his collections hits the visceral nerve a bit more masterfully, albeit less fantastically, than "The Books..."). My favorites are MUSTS (read, read, read!) for those who study the short story; what makes these little nuggets of gold so golden is a true mystery in itself: "Sex, Death and Starshine" cleverly paints a surrealistic picture, rivaling even Dali, of the intermingling of souls with the living (a masterpiece for sure); and "In the Hills, the Cities" has the most memorable "monster" to appear out of the dark subconscious in the longest time, I think, since Frankenstein's demon. This one, too, is a masterpiece, & the imagination for such a clever Voltairesque creation seems so alien and divine as to be madly envied. And in awe of. Lastly, I kinda really dug the monster-flick tale "Rawhide Rex" which should be turned into a script (just looked it up, it is), as the climax is better than mostly any I could think of for a monster story. This guy, it should be clearly understood, is THE Absolute Shit.

  2. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    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 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 and deeply developed characters' lives, his expertise at creating an entire world within the space of a story... these are all the traits of an author writing at his peak, and so early in his career. the stories within these collections are truly sensational: their power comes from his consistent strength at conveying sensual, physical sensation. this is not to mean that he writes sexy horror stories; rather, he is a writer who knows how to write "body-based horror". in many ways, these stories parallel the themes and goals of the films of David Cronenberg - the body as something alien, the body as a sacred space, the body as a target or vehicle or ideal, the body turning against itself. Peter Straub - an intellectual writer - locates his horrors within the mind: a place of murky motivation and potential evil, a site of invasion and transformation; his horrors are often as ambiguous and as ambivalent as mindspace itself. Stephen King - an emotional writer - places his horrors in scenarios that are wellsprings of sentiment and feeling, often squarely within the family unit or painful adolescence or the various dreams and ambitions of the heart itself; his horrors are often explicitly tangible things that exist to tear apart humanity's most beloved institutions. unlike those two, Barker's horrors are centered in the body as a battleground, a place where the mind and the heart are often at war. his horrors blur the boundaries of right and wrong; the various transfigurations that occur throughout his stories are often so dreadful because they are both unnervingly ambiguous and disturbingly familiar, intimate on a physical level - and in the end, almost infinitely unknowable. his bodies are places of both terror and wonder. Barker illustrates how the body can be a site of fearsome splendor and violence in the collection's first story: The Book of Blood, in which a fraud's appealing body exists first as a landscape encouraging erotic contemplation and then as a horrific diary of the dead. in the masterful Dread, a psychopathic guru lives to sadistically push his trainees past their base physical fears, and eventually meets his match in a student who has learned his lessons all too well. the horror of Jacqueline Ess comes from the terrifying protagonist's ability to wield utter control of the body itself. New Murders in the Rue Morgue revisits the classic story with a new (and rather sympathetic) focus on the idea of what truly, physically, makes a man? and in Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud, the story serves as both an ironic commentary on pornography's rigorous mono-focus on body parts and as a clever rejoinder to the idea that a meat-based body is even necessary to create horror - let alone to enact bloody vengeance. the author's themes remain intact and even more visceral in those stories that are straight-up, traditionally structured servings of familiar, monster-based horror. The Midnight Meat Train features ancient, physically mortified beings who must be paid their due in flesh and has a classic "ambiguous" protagonist who finds his goals in life may soon be adjusted in favor of a more transformative purpose. Pig Blood Blues is wonderfully bizarre (its malevolent foil... a demonic sow!) and explicitly depicts potential physical change and transformation as an undeniable terminus for its victims, villains, and hero alike. and the now-classic Rawhead Rex has a monster whose mind dreams of domination and whose physical body yearns for both freedom and the flesh of children; his achilles' heel, his personal horror... the fertile woman, the menstrual cycle. Barker can also do comedy with an expert touch. The Yattering and the Jack is laugh-out-loud funny, a wry tale of a lower-level demon vs. The Most Boring Man in the World, a man who apparently has no terrors or temptations based in the flesh or other physical things. the quaintly nostalgic and drily amusing Sex, Death and Starshine sees the decay of the flesh and a rotting life existing beyond the grave as, well, not so bad, really. there are a few stories that are less successful, although they are by no means abortions. Hell's Event - Deadliest Marathon Ever! the entire world is at stake! - centers its horror within a runner's body. Son of Celluloid finds a lonely cancerous growth making its own body and invading a fading movie palace. Scape-Goats' horrors rise from the undisposed corpses of the long-dead and their reaction to a quartet of obnoxious tourists who obliviously pay their bodies no respect. there are three stories that are now amongst the finest modern horror stories that i've ever had the pleasure of reading. The Skins of the Fathers is an often amusing send-up of gun-toting hick americana. more importantly, in its unsettling tale of the male gender's First Fathers and their practice of holy/unholy procreation, it decribes not-so-alien physiognomies in detail - but makes the key decision to replace disgust with awe, to replace the Terrible Other with Ancient Adam (and his many brothers). Human Remains is a mordant and moody story of the escalating relationship between a street hustler/ wannabe gigolo and a being that seeks to not just mimic (and protect) that hustler's body, but also endeavors to recreate that poor fool's history into a life that contains emotional depth - rather than a life of empty ambition, callowness, and apathy. my favorite story of all 3 books is In the Hills, the Cities. this is a truly awesome tale, in all sense of the word "awesome"... a mind-boggling, bizarre, many-leveled account of two very different travelers and lovers, of two very similar rural villages, of an archaic tradition that replaces a many-bodied battle with two very unique bodies, of bodies coming together to create something greater, something terrible - something that the two travelers choose to either turn away from in horror or to embrace as a new form of physical being. the story is amazing. __________ musical accompaniment Coil: Gold Is the Metal, Hellraiser Themes DJ Spooky: Songs of a Dead Dreamer

  3. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    "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 "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 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!

  4. 5 out of 5

    RJ - Slayer of Trolls

    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: VOLUME ONE The 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: VOLUME ONE The Book of Blood - 5/5 - no new tale to tell twenty-six years on my way to hell The Midnight Meat Train - 5/5 - mental wounds not healing, life's a bitter shame The Yattering and Jack - 4/5 - I'm not crazy, you're the one that's crazy Pig Blood Blues - 5/5 - pigs in zen Sex, Death and Starshine - 3/5 - in touch with some reality beyond the gilded cage In the Hills, the Cities -3/5 - we built this city VOLUME TWO Dread - 4/5 - dealing out the agony within Hell's Event - 3/5 - runnin' with the devil Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament - 4/5 - you're never good enough in the eyes of a woman with a mean streak The Skins of the Fathers - 4/5 - when you coming home dad? I don't know when, but we'll get together then New Murders in the Rue Morgue - 4/5 - we're just tryin' to be friendly, come and watch us sing and play VOLUME THREE Son of Celluloid - 4/5 - let's go to the movies Rawhead Rex - 5/5 - it was a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater Confessions of a Pornographer's Shroud - 3/5 - I see your face every time I dream Scape-Goats - 3/5 - rock rock 'til you drop Human Remains -3/5 - you're lookin' good, just like a snake in the grass

  5. 4 out of 5

    Benoit Lelièvre

    Woooo! 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 Woooo! 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 stories from the collection were Pig Blood Blues, Dread and the weirdo-Lynchian Son of Celluloid. Luxuriant, consistant, transgressive...my first experience with Clive Barker is a rather transforming one. Get on that, people and lose your mind. I didn't have so much fun with a book in quite some time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    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 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 years to follow up Call it Sleep. Also, Ralph Ellison never published a second novel. (He wrote one but his house burned down - damn!) And we’re still waiting for a second novel from Arthur (Geisha) Golden (16 years). But actually, a one hit wonder isn’t someone who never did anything else but who only ever had one hit – so Margaret Mitchell, Bram Stoker, Herman Melville, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, etc etc. Anyhow, I read this story, it was In the Hills, the Cities by Clive Barker and it was one of the all time greatest stories I ever read, hair-raisingly original, perfectly expressed, awesome. Everyone should read this story. I therefore eventually got Books of Blood, thinking that there would be more where that came from. But there wasn’t. The other stuff was just like Aneka’s follow-up to Japanese Boy if she was singing about creatures from hell biting some random guy’s nether parts off. In the Hills, the Cities : 5 stars all the other stuff : one star.

  7. 5 out of 5

    J.R.

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mizuki

    Here is an introduction of Clive Barker's movie brilliances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL-cB... Here is an introduction of Clive Barker's movie brilliances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL-cB...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    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 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 found the stories lacking Barker’s usual beautiful and lyrical writing style and so damn set and uninteresting and plain old boring. Maybe it’s just because his writing style is so expansive that it’s not suited to short stories? I don’t know, I just know I did not enjoy this collection and will definitely not be reading Volumes 4-6!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    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!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    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 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 Train", "Rawhead Rex, and "Son of Celluloid". Mandatory reading for the diehard horror fan. This one volume edition is hard to find but the two volume and three volume sets are still out there in the bookstores. If you have this particular edition count yourself fortunate especially for the wonderful illustrations by JK Potter.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather (glitterandlashes)

    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 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 and combined them in such a way that made me constantly cringe and on several occasions gag :D The descriptions were perfect, perfectly real.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jason Parent

    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. 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sud666

    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 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 starts with a rather eerie quote from Mr. Barker himself: "Everybody is a book of blood; Wherever we're opened, we're red." Then we are off to the races- Vol 1- this starts the anthology with the Book of Blood story that sets into motion the book. While it wasn't bad, it had more of a "set-up" feel to be the story that acts as a prologue. But volume one does have some true gems- "The Midnight Meat Train" is a great story about serial killers, a strange train and the horrific City Father; "The Yattering and Jack" was a fascinating, darkly funny story about a minor demon haunting a phlegmatic individual in an attempt to drive him insane. I truly enjoyed this story, not only the plot but the ending is excellent. "Pig Blood Blues" about a strange reformatory for young boys and the new teacher who starts work there is also well done. These three stories are 5/5 material. The last two stories: "Sex, Death and Starshine" and "In the Hills, the Cities"- had some original parts, but overall I didn't care much for the stories (both rate a 3/5) though they aren't bad. The former having to do with a run down theater and some spirits who just love to perform, the latter story is just bizarre (though original, I will admit) about two battling cities in Yugoslavia (it was written in 1984). Book Two follows the superb Book One with some gems of its own: "Dread"- the story of a dark-hearted Psychology grad student who wants to find out what really causes dread and encounters some unintended consequences. It was a grim tale, but I enjoyed the psychological undercurrent in the tale. "Hell's Event" was also an original look at the concept of running for your life. Again, an interesting and original take on a rather common story. "The Skins of the Fathers", is a story that takes place in a small town out in the US West. It is a story about a boy who might not be a human and the quest of his "fathers" to find him. Finally "New Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a nice spin on the original Poe tale. These four tales from Book Two were all very good. The last story in volume two is also it's weakest. "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament" was a story that I did not care for. It just never clicked with me and I could have cared less. While every other story in Book Two is in the 4-5/5 range, the Jacqueline Ess story is, maybe, a two. Book Three finishes off the anthology with- "Son of Celluloid"- which was not bad, a 3/5. It is an odd mix of cancer and the movies. Book Three has one of my favorite Barker creations, other than Pin-Head the Cenobite, and he is the title and primary character- "Rawhead Rex". A great horror tale of an ancient being who has been released from his tomb and the bloody rampage he goes on. This is a great short story. The "Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud" is also a strong showing (4/5) about a wrongly murdered and framed man whose ghost haunts a shroud and seeks revenge. Both "Scape Goats" and "Human Remains" are not bad, but nothing great (3/5). The former has to do with a mysterious island and the odd sight of three goats just hanging out; the latter story has to do with an ancient statue that has decided life as a person it's next stage of development. All these three books were put into the Books of Blood anthology. For the most part-all of the stories are good. Some of them are excellent and only one is poor. That is quite a good showing for any anthology. If you are a fan of horror or S. King then do give Mr. barker a try. He doesn't disappoint.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Fuck... masterful... amazing... off the hook! An insane introduction to an absolute horror genius.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Lynne Gardner

    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. 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Asghar Abbas

    New Murders in the Rue Morgue was the best entry in the collection. A very Poe take.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    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 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 evil so close to home that you can't help but identify with it, and in so doing give a piece of yourself up to terror. Of course there are a few duds here ("Sex, Death and Starshine", in which a theater troupe is haunted by a ghost that only wants to kill them to make them an undead group of performers, for instance), but the vast majority of the stories are so creative and so horrific that you can't resist. Highlights include "In the Hills, the City", in which two entire Eastern-European cities band together for a centuries-old rivalry the likes of which no man has ever dreamt of in his most horrible dreams, and "Dread", in which a demented philosopher forces his victims to face their worst fears in order to become more perfect human beings. This is definitely not a book for the squeamish. It's full of graphic mutilation and nightmare-inducing ideas. But it truly marks a turning point for horror, where mere ghost stories and rabid dogs would no longer be enough to scare an increasingly jaded readership. It is the point that allowed for luminaries like House of Leaves and The Ruins, where strangeness and unimaginable horror became the norm.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    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 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 to return to the sort of exhilarating, nerve wracking horror that's on display here, with gut punching classics like Rawhead Rex, The Midnight Meat Train, Pig's Blood Blues and In The Hills, The Cities. Note on the cover art. I dislike the cover art shown here on Goodreads. Luckily, my hardcover edition has this kick ass illustration: http://www.clivebarker.com/images/boo... I think publishers are producing some extremely bland looking books these days. Lay off the black and white photos and photoshop filters ect and give some good painters the work!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amerie

    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. Favorites: "The Yattering and the Jack" "Pig Blood Blues" "Sex, Death and Starshine" "Hell's Event" "Confessions 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. Favorites: "The Yattering and the Jack" "Pig Blood Blues" "Sex, Death and Starshine" "Hell's Event" "Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud" "Scape-Goats" "Human Remains" "Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leon

    Mind-expanding books. Barker is a lot more than a horror writer, and this anthology is one of the best of its kind. Often eloquent -- though also often lapsing into lazy, cliched turns of phrase unfortunately (come on, Barker, you're better than that) -- the stories bulge with energy and creative vision. Here's one for the canon. Mind-expanding books. Barker is a lot more than a horror writer, and this anthology is one of the best of its kind. Often eloquent -- though also often lapsing into lazy, cliched turns of phrase unfortunately (come on, Barker, you're better than that) -- the stories bulge with energy and creative vision. Here's one for the canon.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dreadlocksmile

    Back in 1984, Clive Barker made his name within the deeply competitive world of horror with the publication of the first three volumes of the macabre short stories `The Books Of Blood'. Written in his spare time, he admits that he was not expecting them to sell really at all, let alone predict the public response that followed. The release exploded within the horror literature genre, hailing Barker as an exciting and imaginative newcomer. Stephen King, already known as a master in the genre, wen Back in 1984, Clive Barker made his name within the deeply competitive world of horror with the publication of the first three volumes of the macabre short stories `The Books Of Blood'. Written in his spare time, he admits that he was not expecting them to sell really at all, let alone predict the public response that followed. The release exploded within the horror literature genre, hailing Barker as an exciting and imaginative newcomer. Stephen King, already known as a master in the genre, went as far as to pronounce Clive to be "the future of horror". The books won both the British and World Fantasy Awards, as the public lapped up the gore soaked pages. After this initial success, Barker followed with a final three volumes, creating a collective masterpiece of horror. His two omnibus's were later to be broken down, to be sold as individual books which Barker was invited to be able to illustrate the covers for with his dark and twisted artwork. The books have since been put back together again into these two large collections. The books were moderately successful in Great Britain, but found wide critical acclaim in the United States. Their popularity and the sheer amount of sales have found the books repeatedly reprinted and available in over a dozen languages. These books are a must-read for anyone who enjoys reading books from the horror genre. They are also an important stage within the work of Clive Barker forming a solid point for his writing to work from. Here we have the first three volumes from the collection of six. Released in their individual forms back in 1985, this omnibus was later reprinted by Warner Books in 1994. The book was printed with different cover artwork (done by Bob Warner) and is the current version on sale of this dark and twisted masterpiece. This first collection contains the following short stories: The Book Of Blood - 12 pages "The dead have their highway. They carve their stories on the walls and the flesh. Everybody is a book of blood; Wherever we're opened, we're red". This first opener (pardon the pun), brings you a well-constructed and haunting tale to bring together all of the short stories and introduce the reader to the books of blood. It forms a small taste of what is to come, whetting the appetite for Barker's tales of the macabre. The Midnight Meat Train - 25 pages "A stomach-churning ride on the New York subway, to feed the Old Gods on human meat". This short was inspired and created around a sultry summer visit to New York in which Barker found himself lost on a subway at midnight. The tale is a bitter and twisted one, as we are treated to Barker's dark imagination and talent for setting down a vivid and disturbing tale. The story is quickly dropped into a festering pit of gore, with extreme mutilation and blood-spill dripping from each page. The tale concludes with a haunting ending, as we are treated to nothing less than pure Barker genius. The story was later adapted in 1990 into the graphic novel `Tapping The Vein - Book 3' where it was illustrated by Denys Cowan and Michael Davis.. - The Yattering And Jack - 20 pages "Man versus Demon, in a black comedy of lunatic violence". Here we have a short that unfolds a comical tale that will amuse and entertain. The storyline is simple yet packed with purpose. The twist ending is subtle and forms a nice little conclusion to the story. The story was later adapted by Steve Niles in 1991 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel `The Yattering And Jack' where it was illustrated by John Bolton. The story was also adapted for the 1986 release of `The Tales From The Darkside - Volume 5' which was a 20 minute film made for TV broadcast. It starred Tony Carbone (The Pit And The Pendulum) as was available from Worldvision Home Video. - Pig Blood Blues - 29 pages "They told Redman the pig was possessed, but he didn't believe...until the nightmare came trotting after him". Barker offers up a disturbing and haunting tale of possession and dark corruption. The story bleeds paranoia as it slowly winds itself to the horrific conclusion, building up with heart-racing tension. This is one of those stories that will come back to haunt you time and time again. The story was later adapted in 1989 into the graphic novel `Tapping The Vein - Book 1' where it was illustrated by Scott Hampton. - Sex, Death And Starshine - 36 pages "The show must go on. Even if the audience has just risen from the dead". This gripping story brings you a well-written tale that works upon an underlying suspense that gnaws at you from the inside. The story spirals to an awesome and dramatic twist, which will leave you dying to read more. - In The Hills, The Cities - 27 pages "There are monsters nobody has ever dared imagine before; vast enough to take your breath away. And they're waiting in the hills". Barker's imagination runs wild here as we are confronted with this terrifying and impressive tale. Vividly described and cleverly constructed, this story will impress and amaze you with Barker's creation of the darkly fantastic. This short will leave you truly shocked. One of my personal favourite from the whole collection. The story was later adapted in 1989 into the graphic novel `Tapping The Vein - Book 2' where it was illustrated by John Bolton. Dread - 34 pages "One man's obsession with fear drives his victims one step beyond sanity, to unspeakable slaughter". A nasty little opening story for this second volume. Here we have a tale of fear and desperation, as the story revolves around the psychological state of its principal characters. The short is well-written, forming a vivid scenario of utter fear and dread as the horrors mount to a dramatic conclusion. The story was later adapted by Fred Burke in 1992 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel `Dread' where it was illustrated by Dan Brerton. Hell's Event - 23 pages "The race is on. And the Devil will take the hindmost". A gripping and enjoyable story that keeps you entertained throughout. The pace never slows down as you race through this fiendishly dark and twisted storyline. The story was later adapted in 1990 into the graphic novel `Tapping The Vein - Book 4' where it was illustrated by Steven E. Johnson, Alan Okamoto and Jim Perason. Jacqueline Ess: Her Will And Testament - 33 pages "A story of sex and power, and the bloodbath that awaits us at the limits of desire". This story holds a little glimpse of the Barker that will unfold in the later years, with his outstanding imagination for redefining the properties of the flesh. This is an erotic story that decays into something bizarre and twisted as Barker delves deeper into his imagination. One of my personal favourites. The Skins Of The Fathers - 32 pages "Once, they had fattened a human child, these monsters from beneath the desert. Now they want him back". This short is packed with suspension and mystery as we are carefully taken on a haunting trip into this dark offering of horror. The storyline spirals to a dramatic ending with eerie reminders of ideas used within `Lord Of Illusions' and maybe even `Cabal' / `Nightbreed'. A gripping and enjoyable read. The story was later adapted in 1989 into the graphic novel `Tapping The Vein - Book 2' where it was illustrated by Klaus Janson. New Murders In The Rue Morgue - 27 pages "History is about to repeat itself in Poe's notorious street, as old horrors return to shed new blood". Centred around the principal idea that Edgar Allan Poe's classic story The Murders in the Rue Morgue is actually the work of fact not fiction. This weird and horrific story, sets out a mysterious and compelling storyline as we are treated to some classic Barker horror. The story was later adapted by Steve Niles in 1993 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel `The Life Of Death' where it was illustrated by Hector Gomez. Son Of Celluloid - 35 pages "When an escaped convict commits murder and finds his way to a decaying movie palace, he cannot know that his own life is about to end, while the dreams of a half-decade's moviegoers are just beginning. For this convict's cancerous tumor refuses to die, and the angels of the cinema can grant mirages and nightmares of their own." Inspired by the beaten up revival cinema Barker frequented many times back in Liverpool, in which so many films fuelled his imagination as a young man. The short is a heavy dousing of pure horror, with a fast-paced storyline and underlying tension that mounts throughout. The story was later adapted by Steve Niles in 1991 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel `Son Of Celluloid' where it was illustrated by Les Edwards. Rawhead Rex - 47 pages "Rawhead it was called because its head was huge and raw like meat. It was the last of a line of kings dating from before civilization, before Christ, when England was forest all over and the home of unspeakable horror. The ultimate monster is on the loose, with a hunger that won't be satisfied this side of Hell". Adapted into a movie back in 1987, Barker was highly dissatisfied with it and so went on to take up the directors chair himself with his own adaptation of the story `The Hellbound Heart' which became the cult movie `Hellraiser'. The short story `Rawhead Rex' is an incredibly violent and gore-filled offering, with this ungodly creature on a complete rampage. The ending is deep within the weird and supernatural world in which Barker will later submerge himself. A highly enjoyable tale of horror. The story was later adapted by Steve Niles in 1993 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel `Rawhead Rex' where it was illustrated by Lionel Talaro. Confession Of A (Pornographer's) Shroud - 32 pages "When the Porn Kings tortured Ronnie Glass to death they didn't believe in Resurrection. They do now". A nasty little tale of revenge and evil torment. The story is gripping and rammed with suspense from the start. It's well-written and powerful with its vivid and, in places, horrific depictions. Scapegoats - 25 pages "Four lost people on a lost island, with the dead calling from the sea". Written from the first-person perspective of a young woman, Scapegoats boasts a tale of underlying horror and ritual slaughter. It depicts a vivid tension in the air that will put you not at ease throughout. The tale is dark and bizarre, with a horrific and evil conclusion which is a little unsettling, leaving you wondering the taunting world of Barker's creation. Another one of my favourites from the Books Of Blood series. The story was later adapted in 1990 into the graphic novel `Tapping The Vein - Book 3' where it was illustrated by Bo Hampton. Human Remains - 42 pages "Gavin was a whore, happy to sell his body for hard cash. Until he met the creature that wanted to own his flesh forever". A typical Barker style of offering here, with the corruption of the nature of the flesh. The story includes brutal violence in places with splatters of gore and bloodshed. The short is perverse and darkly erotic in places with sudden bursts of the horrific. Pure genius. The story was later adapted in 1989 into the graphic novel `Tapping The Vein - Book 1' where it was illustrated by P. Craig Russel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steve Stred

    ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! ** “So short a time to lose so many treasured illusions.” Since day 1 of connecting and developing a friendship with Gavin, the mastermind of Kendall Reviews, he’s been on me to read all things Barker and specifically Books of Blood. I’ll have a Clive Barker feature coming up on the site where I’ll discuss discovering Mr. Barker, but growing up where I did – I didn’t have access to much horror and what I did have access to read, certainly wasn’t C ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! ** “So short a time to lose so many treasured illusions.” Since day 1 of connecting and developing a friendship with Gavin, the mastermind of Kendall Reviews, he’s been on me to read all things Barker and specifically Books of Blood. I’ll have a Clive Barker feature coming up on the site where I’ll discuss discovering Mr. Barker, but growing up where I did – I didn’t have access to much horror and what I did have access to read, certainly wasn’t Clive. I’ve now read The Hellbound Heart and last night finished Books of Blood: Volumes 1-3. I have Volumes 4-6 still to get through, but Volumes 1-3 would make a fantastic starting place for anyone wanting to dive into Barker. I found the stories varied for me, some resonating more than others. The absolute highlights for me were “Midnight Meat Train,” which is a movie I watched previously, but don’t believe I’d ever read the story before. “Pig Blood Blues” made for a fantastic tale and one that I’d probably go back and reread, “Rawhead Rex,” which was captivating. Anytime we get a monster story from Barker, you know you’re in for a great time. “Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament,” which is itself a unique take on depression. I enjoyed the transformative descriptions Barker used to describe Ess’ newfound powers. “The Yattering and Jack” was a blast. The haunted house/demon descriptions were fantastic and reading about how the demon would discuss his issues with a higher-up was fun. For me, the absolute highlight that stood above the rest of the group story was “In the Hills, the Cities.” The folklore aspect coupled with the discovery of what is happening by the male couple was fantastic. It had me engaged from the first word and I ate everything up about this story. When the couple find the aftermath of the giant battle and still refuse to believe the story, Barker did a great job of trying to have the couple be in denial while at the same time having the conclusion directly involve them. One of the best stories I’ve ever read. Overall, I really did enjoy this collection and looking forward to diving deeper into Barker’s back catalog. This one took me a significantly longer time to read than usual because I was reading it in between other books and just tried to enjoy it as much as I could while reading. I see now why this is such a revered tome.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vince

    I read this back during Halloween but I wasn't moved. He had interesting ideas but I couldn't connect with the characters which is vital for me in order to like a story. I might give his novels a try because his writing isn't terrible. I read this back during Halloween but I wasn't moved. He had interesting ideas but I couldn't connect with the characters which is vital for me in order to like a story. I might give his novels a try because his writing isn't terrible.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    My first Barker book and I was not disappointed. My favourites were The midnight meat train Dread Son of celluloid Rawhead Rex Some really gruesome but awesome stories!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Midnyte Reader

    This book took me a long time to get through. It is not light reading. It sucks you down into its bloody, gory depth. From the very first story, the “frame” so to speak, that explains what the Books of Blood are to the last ghostly saga. I enjoy a good gore-fest, yet I realized I was making faces at some of the details of intricate violence and troubling images. It’s not just random blood and violence however. At the heart of it, the stories are just good stories. They are deep and well thought This book took me a long time to get through. It is not light reading. It sucks you down into its bloody, gory depth. From the very first story, the “frame” so to speak, that explains what the Books of Blood are to the last ghostly saga. I enjoy a good gore-fest, yet I realized I was making faces at some of the details of intricate violence and troubling images. It’s not just random blood and violence however. At the heart of it, the stories are just good stories. They are deep and well thought out, imaginative and surprising. They are written with words strung together in a gorgeous, lush tableau. Descriptions reach ambitious heights. The writing is also brutal and gritty and the mood is dark, proving that Horror can be both beautiful and disturbing. Don’t let anyone tell you different. What I also really enjoyed is that as prolific as Barker’s writing is, it does not seem forced to me. It flows and slides and creeps and batters you so naturally and casually, you just sort of accept it and come to expect it. Sex, Death and Starshine is a wonderfully, creepy ghost story and The Yattering and Jack is a hilarious yarn about a demon who is trying to best a man, but all his efforts are thwarted. It is so clever and refreshing because of the humor. New Murders in the Rue Morgue is a murder mystery as intriguing as its predecessor and takes the tale a step farther. For me, Rawhead Rex is brilliant. The murderous villain, his origins and the hints throughout are woven together not only to create a horror story, but a re-telling of a folklore story. I feel confident in also saying that many of the stories could be studied in feminism, sexuality, and psychology courses. And, if you’re so inclined could raise discussions of what is behind bondage, mutilation and control. But I think the most inherent trait in the stories is suspense, fear and dread (and one of the stories is actually called Dread and explores this emotion). One thing that was a tad lacking for me are the characters and I didn’t realize this until I got to one of the last stories, Scape Goat, which is written in first person and I realized I connected with the main character, Frankie. She took me more into the story while with the other characters I felt more as if I were watching theirs. (The other character I really like is Birdy from Sons of Celluloid. Maybe because she is a strong female.) This really didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book, it’s just something I noticed. I also appreciated the foreward by Mr. Barker as he reflects on his stories which were written many years ago, the horror genre in general and himself as well and how he has changed. I feel this is a must for Horror aficionados. The concepts are inspired, the writing is superb and the stories are just exceptional in their inventiveness.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    This is an anthology of 16 horror short stories and novellas, ranging from around 4,000 to 17,000 words. Such anthologies generally sell poorly, but I'm a fan of the well-turned short story, and in fact feel there are several authors out there whose short pieces are more impressive than their novels--Stephen King for one. You have to really have talent though to make an anthology solely of one author's stories worthwhile. There has to be something that shines in terms of style, voice, or really This is an anthology of 16 horror short stories and novellas, ranging from around 4,000 to 17,000 words. Such anthologies generally sell poorly, but I'm a fan of the well-turned short story, and in fact feel there are several authors out there whose short pieces are more impressive than their novels--Stephen King for one. You have to really have talent though to make an anthology solely of one author's stories worthwhile. There has to be something that shines in terms of style, voice, or really memorable twists. Stephen King has that--try Everything's Eventual. Gerri Leen has that. Try her Life Without Crows. Barker doesn't. I tried all the shorts in the first volume of Books of Blood and didn't want to read more. Anthologies open with their strongest story usually, but the short that opens and gives the title to this book, "The Book of Blood" is an unremarkable haunted house story. I outright disliked the second story, "The Midnight Meat Train," set in the subways of New York City surrounding a serial killer. I'm a native and resident of New York and it didn't evoke my city for me. For one thing, there is no "Avenue of the Americas" subway line--"Avenue of the Americas is Sixth Avenue--there's a 7th Avenue line. Also, hiding under a subway seat? Maybe if you're a very small child. This one also contained a huge pet peeve. I hate it when a character is identified as Puerto Rican based on looks. I'm of Puerto Rican extraction--with cousins who are blond and blue-eyed and others who are black. You can't tell someone is Puerto Rican, rather than say Dominican, Cuban, Argentinian or that matter Italian by looking. And for more points on offensive stereotypes front, the Puerto Rican has a fancy knife in his possession, cuz you know, we're all supposed to carry them... The story "The Yattering and Jack," about a demon trying to gain a soul, did strike a welcome note of humor, but didn't strike me as all that clever. Ditto the grotesque "Pig Blood Blues" with its sow, the predictable "Sex, Death and Sunshine" centered on a theater company and the rather silly "In the Hills, the Cities" set in Yugoslavia. Lots of gratuitous and graphic sex and gore here as befits the author and director of Hellraiser if that's your sort of thing. It's not mine.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    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 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 Hill, the Cities was interesting as well. Everything else that I was able to slog my way through was just plain torture. First of all, since this is a collection of horror short stories I figured some of this should scare me. Well, you flopped Clive. Second, at least gross me out. Barker has some amazing sick and twisted writing even in his fantasy works. His attepted gross outs in here generally read like sad depictions of special effects gone awry in a bad 80's horror film. Finally, even the sex scenes are tame by Barker's standards. Let's me make it clear that Barker remains one of my favorite authors. However, if you're looking to delve into his sick mind start elsewhere. I'd recommend Imajica, Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show or The Damnation Game.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    (not my review): "A friend of mine, years ago, gave me this, and I read the first two stories and was like, “I can’t handle this.” Then I read an interview with Alan Moore, and he was talking about how “Books of Blood” is one of the greatest collections of short stories ever. So I took another look, and it was so hilarious. “The Yattering and Jack” is about a demon from hell sent to make this man go mad – the demon makes his pets explode, and he just shrugs it off. So the demon says to Beelzebub (not my review): "A friend of mine, years ago, gave me this, and I read the first two stories and was like, “I can’t handle this.” Then I read an interview with Alan Moore, and he was talking about how “Books of Blood” is one of the greatest collections of short stories ever. So I took another look, and it was so hilarious. “The Yattering and Jack” is about a demon from hell sent to make this man go mad – the demon makes his pets explode, and he just shrugs it off. So the demon says to Beelzebub, “Listen, I can’t do this.” You actually feel bad for the Yattering – he’s got this one job to do and he can’t do it right. I was reading “Books of Blood” on the subway, and this older woman says to me, “Did you get to the one where the guy’s killing the people on the subway?” She goes, “I read that book years ago. My grandchildren weren’t even born yet.” That’s the great thing about horror. It really brings people together. I had an old, pleasant aunt who was a huge Stephen King fan, and she was like, “He can write about someone getting their head cut off, and it’s so beautiful, the way he writes.”"

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