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Books of Blood (Volumes 1 to 3)

by

Clive Barker

Books of Blood (Volumes 1 to 3)
average rating is 4 out of 5

Horror, Short Stories, Supernatural

R. Alex Jenkins

This is the complete collection of 15 stories, 16 if you include the introduction to volume 1, spaced into three bite-size chunks of volumes 1, 2 and 3.


All three volumes are consistent, which is surprising, with only a few duffers here and there in each volume.


So, I have to choose a favourite story from each volume and explain why?


Vol. 1: - 'Pig Blood Blues' because of how sinister it is and the references to Animal Farm by George Orwell, although wildly different in every other way. This is a really dark and sordid tale that scared and disgusted me, which is why I read this type of material.


Vol. 2: - 'Jacqueline Ess' because of my personal connection with her mental health issues and how she is endlessly pursued, controlled and gets her own back in one way or another. It feels hopeless, and it totally is.


Vol. 3: - 'Human-Remains' because of the plot twist at the end and how it captivates and saddens you at the plight of a sex worker who ultimately has no control, but thinks he does because of his incredible looks.


All of Clive Barker's stories are sordid, but more in line with cosmic horror than sheer gore and splatterpunk, and even though published in 1983, still feel relevant and fresh, while also serving as horror classics borrowing many influences from the past while emphasising where many current authors get their influences from.


My criticisms are that some of the stories don't feel fleshed out enough, which is inevitable with this much material, plus they start to repeat in ideas and concepts a bit, with volumes 2 & 3 containing six stories with highly charged sexual elements.


But overall, quite phenomenal and 4 dirty black stars from me.

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