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I'm a Clive Barker fan from the Books of Blood days. Waiting on pins and needles for the Scarlett Gospels and was hooked from the get go (sorry!). Typical Barker tome, could use editing to tighten-up the narrative (same issue as with Great and Secret Show and Imajica). But his writing is so lush and decadent, the right mix of sex, blood, and gore. No surprises, just glad Barker is back. John Lee was very good as Pinhead, Lucifer, and Dale, but perhaps not the best choice for doing New York accents. So much more could have been done with sound effects. Overall, worth the wait.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Folks obsessed with the Hellraiser comic series and films would enjoy the Scarlet Gospells. Readers who enjoy depictions of gore for gore's sake might like it. Beyond that, Barker completionists, of which I'm one, may tolerate it but are unlikely to really enjoy it.
Has The Scarlet Gospels turned you off from other books in this genre?
No. I enjoy horror and fantasy, always have always will. It has warned me off Barker though. I've read pretty much everything he's ever written from short stories to the longest novels. He's rarely disappointed me, but this book is one of the exceptions to the rule.
What three words best describe John Lee’s voice?
Mr. Lee works too hard at differentiating characters with heavy handed accents and speech style affectations. They get distracting and don't contribute much to the story.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
I'd have to say all three. At his best, Barker achieved transcendent story telling and rose beyond genre. Books like the Great and Secret Show and Imajica added to my own personal mythology and lifted me up beyond the mundane world to an almost spiritual high. This... the Scarlet Gospels... feels like pandering to the lowest common denominator of Barker fandom. I'm talking about the Hellraiser films, the scary monster gore fests that played on shock and striking visuals to terrify late adolescents and young adults on date night. The Scarlet Gospels doesn't have the naivety and fun of the Books of Blood, nor the vision of Imajica, nor the breadth of the tales of the Abarat. Instead, It came off feeling like fan-fic, not like it came from the pen of one of the masters of phantasmagorical fiction of our age. I felt cheated as I listened to it, almost as if I'd been duped and a ghost writer had been employed with Barker signing his name to it as an "executive author." I know that's not likely the case, but it's how it feels.
Any additional comments?
Finally, a word on Harry Damour. This character is wasted in this book. Harry's not much more than an analog for the reader, a witness to the events of the text. However, Harry's story was the one with some potential. I would pay to see a series on the life and trials of Harry Damour. He's always been a character more in Barker's head and intentions than one that's made it fully fleshed to the page and I'm sad to say, that remains the case despite his supporting role in this text.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful