Books of Blood, volumes 1 – 3
ISBN:0 75151022 X
Did you ever look through a kaleidoscope as a kid? Do you remember twisting the end to make the little bright jewels and beads inside fall into different patterns? Remember how some of the patterns where better than others, even though they were all beautiful – some of the patterns inside were just a little on the dull side, and although they were all pretty, some just didn’t have that certain something.
Books of Blood is a little bit like that. Some of the stories enclosed in the three-volume set (the Books were originally published as individuals, and then combined at a later stage, which is apparently how Clive Barker had intended to publish them all along) are amazing – descriptive, interesting subject matter, good character development. I wouldn’t say that they were strictly scary – some of them are certainly creepy, but I can read them before bed without any ill effects. However, some of them are rote, or done better by other writers (The Yattering and Jack being a case in point – that whole concept was much better done by C.S Lewis in The Screwtape Letters).