This book was amazing! I honestly hold my hands up to the fact I've never personally fully read one of Clive Barker's written works. I reached half way with book's of blood and gave up So when I picked this up on my libraries, digital book section I wasn't expecting much.
Oh, How wrong I was....
It's a Dark, dark masochistic piece of work. And fully shows the beautiful, disturbing mind of Clive Barker. The Hellbound heart pulls you in and keeps you hooked for hours. It's everything a horror book fan could want and more It really makes me wonder where on earth he came up with the Cenobite's and the Lemarchand's box.? He's a genius! and I've fallen in love with his writing style. So much so that I brought the scarlet gospels That I really hope will match up to the Hellbound heart.
I saw the movie way before I read the book and I have to say I like both! The only downside is that I wasn't too sure of kirsty's relationship to Rory in the book the way I read it was she was a friend that had a crush on Rory Cotten? But in the film she's his daughter? that confused me.
If you haven't read this book I highly recommend it. it should be on every horror fans book case!
Synopsis: Frank Cotton's insatiable appetite for the dark pleasures of pain led him to the puzzle of Lemarchand's box, and from there, to a death only a sick-minded soul could invent. But his brother's love-crazed wife, Julia, has discovered a way to bring Frank back, though the price will be bloody and terrible . . . and there will certainly be hell to pay.
I have officially completed two Clive Barker books (the Books of Blood Vol. 1-3 omnibus and the book I am reviewing today), and I can now color myself a true Barker fan. The man's horror tales get under my skin in a way completely unlike any other horror author's work, which is a good thing — a well-told, scary tale populated with intriguing characters is always the goal of any author dabbling in the dark fiction realm. And Clive Barker certainly succeeds here.
The basis for the Hellraiser movie series, this is a slim novel that might be short on character development but makes up for that with intense, frightening sequences. Plenty of blood and brains splash the walls, and there are copious of bouts of paranoia to be found here. Like most Barker tales, The Hellbound Heart deals a lot with sex, obsession, and demonic spirits — and often the three are intertwined. The conceit of the story (which I won't say much of, aside from it deals with sexual pleasure to the extreme — lots of sadism going on here) is one that wouldn't work in the hands of most writers, but Barker pulls it off phenomenally.
This is a very short book, so I am writing a pretty short review. If you've read Clive Barker before, you know what to expect here — a fantastically written tale that will jangle the nerves and most likely shatter your expectations. The characters were interesting, but the simply doesn't see enough of them. The story could have been padded out with another fifty pages or so and I wouldn't have complained one bit — though, I suppose, that's a victory on Barker's part . . . always leave the reader wanting more? The relationship problems between Rory and Julia were intriguing, and I would have also liked to have spent more time with Frank . . . what, exactly, led him to the puzzle? Characters' motivations are briefly sketched out but never fully formed.
The Hellbound Heart is, overall, a winner and is definitely a good place to start with Barker. Within it is everything his readers love so much about his work, and it is highly effective as a scary story to boot! It's a quick read — one could probably get through it in a couple of hours — so what are you waiting for?
My original THE HELLBOUND HEART audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.
Clive Barker is an author that’s been on my to-read list for a number of years, ever since I first saw the movie Lord of Illusions (jesus, twenty years ago now? yeesh…) and heard Stephen King sing his praises as “the future of horror” way back when. So yeah, Barker’s been in the game for quite a long time, has established himself as an icon within the genre, and I am a woefully massive latecomer to his work. I figured it’s high-time I corrected that by giving The Hellbound Heart a listen.
I went into this book mostly blind. I had a fairly superficial knowledge of Pinhead and the Cenobites (think demonic, leather-clad, freaky, mutilated S&M goth types) thanks to the Hellraiser flicks and their place in pop culture. I knew this was the book that inspired the first Hellraiser movie, which I haven’t seen, and had little idea what to expect story-wise. I guess I had expected a lot of Pinhead and his Cenobites, and was surprised to find them mostly absent save for brief appearances at the beginning and end of this book.
In their absence, though, we get a pretty cool and mysterious gothic-tinged story. Frank Cotton has come to possess an old artifact, Lemarchand’s puzzle box. When opened, it serves as a key between realities, opening the door separating the real from the more realer still. This is, in short, a dimension of nightmares.
Following Frank’s disappearance, his brother Rory and Rory’s wife, Julia, move into the house that Frank had briefly inhabited. Julia finds herself becoming drawn to an empty, drafty room, in which the drapes have been nailed to the window sills to keep the light out. The room seems to ‘speak’ to her, and she finds herself growing emboldened, bringing lovers to this room in order to spill their blood. Blood that Frank needs to return.
Narrated by Jeffry Kaver, Barker’s elegant prose is brought to life in a style somewhat reminiscent of the golden age of radio plays and a touch of Rod Serling. This is a terrific match for the fantastical, metaphysical horrors Barker describes. And, oh boy, describe it he does. We get some pretty brilliant depictions of sex and violence, from the gory-looking Cenobites and Frank’s initial encounter with them, right on up to chaotic finale. Barker goes for the guts, sometimes literally (I suspect “the carpet of her bowels” is a phrase that will stick with me for too damn long), but there is a rather strange beauty to the madness.
The audio production is superb, and I really liked the bit of sound engineering that went into the delivery of dialogue from the Cenobites. Kaver’s narration suddenly takes on an ethereal, otherworldly echo to drive home the fact that these things are not human and most definitely not of this Earth. It was a bit startling to hear at first, but jeez is it ever a cool and welcome addition, and a nice demonstration of the elasticity in design that audiobooks are capable of. Kudos to Crossroads Press for that extra bit of effort!
Ultimately, I felt The Hellbound Heart was a satisfying introduction to Barker’s work, and I’ll be checking out his works in the future as time allows.