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Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

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Book Information  
AuthorClive Barker
TitleHellbound Heart
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Christopher Ware 
(Oct 19, 2003)

I read Barker's WEAVEWORLD several years ago and loved it. I was also aware that this book was what the HELLRAISER movies were based on. I'd seen bits and pieces of them and found them interesting. Needless to say, I had high expectations for this book. I was a bit disappointed to find that there wasn't much meat to it. The main impetus behind this book was the dichotomy between pleasure and pain. Unfortunately, this intriguing concept, along with the Cenobites, was never threshed out to my satisfaction. Yes, the book is full of disturbing images and Barker provides just enough detail and forces the reader to fill in the blanks with their own imagination. Unfortunately, I finished the book feeling a bit empty as far as his ideas behind the concepts he introduced.

In addition to this, the characters that populated the book seemed interesting, but they were not developed enough in order for me to care about them. Each character's individuality was roughly outlined and their interrelationships were hinted at, but not enough to fully realize them in the reader's imagination. Yes, the book weighs in at less than 200 pages, but I've seen Stephen King fully thresh out a character, their motivations and desires, and their relationship with other characters in a story in only a couple of pages. Barker fails to do this almost completely.

I don't mean to bash this book completely. It was interesting and had some intriguing concepts and characters, but, unfortunately, Barker does not do enough with them to get me to care. I finished the book and wished there had been another 200 pages so that he could have filled in what was missing. Maybe I should just write this off to one of his early attempts at structuring a story and pick up another of his books. I don't regret reading it, but, aside from the imagery of the Cenobites and the idea of the box, it's pretty forgettable.

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