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L. A. Veronie II
5.0 out of 5 starsA master of prose...
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2019
Though I know of Pinhead and Candyman thru film, Cabal is the first time I've READ anything by Clive Barker...but it most assuredly will not be the last! Certainly his storylines are vivid and the characterization is spot-on, but what really provokes the "feel" is the PROSE. Both elegant & unpretentious, it evokes the reality of both the body AND the mind--with all the tenuous links in-between. It illustrates how little we actually know of ourselves...and that it seems, is the scariest part.
1.0 out of 5 starsCabal Starts Off Interesting But Fails To Get Interesting
Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2019
I'm really having hard time liking Clive Barker work. His ideas sound interesting but when it comes to him writing the story itself it's a different story.
Cabal begins with Boone going through disturbing photos of murder victims which his doctor Decker is trying to help him. Boone leaves and tries to commit suicide but fails and is taken to hospital. After hearing about a place called Midian which he has dreamed about. After escaping and travelling miles he finds Midian which is hidden under a cemetery and is attacked by two creatures calling themselves "Night Breed" Boone escapes only to be bought back by Decker who tells Boone he's the killer and used Boone as a scapegoat and is shot to death by Decker and the police.
Boone's girlfriend Lori gets the news about her dead boyfriend however believes he's somehow still alive after hearing that Boone's body has mysteriously disappeared from the morgue. She begins looking for Midian and bumps into another woman Sherly who helps her find it however Sherly new boyfriend who happens to be Decker kills her after revealing to Lori he killed Boone and framed him for his murders. After stabbing Decker and running into a bar Decker waits for Lori to come out as she flees to Midian and is trapped by Decker but Boone appears and scares off Decker with Boone and Lori being told to leave.
At this point I got bored with unanswered questions like Why is Midian so special? What does it look like? How did Decker know where to find Lori? And Decker was one of the most boring villains I ever read. Using a person with mental disorder as a scapegoat? And why try killing Lori with a knife first then using a gun later.
4.0 out of 5 starsFlesh dies, but monsters live forever
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2020
Enjoyable gruesome horror at its best. This smallish book (a novella) was big on monsters, blood, death and things that crawled or made your skin crawl. Perhaps, Barker could had fleshed out (given more detail) to more parts of the story. Yet, even though some of the scenes in the book were truly repugnant, Barker still managed to entice the reader forward and forward we went. We found the Night breed, the Necropolis, a place called Shere Neck somewhere near Calgary, Canada; Then, there was the Midian and what lived beneath it and yet further we went until there is no turning back. Welcome to the world of Clive Barker and the horror stories he told.
This person was particularly moved by how Barker showed that even though the Night breed were bad, ugly, brutal monsters, ultimately they just wanted to be alone and left to their own devices. They didn't seem to harm humans if the humans just left them alone. That was called empathy. 'Cabal' was a good read, a really good read, but Barker is such a talent that it still wasn't as good as 'Weave World', 'The Greatest and Secret Show', 'Imajica' or the stories of 'Abarat' (all three of them). Those stories got five stars from me, but 'Cabal' got four blood stain stars for this enjoyable gruesome effort.
I grew up watching Nightbreed and I hadn't read the book since high school. Having recently finished it I realized how much the movie is close to the book. I love the imagination of Clive Barker and his monsters. It is always a literary treat as a horror fan to read his novels. Recommended for anyone who comes across this as a newcomer to Clive Barker.
I bought this book because of Nightbreed the film. Good movie, not great, but good. I liked the premise, but thought it could've been better; wished they took some time to flush out some of the breed. So I decided to go to the source of film, the novel. I enjoyed the book and it was entertaining. It held my attention from start to finish which is no easy feat. I'm not a natural reader. Often times, I find it hard to keep focused when reading books, but I had not issues here. Kudos Mr Barker! Do I have any criticisms? A bit strange in places, but I knew this going in. This is Clive Barker! I read The Hellbound Heart because I was a fan of Hellraiser and some of the Books of Blood so I knew what to expect. Overall, it was a solid read, enjoyable and I'm glad I bought it. Having watched the movie I was hoping for more than I got with the nightbreed themselves so that's why I gave it 4 stars. If you're a fan of Barker or of the film you can't go wrong with this book.
1. A novella that lives up to the term with the healthy length of a slim paperback. You're not getting a short story here, but a complete tale with enough page length to achieve multiple character development. 2. A story that inspired a cult film that is still making the convention circuit decades later, toys, merchandise, and multiple spin offs, including a brand new Nightbreed title from BOOM studios. 3. An award winning triple threat author, director, and acclaimed painter who has given us both Pinhead and Candyman, writing at a time many considered him in peak form.
So, for the price of a candy bar, Baphomet willing, you will experience the wonder of Midian.
I was a big fan of the movies Hellraiser and Nightbreed, so I was very glad to discover their original tales. As much as I like the movies, I have to say I ñrefer the books. They take more time to show you the more of their dark fantasy, and are much more sensual; they are also a bit more human, as we go deeper into the characters. A very entertaining book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2016
I'm a huge Clive Barker fan, so much so that he's one of my favourite contemporary horror authors. That's down to two factors: imagination and writing style. In all of his books there is a flash of imagination, of bringing a new angle to an established genre. His style of writing is fantastic, and does often make me despair that I'll never be able to match his talent for prose.
Cabal is almost a more traditional horror story compared to his other novels, it lacks the grand scale of Weaveworld for example. Naturally there are some new angles to it, but they're not as impactful as some of his other creations. The concept of 'monster' is the heart of the book, whether that be human, or otherwise. And that tone is carried well, you see brutality in many different guises here. This works mainly through the existence of strong and well written characters.
My main complaint is that while the characters are well realised, and the setting appropriate, it only touches on the surface of this strange world. I would have loved to learn more about the nightbreed, and to be honest that of the mask as well. There were histories there that needed to be realised to bring it into the light.
As always though, no matter if the story has its flaws, his writing carries it superbly. It's not often I read a book just for the joy of the words, and while this isn't the strongest of his form (I'd probably pick the Hellbound Heart for that), it is evident as you read it. There's a real eloquence to be admired here. A decent horror read, but not his best.
1.0 out of 5 starsOne of the worst books I've ever read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2019
Do yourself a favour and give this book a pass. There is no story, just lots of irrational actions from a bunch of one-dimensional and cliched characters. It feels like something written by a teenager for all the gratuitous sex and gore thrown in to try and titillate and/or shock. The most interesting parts - the town of Midian and its inhabitants, including their "god" - get very little in the way of introduction and exposition. Just a few lines of dialogue with no explanation for their rules and laws.
It's very much the type of book that, upon finishing it, makes you think, "Alright, so where's the other half that's interesting and makes sense."
A short novel singing a hymn to perversity. Cabal takes a close look a monsters, and discovers that there is a lot more to them than appearances lead you to believe. At the same time, there's no escaping the fact that they remain... well, monsters. It's a beautifully written story, but one that is too often accorded partialities that I'm not sure are inherent in the text. Minority groups are often quick to relate the metaphor of Midian to themselves, but that can only be done on the most selective reading. While on the one hand yes, the monsters are subject to clear persecution, on the other they commit unspeakable acts that have only got away with for so long because they've been sneaky. For these same reasons, I'm inclined to read the monsters of Midian as an exaggerated representation of humanity at large rather than any portion of it. Petty, divided, frightened, terrifying... all these things and more.
Of course, the fact that this discussion can be had at all suggests that this a great book. It is. Beautiful, hypnotic, suggestive, and graceful in all its horrors - this is among Barker's very best.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 19, 2013
Now I know I have given this a set of 5 Stars, even though I have not really had time to read it yet - but I have been trying to borrow this book from the Library for a number of years now and it is always out!!! So having seen it on Amazon - I decided to buy it - the book arrived well before the due date and very well packaged via Amazon. The Book was a Used purchase - and in excellent condition, packaging was excellent too, so that is mainly why I have given it 5 Stars. But As the writer is so good anyway - I have no Qualms that this book will not meet a 5 Star Standard as well :o)
4.0 out of 5 starsModerately Satisfying Horror Novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2008
This reasonably satisfying read tells the story of Boone, a man who is framed by his sadistic psychiatrist for a whole host of grisly murders her didn't commit.
The gore is plentiful in places, which will please many a fan of horror novels. Despite this, the book lacks the same utterly sadistic, grim, nihilistic edge of 'Hellraiser', the film which was directed by Clive Barker. The story of the Nightbreed, who occupy a world built underneath a graveyard, is more in the realms of horror fantasy, though well-written just the same.
Overall, however, this lacks the same kind of 'edge-of-the-seat' visceral terror of other Clive Barker works, despite it's well-crafted style.