Hellbound Heart-Stand Alone-4/5

By Clive Barker

Blinded by desire, they never dreamed what would follow.

Hellbound Heart Cover

In his arrogance Frank Cotton opened a door to another world, and became a prisoner of the horrors that ruled there. He watches from his cell as his brother, Rory, moves into the very house where Frank met his end. He has but one chance, Julia, Rory’s wife. With frantic words he reveals how Julia can bring him back, without sparing a thought to the price, or what might follow him.

The opening is one of the strongest I have ever read. Audiences are quickly ushered into a story of addiction, desire, and otherworldly mystery. The writing is incredibly sharp, as artful details paint a picture of horror which could easily invoke disgust, but instead paints a portrait of dark beauty that’s enough to take your breath away.

Then, in the tradition of classic horror, the story shifts to an everyday scene, leaving audiences to wonder when the otherworldly horror will return, and pounce upon these unsuspecting characters. Audiences are treated to a variety of perspectives, including those who will ultimately become the villains of the narrative.

Through their journey the story explores issues of addiction and inurement, echoing that classic quote, “when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back.” It’s a slow narrative, and at times audiences may grow tired of the repetitive nature of some of the later scenes, but strong writing manages to carry the day, building up tension as the stage is set for a strong, if somewhat abrupt conclusion. All the right questions are left unanswered, giving audiences a good framework from which to imagine their own personal ending to a suspenseful and very well written story.

+Strong Writing
+Strong Scenes
+Strong Perspectives
*Slow, minimalist plot
*Simple Characters


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4 thoughts on “Hellbound Heart-Stand Alone-4/5

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  3. I love this book. I didn’t find the plot to be slow, however many of the times I’ve read this book it has been on audio book.
    I always thought it was interesting that Barker wanted Julia to be the main villain, even in the hellraiser movies.

    • It is interesting how the story spends so much time with Julia. To me it almost felt like the story was at odds with itself, like there was an internal argument between casting Julia as the villain and making her a protagonist. Certainly explored how evil often sneaks up on people through degrees and justifications.

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