“He is a transformer of human flesh; a creator of monsters.”
”Tortured Souls” is one of the most vividly imagined, tightly compressed novellas ever written by the incomparable Clive Barker. At once violent and erotic, brutal and strangely beautiful, it takes us into the heart of the legendary ”first city” known as Primordium, the site of political upheaval, passionate encounters, and astonishing acts of transformation.
Lurking at the edges of this extravagant tale is the ancient entity known as ”Agonistes,” who accepts the pleas of selected ”Supplicants,” transforming them, through a combination of art, magic, and pain, into avatars of violence and revenge.
The story begins when a freelance assassin named Zarles Krieger commits a routine murder-for-hire. This act will lead him to two life-altering encounters, one with the daughter of his victim, the other with Agonistes himself. This conjunction of the human and the inhuman stands at the center of this instantly absorbing creation.
With great authority and equally great economy, ”Tortured Souls” expands to become a portrait of Primordium itself, with its hierarchies, its hidden mysteries, its shifting power structure, and–most significantly–its indelible cast of characters. A perfectly controlled example of what Barker calls ”the fantastique,” ”Tortured Souls” is something truly special, a story whose imaginative reach and sheer narrative power are evident on every page.”
I don’t generally read horror books as they aren’t my cup of tea generally, however I decided to try Clive Barker earlier this year with his book The Hellbound Heart. The movie Hellraiser is based off of that book, and I wanted to see where the movie came from. It was a pretty creepy read. So of course, during the Halloween Season, I had to find another one of his books. With my course load, I wanted something that I could get through nice and quickly. Tortured Souls fit the bill perfectly.
The book was a while 87 pages. Wow, so long! I know! So I read this book in about 30 minutes and loved every minute it. It captured me and kept me going. It’s a collection of short stories that, woven together, make a larger story. It’s all around this city and this creator Agonistes, who is a creation of God, and then can play with humans and create them to be terrifying. The whole description of what he does to the humans that call for him is terrifying. And gruesome.
But within all of this horror and terror is something beautiful. Two people, who were so twisted by what they had become, found love together. They were able to find comfort together in everything they had done (which was for a cause). But, all good things come to an end and their love was their downfall.
I honestly loved this book and wasn’t really expecting to. Clive Barker is honestly a master when it comes to horror writing. While he doesn’t necessarily scare you with questioning what will happen, you generally blatantly know what is going to happen and that makes it so much scarier. He also has no fear with saying what is happening. He will state the torture going on and he will not be afraid to do so. I quite like the frankness in his writing.
Additionally, he suggests ideas that seem so real! Especially in this book, since it had these godly reference, it kept referencing to God and bits of the Bible. I even had to google some parts of it because it seemed so real, like it could have been an obscure part of religious history that they don’t teach you. Of course his books are about demons and creatures which religions generally do not teach, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if some it was real. But of course, it was not. He writes in such a convincing fashion.
The book was based on earth, in the past, but also in the present as well. You’re never really clear when the stories take place. It says that the city where it all occurred, Primordium, came before any other cities. However there were cars and such. It is a creative way to write because it can be now, but it also cannot be. It is a place beyond time.
I absolutely loved this book and it was a perfect book for the Halloween month. It is an adult book because of the nature of the writing and the general themes going on in the book.
I do recommend that you read it, if you like horror books! For that, I give it a while 5 teacups!
Rating: 4/5 teacups
“A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it’s even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there’s no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.
These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising manners, changing in ways they wouldn’t have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly. This is a gripping look at people and how they can—and must—change under the most dire of circumstances.
And not always for the better.”
I had come across this book in my library and it caught my eye because it was BRIGHT yellow and also had a bio warning symbol on the front. Naturally I went, ‘oh, what is this’ and just had to check it out. I only grabbed it because of that and also because it looked to be a quick read.
An exciting thrill ride from beginning to end.
It was definitely an exciting read and you never really knew what was going to happen next. You sometimes thought you knew what was going to happen and then something else would occur.
Pretty realistic with all of the bureaucratic bull…I mean,uh, drama.
There was lots of mess with the whole political scene. People didn’t like the politician who was making the choices. The main character was the daughter of said politician and seemed to hate her mother and blamed her for everything. So it was pretty close to how it would happen in real life. Information wasn’t being allowed out to the media as they didn’t want public panic and all of that good stuff. So it was realistically written.
There are 3 books and the book doesn’t conclude the situation.
It’s one of those series…yeah. Book one is not a stand alone. You have to read the entire series, all 3 books, to find out what happens. I really hate when they do that because I don’t have all the time in the world to read and entire series (even though I read the entire book in an afternoon outside in the nice weather). Will I read the rest of the series? Probably not in all honesty. I don’t have that much time currently to do so, so I’ll never know what happens. But I’m sure most of them will get out but people will die and all of that stuff. It had a predictable overall story feel, just not the small situations within the book.
It dragged…a lot.
I mean come on! This one book was only happening over a few days. And there are 3 more books! Like what else could possibly happen in the next?! I am slightly curious as to what will happen but I’m not sure if I’m curious enough to read the entire series currently.
Strong female lead.
You know me, I’m a sucker for a strong female lead! And this one was one. She was pretty smart and quick on her feet which I really did like. So that boosted the book up in my opinion.
Overall it was a good book and if you have time to commit to the small series I would recommend it. It was exciting, kept the pages turning and kept you questioning as to what was going to happen next. For that I do give it 4/5 teacups!
“London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Accompanied by her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, where she hopes fresh air and open space will provide the refuge they need.
When they take lodgings in Colchester, rumours reach them from further up the estuary that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, is immediately enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a previously undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar.
Like Cora, Will is deeply suspicious of the rumours, but he thinks they are founded on moral panic, a flight from real faith. As he tries to calm his parishioners, he and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart, eventually changing each other’s lives in ways entirely unexpected.
Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.”
-From book jacket
This book was an absolutely exquisite read – there really is no other way to put it. First of all, a little bit about the author. She is highly well educated with a PhD in creative writing from Royal Halloway, which is a very well respected university. Additionally, she has been the writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library as well as the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague (summarized from book jacket). So clearly she knows her stuff in regards to writing and this is clearly evident within the book.
It is written in an older English kind of style as there are Old English contractions between words, as well as English spelling and longer sentences. It is more like a Jane Austen novel than a newer piece of literature, which I absolutely love. This book is nothing like you will find in the ‘new’ section of your bookstores.
It was definitely a challenging read, to get into it, as it was so different from any other book that one may generally read. It took a few chapters to get into the book and understand the flow of how it would be progressing, but once you did, it was a wonderful story. It was vividly written with beautiful descriptions and you were really able to feel the atmosphere of the book and locations mentioned with great ease.
If you are looking for a book that is fast paced, then this is not your book. It is a very slow story but it keeps you interested. I do not mean slow in a negative way, but there are no fights or action scenes as such. It was a calm book and not once did I have any of my emotions go to an extreme where I had adrenaline pumping or tears streaming down my face. It was all so calm and peaceful which I loved.
There was one small sex scene, which shocked the living daylights out of me. It was so soft and nothing really happened but it was obvious what was happening. And for the time period and what was happening in the story, it shocked me overall and was just so scandalous. In other books I wouldn’t have even batted an eyelash however in this one I was internally going “oh my gosh, wait what?!”
Overall this book was fantastic! It won’t be released in the United States until June 6th, so this is definitely hot off the press. It has been released in the UK for a few months however, like all good things, other countries had to wait for it.
So I do recommend adding this to your wishlist and giving it a buy. It’s an amazing read and a wonderful gift for any book lover in your life. I mean, just look at the cover! Who wouldn’t love to receive a book that was beautiful as that?
Happy Reading and let me know what you all think!
Apparently Starbucks, after J.K. Rowling announced Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, came up with a Butterbeer Frappucino. I don’t know if they’re still selling it in some places, however, you can make it yourself!
Just click here!
How yummy does it look! I’d love to try it.