Review – Cabal by Clive Barker

Book Review - Cabal by Clive Barker

Spoilers Ahead – You are warned

In 2019, as  part of horror week, I read The Hellbound Heart . After revisiting that classic,  I already had it in the back of my mind, that my next reread of Clive Barker regardless of the occasion would be Cabal.

In 2020, I specifically went back to the books I knew and loved to get me enthused about reading again. 

Cabal was a good choice

The reader is taken on a journey intricately describing a metamorphosis of simultaneously personal and epic importance.

Clive Barker takes a straightforward plot layers it with intent, infuses it with wonder and leaves you absorbed in a world that horrifies yet ultimately delights

With his skill as a visual storyteller, Barker masterfully conveys emotions, motivations and personalities effortlessly that plays out in HD, scene by scene in your mind.

But before I go any further, I have to say, if you haven’t read Cabal before then please do not read this review as there will be spoilers ahead.

Why spoil it with spoilers

I can’t talk about Cabal in the way that I want to without talking about plot points and character developments, which will take the delight out of reading it for the first time.  And yes it is a delight despite the blood and terror

Everyone should have the opportunity of reading Cabal once without the knowledge of the nuances and key plot details

 To wrap up for those who need to stop reading this review now.

Just know that it is a fabulous book and my advice is to  get yourself to a bookshop or library immediately to get a copy; like NOW. There’s no need to read this review – the book is much more important. Failing that watch the movie which was pretty good too.

If you’re still reading, on your head be it…

To summarise,  Cabal is for all intents and purpose a horror book: serial killer, murders, secret societies, troubled people. However, it is much more than the sum of its parts.

It draws in so many themes (see snippet below) that it defies a typical genre description:

  • Mental Health
  • Manipulation
  • Power Imbalance
  • Acceptance and belonging
  • Obsession

We meet people with secrets who are either trying to find or hide from themselves

Decker is a master at his craft but becomes undone by the voice living in his head which desperately wants recognition and autonomy.

Lori wants to belong and finds it hard to articulate what she wants.

Boone just wants to stop feeling – being numb to the world, would halt his pain.

Place these characters in this world, we get road trip, buddy adventure, a trail of bodies and a community that has your back.

I invite you to read Cabal so you too can be enthralled, drawn into this exploration of self discovery, acceptance and liberation.

A memorable story, that inexplicably gets better each time it is read.

5 Stars - It Was Amazing

*An abbreviated version of this review is on Goodreads

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Engrossed Reader

Female, in her 40's who reads when she can, often to the detriment of sleep. Enjoying most genres and formats with a preference for ebooks, mainly for convenience

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5 star rating explained

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