Title: Mister B. Gone
Author: Clive Barker
Page count: 248 pages
Rating: 3/5 stars on Goodreads
Trigger warnings for the book: gore, hell, demons, creative ways of murdering people, and anything else you can expect with demons. But also: it`s written as if the main character is talking directly to the reader who he also threatens and tries to bribe. I know this can trigger bad things in some people (it made me a bit uncomfortable). So keep that in mind.
Spoiler warning for this review: I try my best to make this review spoilerfree, however some spoilers might slip in. Enter carefully as always.
The Mister B. of the title is Jakabob Botch, a demon whose ghastly past could make even the most merciless sociopath whimper in sympathy. Born in the deepest regions of hell, the spawn of an abusive drunkard and his whorish wife, Jakabob escapes to the world above after suffering fiendish torture. Once topside, he lands conveniently in 15th-century Mainz, the home of printing inventor Johannes Gutenberg. However, Mister B. isn’t interested in merely observing history; like any other self-respecting diabolical being, he’s just searching for a new demonic angle. A ghoulishly good fright fest.
This book was a (very) belated birthday gift from a good friend I`ve known since high school. She knows me very well, so of course she would give me a book about demons. No really, this is a thing that surprisingly makes a lot of sense, especially if you`ve known me for a while. (I actually have at least three, if not more, books on my bookdepository wishlist that are about demons and hell.)
Of course, I love getting books as gifts. Give me all the books (it`ll save me money and get me interesting reads I wouldn`t have thought of myself), I really love it. It does also, however, mean that there`s an extra layer of pressure that you have to like a certain book because it was a gift and you don`t want to disappoint whoever bought it for you. Which is silly, I know.
I didn`t have to worry that much for this book, luckily.
First of all, I love the concept. A demon from the inner circles of hell, who comes from an abusive family and accidentally ends up on the human spheres. A concept like that has me hooked immediately. Add the interesting perspective of being talked to by the demon, and I`m in.
Still, despite the interesting concept, I`m not sure about the end result. I did enjoy it, but I also finished it in just a couple of hours, all in all, put it down and kind of forgot about it. Even while reading it, though I did keep going almost non-stop I also, at the same, did not feel very invested in the characters or what was going to happen.
It is very fast-paced though, and the writing could definitely use some improving. Come to think of it, I think one of my main problems with the book was that it felt like I was reading a first draft. I`m not sure if it`s supposed to feel like this, but it came across as messily written and kind of confusing. The characters aren`t particularly fleshed out, and I felt no emotions whatsoever about the Big Drama near the end. (Because of course, this isn`t just about a demon walking among humans and having fun, there`s a bigger picture here, though I`m still a bit muddled on what the bigger picture exactly is again.)
Aside from that, there was a constant repetition of the demon in question begging you to stop reading and to burn this book. At one point I became tempted to do so because he was starting to get on my nerves.
It was also, to me, not as much a horror or a gorefest (though there was quite some gore) but more of a humoristic read. I really don`t feel like you`re supposed to take this book seriously, as it is quite ridiculous.
Despite all that, I did finish the book almost in one go, so there must`ve been something that caught my attention. I can`t quite pinpoint it, and it wasn`t absolutely terrible, but it wasn`t terribly good either. It was an okay/fun read while it lasted, though not particularly rememberable and I`m not very tempted to pick up more books by Clive Barker despite, judging from the Goodreads reviews, his other books being much better than this one.