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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
This collection of short stories is an omnibus edition of Mask of the Macabre, Ballet of the Bones and Séance of the Souls, to give a total of 12 very gothic, creepy short stories portraying the underbelly of Victorian London - the slice of the city that is made up of macabre entertainment such as freak shows and séances and populated by conniving showmen,...
Published 23 months ago by ElaineG

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Puppet Show
I was initially attracted to this book by the jacket design and I like supernatural fiction set in the nineteenth century so I was quite willing to give it a go. The first chapter plunges the reader straight into the gore fest in a welter of purple prose (note to author; sometimes Less is More), but after that settles down nicely. I like the idea of linking the stories...
Published 22 months ago by Mrs. C. A. Mikolj


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 15 Jun. 2013
By 
ElaineG (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
This collection of short stories is an omnibus edition of Mask of the Macabre, Ballet of the Bones and Séance of the Souls, to give a total of 12 very gothic, creepy short stories portraying the underbelly of Victorian London - the slice of the city that is made up of macabre entertainment such as freak shows and séances and populated by conniving showmen, mediums, spiritualists and charlatans preying on the Victorians' morbid fascination with all things death related. The stories can be read as stand alone tales, but the same characters do crop up throughout the collection to give a feeling of continuity.

The stories are very well written, characters behave and talk appropriately for the times the stories are set in and the descriptions of London are so evocative that you can almost smell the London fog. The tales are gruesome, grisly and macabre with very much a Tales of the Unexpected feel to them and you can almost picture Christopher Lee or Vincent Price as some of the characters. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb horror collection, 15 Sept. 2013
By 
M. Brookes - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
I've previously read the components of this collection and can say that this is some of the finest horror I've read in a while, the author truly gets the feel of Victorian horror, here's what I thought of the individual parts:

Mask of the Macabre:

This is a collection of four stories that connect with each other. They are set in Victorian London and is written in a style reminiscent of the penny dreadfuls of the time.

The writing is excellent and stands out compared to the more economical modern style we're used to. The description is lovely and the horror of the stories is remarkable.

Ballet of the Bones:

After reading the previous collection 'The Mask of the Macabre' (if you haven't read that yet - you should) I picked this up immediately hoping for more of the same and I wasn't disappointed. While it follows on loosely from 'Mask of the Macabre', you don't need to have read that to read 'Ballet of the Bones', but as I've already said, if you haven't you should.

'Ballet of the Bones' follows the same format of four short stories that weave in and out of each other. My favourite was the story about the grave digger, but they were all good. The setting is Victorian London and the writing matches that of the period.

Seance of the Souls:

A new horror classic from David Haynes. Having read his previous two short story collections I was sure this would be a good read and I wasn't disappointed. The format has changed slightly, this is a novella rather than a short story collection. The story is set in the same era (Victorian London) as the short stories, but you don't need to have read them to enjoy this - although if you haven't read them yet then you should!

The story itself concerns a young man who has lost everything and his quest to right that wrong. The writing describes his journey perfectly and the style fits the period. Reading it I am drawn to writings of the greats from that age, but also the ornate darkness and gruesomeness of the 'penny dreadfuls'.

There is nothing in this book not to like. The cover is a work or art. I loved this book. If you enjoy proper old fashioned horror tales then you have to read this book. It is simply splendid.

All in all this collection is a must read for all horror fans!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable Read, 21 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
This box set is a collection of three books of Victorian Gothic Horror stories. The first two, Mask of the Macabre and Ballet of the Bones are independently narrated short stories, woven together around a central theme. As each story progresses, new characters and complexities are introduced, old ones revisited, and another murky layer is skilfully added to the atmosphere of a grim and horrifying Victorian London.
The third book in the collection, Séance of the Souls is quite different, a novella that gradually peels back those layers once more, until the core of the stories is revealed. I found the novella a little less captivating than the earlier shorts, but the whole collection is still a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Puppet Show, 29 July 2013
By 
Mrs. C. A. Mikolj "Carol M" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
I was initially attracted to this book by the jacket design and I like supernatural fiction set in the nineteenth century so I was quite willing to give it a go. The first chapter plunges the reader straight into the gore fest in a welter of purple prose (note to author; sometimes Less is More), but after that settles down nicely. I like the idea of linking the stories loosely together - not a new treatment but effective in the right hands; and some of the stories do give the reader a genuine shiver down the spine. The darkness and despair of the underbelly of Victorian society are well drawn.
However, what lessens the impact of the Grand Guignol (and makes me deduct a star) is that there is virtually no characterization at all, either in the main protagonists or their victims. We are given a rather scrappy reason why the murderers do what they do; but this does not make them interesting. The victims are described as innocent, pure etc., but this still does not elicit our sympathy. Ironically, this makes the stories more like the playing out of the kind of macabre puppet show from which they seem to take some of their inspiration. Very clever no doubt; but if the characters had been more fully fleshed out (no pun intended) they may have resonated more with the reader, and the horror would have been intensified. As it is, some horrible things have happened; but we just don't care.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not something I would normally read - but enjoyed these so much that I will look out for ..., 11 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
Not something I would normally read - but enjoyed these so much that I will look out for anything by David Haynes in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and interesting., 31 Jan. 2014
By 
MH "Emm" (West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
This set is made up of three books Mask of the Macabre, Ballet of the Bones and Seance of the Souls. Although each book can be bought and read as individual books, I don't think I would have given each book a four star rating. The three books are like a beginning, middle and end of one story and therefore you really need to read all three in order. Each book introduces characters all of which have histories. A couple of characters are introduced, used and never heard of again. Overall I enjoyed reading the books which I didn't find too macabre. The story kept me intrigued all the way through. The only disappointment I felt was with the ending, I found myself thinking 'is that it'?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macabre, 13 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
I've read the individual stories and thoroughly enjoyed them, so having them as an omnibus is a great idea.
Even though the books are readalone and in any order, there is a common linkage.
The author creates a location that felt very real as I read it. And the characters are very creepy ones that you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alleyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book, 29 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
Not quite sure why I purchased this. Not my normal fare. It os a good tale very spooky and well put together. It has a very gothic feel. If you enjoy this genre then you'll love this. Still not sure what to make of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 24 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this, I liked the theme running through and the writing style was good. the only reason I gave it 4
stars was because I thought the ending was a bit abrupt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ghost tale, 11 May 2015
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This review is from: The Macabre Collection (Complete Set) (Kindle Edition)
A new author for me I did enjoy these stories but I do admit to getting a bit lost along the way but do give it a go.
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