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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Great and Secret Show
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on 8 May 2014
I read this a few years ago and was interested to revisit it. However it isn't quite as good as I remembered it.

Clive Barker creates a unique sense of mythology in his books, there is the sense of entering an exciting and slightly dangerous world.

This one is about the battle between two individuals, which becomes a battle between different elemental forces that they represent.

If you do like it, there are another two books in the sequence.
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on 18 January 2018
This book is very imaginative. It's well written but I found the protagonists difficult to like.

I thought the idea of a dream sea quite compelling. And the strange creatures that inhabit it were both bizarre and interesting.

If you're looking for a sci-fi horror novel that's a bit different then look no further. But be prepared for some disturbing and slightly disgusting scenes.
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on 10 April 2018
Fantastic book! Makes you want to continue and read Everville, the next one. Easy to read and original ideas, really exciting, powerful book. I love the way it could all be going on around us and we'd never realise! Absolutely BRILLIANT book!
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on 17 April 2018
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on 9 February 2004
The introductory pages of the book are very good, as I believe a reviewer has said before, but you will probably need more reason to buy a novel of approximately 700 pages. When I first started reading Barker with "The Hellbound Heart" and volume two of the "Books of Blood", one thing that impressed me about Barker was the density of ideas in his writing. His quality of prose has been unanimously meticulous throughout his ouvre hitherto, though the other aspect of writing - the density of ideas - which so impressed me about the first things that I had read of his are not up to the same standard in his novels, and this includes "The Great and Secret Show". Barker's novels are generally long, and I suppose that most people would expect the density of ideas to be lower in such a lenghty format, but I can't help but recall how much of the time I was tired by what seemed to be unnecessary or not entirely thoughtful chunks of writing in this novel, (and other Barker novels). I think that it would be quite a great exaggeration to say that Barker has the greatest imagination of any writer today, (as I have heard the like of uttered), but he undoubtedly makes the effort to convey some of his dreams onto the page. The ideas in "The Great And Secret Show" are largely weaker than in other novels of his like "Weaveworld" and "Coldheart Canyon", and I think that the number of main characters in combination with the tense of the writing - and the ratio of dialogue to description etc. - distance the reader from the novel. There were some quite well concieved ideas brought into the story by Barker, but much of the time the ideas seem contrived. He must have had some kind of ideas quota and cooked up a few rather makeshiftly and without much originality. The scene towards the end of the novel in which everyone goes into an underground cave system, is a little emotionless, (which was not the intention), and it seemed almost like plagiarism of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Centre of the Earth". The way that the conclusion is carried out is poor due to predictability and lack of enthusiasm and energy. I almost got the feeling that Barker was thinking about what he would do for his next novel towards the end of this. Despite all of these criticisms I think that "The Great and Secret Show" is a good story, and at several times in the book I really enjoyed reading it. Overall I think that the macro structure of the book was not very good, and the use of scale was not very good, but there were number of good ideas carried out well, and as is usual with Barker, the writing can be rewardingly honest and brutal. I didn't think that this book warranted a sequel.
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on 8 March 2014
Great book, very interesting. I actually preferred this to 'Weaveworld'. Once I started I couldn't put it down, it had me hooked from the start.
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on 4 January 2015
Its Clive Barker....
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on 29 June 2012
I first attempted to read this book some years ago when I was a bin lid but for reasons I cannot recall I never competed it. However, 2 weeks ago I started reading it on my Kindle and got all the way through it.

The story was really good and didn't seem to have a dull moment in it. I was quite engrossed from start to finish. The story-telling is vary good and the author certainly has a creepy imagination. ;-P

I have not read any of Mr Barker's other books and so cannot really compare it to any of his others.

I believe there is at least one sequel to this book which I shall look at reading sometime in the future.

Note on the Kindle version: No proplems at all with formatting, grammar or typos.
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on 11 June 2016
Great Story Adventure
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on 22 December 2000
To someone not familiar with Clive Barkers written works would think of him as a horror film writer;but this book and his many others shows that he has many more strings to his bow...
This is a brilliant Clive Barker fantasy novel, which like his other books,shows an almost Kafkan feel to it...that of an extraordinary situation happening to an ordinary surrounding.
It starts off as it means to go on,leaving the reader begging for more.The book itself makes you question your surroundings,and think about what is real and what isn't.
Anyone picking up this book not knowing Clive Barkers horror background,would see this as a visionary fantasy drama;tinged with both horrific and euphoric visions.It focuses on a place called "Quiddity";a place where humans go but three times in their lives;once at birth,once with true love and finally at death.
Quiddity is seen as a paradise,a dreamscape,that is privelliged to few,but craved by many.An evil force tries to unlock it's secrets and wreak havoc;this is opposed by a force for good,which is an ongoing conflict for the duration of the novel...
This is a hard book to describe;it is visionary,and like most visions,it is subject to an individuals imagination.I advise anyone curious enough to try it out,for an amazing read that will provoke the imagination days after putting it down...
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