Weaveworld – Clive Barker
I actually picked up this book as a complete stranger implored me to read it. The stranger had seen my favourite books and authors and insisted I try Weaveworld as it featured in there top 5 list of all time. Having read the other four books on the list and enjoyed them all I didn’t hesitate in diving in.
Whilst, Clive Barker’s rare attempt at the fantasy genre (he is more well known for horror) does not make my all time top 5 books, it is a dam good read.
Weaveworld is about a young man disillusioned with his life. He has a steady job, and long term girlfriend and a comfortable life. The only thing is, he is a nagging feeling that there is something more out there. He is right.
Upon chance he stumbles upon a carpet, just an ordinary carpet to anyone looking casually, but a carpet containing the Fugue, the most terrific world for those that know how to look. Slowly, this world becomes unravelled and escapes into our own.
What follows is a desperate struggle between those inhabitants of the carpet to protect the world, those dark forces that wish to destroy it and of Cal and Suzzana, ordinary folk caught up in the war.
Normally, I dislike books about magic etc set in the modern world unless they are a certain type such as Mike Carey or Jim Butcher’s novels. I also have to confess, the idea of a whole other world contained within a carpet was very off putting. But I have to say the concept works very well and this is solely due to Clive Barker’s excellent story telling.
It would have been easy to become confused with all the different fantastical elements contained within the story, names such as the “Fugue” and the “Gyre” are alien to me (they are things rather than places by the way). However, at no point did I find the story hard to follow. Mr. Barker does a great job of introducing a variety of characters very quickly but this is done expertly. Every new character is introduced in a way that immediately links into the main plot of the story and so you are never struggling to remember who is who or what they are doing.
The characters themselves are all well portrayed. Clive Barker strikes the perfect balance of Cal and Suzanna’s disbelief at discovering the Fugue whilst also moving the story forward.
The characters possessing enchantments are also well done. The emphasis is on dying magic rather than everyone being too powerful. This makes them interesting as they are more afraid than confident in their abilities.
The main antagonists, Immacolotta and Shadwell are excellent. Both look to gain power but for good reasons rather than just because that is what villains do.
The real triumph in the book is the Fugue itself. The world is very well imagined. The creatures are fantastical but not too fantastical. The inhabitants in many ways are superior to humans in their way of thinking, but in some ways fail to demonstrate the most basic logic. The way the Fugue interacts with the human world is also well done. Humans are aware of strange occurrences but put these down to natural phenomena.
So why isn’t this book the greatest book ever? It doesn’t really have a down side but there are occasions when you think the story comes to a natural end yet there are still several hundreds of pages left. The villains either escape yet again or a new threat evolves. I wasn’t sorry this happened as I loved the book, but I would be lying if I sometimes thought “where could it go from here?” Having said that the ending is very well done and left me feeling satisfied. My rating: 9.1