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The H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus 1: At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels of Terror

H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus 1: At the Mountains of Madness - H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth I've already read the third Omnibus, and in comparison to that, this was a major disappointment. It had its good parts, naturally, but on the whole it was tedious, and not horrifying in the least, which is supposed to be the point. The prose is chocked full of adjectives and adverbs, which really slows the stories down. If half or two thirds of them had been cut out, all the stories would've been instantly better, because the plots and characters are actually quite good. It was much too labouring to read. The action was delayed too much, and it didn't add that creepy effect delay in horror is supposed to have.

Also, most of the stories were too repetetive, with the use of descriptive phrases attached to certain characters, and mentioned everytime they were mentioned. This can certainly have massive effect in a text, but here it just got too much, and I started skipping whole phrases and sentences because yesI do remember that the shrouded emperor should not be named, I get it now. No need to hammer it in. And, since he is building up a mythos with a lot of the same characters in all the stories, this necessarily got annoying after a while. I do realise however that Lovecraft probably didn't mean for a lot of his stories to be read at once, which is what made the repetitions tedious - as stand alone stories, or stories read at intervals, this would probably work much better.

The last two stories I did like quite a lot (they, together with The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, saved the book from getting just one star); "The Silver Key" and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key". They had the twists in plot which I love in Lovecraft's later prose, and were ok written. Ironically, in the last story, which is a collaboration with E. Hoffman Price, I liked the parts written by Price best, because they held true the the Lovecraftian storytelling, but had more action, and a lot less adjective/adverbs.

What was interesting though is how clear Lovecraft's advancement as a writer stood out, as I had already read his latest work in the third Omnibus. There, he excelled, and the stories were truly scary. I do hope the second Omnibus resembles that work more than his earliest.