The Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft – An Audiobook Review



The only audio edition of Necronomicon authorized by the H. P. Lovecraft Estate!

Originally written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and ’30s, H. P. Lovecraft’s astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction, and cosmic terror that are as powerful today as they were when first published. This tome brings together all of Lovecraft’s harrowing stories, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, just the way they were when first released. It will introduce a whole new generation of readers to Lovecraft’s fiction, as well as attract those fans who want all his work in a single, definitive volume.


Author: H.P. Lovecraft

Narrator: Various

Publisher: Blackstone Audio

Run Time: 21 hrs 1 min

Audio Release Date: 14/08/2014

My Rating of ‘Necronomicon’: 2 out of 5

Purchase: Audible UKAudible US



The Necronomicon was one of those titles that I just fully expected to love. I love all things dark, disturbing, horrory etc … and Lovecraft is one of those names that gets bandied about in the same sentence as the word ‘classic’.

What I expected and what I got were two very different things. I expected to love the stories within the Necronomicon and be chilled by some seriously good cosmic horror. What I got was a collection that I borderline hated, was bored to tears by and did not feel the slightest bit unnerved, let alone chilled.

I’ll start off with simply saying that Lovecraft is not a very good writer. He has great ideas and an unimaginable amount of talent for turning said ideas into a boring story. I have heard people say ‘he’s just wordy, that’s his style’. Yes, he is wordy. Very wordy. That isn’t normally a problem for me. What makes it a problem is when a wordy author has no skill for telling a dynamic tale. The parts where things were happening, felt like they were being told in such a way that nothing was actually happening. To put it another way; I wanted moving pictures and got cave paintings.

One good thing I will say about Lovecraft; is that although I felt 90% of the stories were just uninteresting, I feel as though I got something from all of them. After each one I could tell the story was written with a great idea in mind (and they were great ideas that kept me thinking) they were just executed in a terribly poor way that did the ideas no justice whatsoever.

A lot of the time, I feel the narrators were equally to blame. They were such a dull, morose, blandly boring bunch. One or two really tried and made an effort, but the majority read like they had been told monotonous and dull was what they should be aiming for.

As other reviewers have often pointed out, this is NOT a complete collection (mercifully so as it would have taken even longer to wade through if it was) as several stories are not included.

Even though it was only twenty-one hours or so in length, it felt like almost double that. I genuinely stopped after the sixth hour, deleted it from my audible app and vowed not to waste any more time on it. I then remembered I had also vowed to not quit on any book (read or listened). So I soldiered on and experienced what it is to feel as though you have passed fifty hours in only twenty-one.

As I said above, the ideas behind the stories were great and, not all were written in a dull way. There were a handful that were quite enjoyable and it is these few stories, and the good ideas behind the bad ones, that pulled this from a one star rating up to a two.

I will say that I genuinely feel the best parts of the Necronomicon were the cover (it’s pretty cool) and the feeling of excitement I had before hitting ‘play’ for the first time. Most everything after that just felt like one, long, never-ending nosedive.

16 thoughts on “The Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft – An Audiobook Review

  1. I’d say by many metrics, Mr. Lovecraft does/did break many of the widely-held rules of writing, both during his time and now.

    I personally find myself willing to overlook this and enjoy his use of language, his situations of intellectual but generally ineffectual protagonists caught up in cosmic horrors they can’t hope to survive (as human or sane) or even fully understand, for the most part. I also find his depiction of the sublime to be wonderful. But that is just me. As they say, one of the great things about the house of Literature is it has many windows. 🙂

    Although my experience with Lovecraft differs from yours, I did enjoy reading your review and found your points interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are quite welcome. 🙂

        Yes, I also found some of his stories a lot more fun than others too. For instance, I also liked “Shadow Over Innsmouth” quite a bit, and although I liked some aspects, particularly the sense of mystery and antiquity that he evoked in “At the Mountains of Madness,” I thought he could have accomplished everything he did in that story in about a third the space. I found it simultaneously delicious and tedious.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mountains of Madness also wasn’t in this. Herbert West Reanimator was good. As was Rats in the Wall (although I wish I had known the name of the cat … I wouldn’t have had it blaring out in my workshop for all passersby to hear if I did).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hahaha, yeah, I wrote a paper for an undergraduate English class about “Rats in the Walls” and that did sort of come up for me as well, lol. 🙂

        I agree, the Herbert West movie was a lot of fun. When I see stuff like that or play the Lovecraft-inspired board games or see the plush Cthulhu toys and so on I feel a little sad for Lovecraft and wish he could have lived to have seen the fame that came his way and perhaps enjoyed some of the money as well, possibly.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 out of 5 for a Lovecraft??? Purge this Heretic!!!! Lol great honest review mate. I am a fan of lovecraft but I have had many problems with some stories. I have his full collection on my phone but have not had time to get through them all. I like to keep his stories for my short story reviews(i have only done a few so far). Take the time in which these stories were written though and take into account what was going on at the time and I tend to forgive him for being wordy and boring… not saying you should, your opinions are well versed

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m a fan of people from that time and before it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Agatha Christie etc … all great storytellers and writers. I just don’t feel Lovecraft ranks anywhere in the same league as them.

      I did like some of the stories and, as I said, feel like I took something away from each story. I just think he’s an awfully untalented writer 😦

      Its a shame, as this was something I had been looking forward to more than anything.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree, Lovecraft had truly amazing ideas, but wasn’t overly deft in developing them into a narrative 😉 Still, I tend to be more forgiving toward the geniuses than toward the crafters – I’ll take great ideas over skilled writing most of the time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the experience of listening to it might have actually been worse than reading, tbh 😉 Still, I’m glad that you’re happy, if not because of reading, then because of not reading Lovecraft 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Damn, that’s been one of the books I’ve always thought was going to be my introduction to Lovecraft but… I am doubting it very much now… yikes… I am a sucker for punishment sometimes though and my curiosity will get the better of me, if I come across it in the library I shall give it a try but keep my expectations super low…

    Liked by 1 person

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