The story 'Boy in Darkness' was so strange and uneven, that I'm not sure what to make of it.
It seems to be some kind of sarcastic religious allegory, but the satire doesn't seem to really fit into any specific recognizable pattern of what exactly it would be satirizing.
The Lamb would certainly seem, by its symbolism alone, to be a metaphor for Jesus Christ, but its attributes definitely don't correlate with that of Christ; if anything, rather with those of the older Judaic religions. (The forerunners of Christianity and source of the Old Testament.)
I kept wanting to put the lamb into the place of the Christian church, and the goat and the hyena into that of its main arms, being all the reformist churches and the Catholic church, but I couldn't quite figure out which would be which--the goat the reformed churches perhaps, and the hyena the Catholic church?
I can see what he did there, saying that religion takes away one's identity and individuality, and turning one into a blind sycophant (only, in this case it is the lamb that is blind?)?
But all those hyperbolic adjectives: "horrible" "evil" and so forth, not to mention the particularly excessive recurrence of the words "dead", "death" "deadly and "deathly"; pushes it rather over the top. Well, the adjectives I just mentioned will give you a good idea of the atmosphere in the story, winkety wink. I might add that it is rather purple in that sense too. Purply deathly prose, ha.
In any case, the comparisons that you need to make to see it as satire seem so incongruent and ill-fitting, that although I spotted a few good ideas there, I finally gave up on the religious metaphor idea and tried to see the story as a pure flight of fantasy.
..but even as a flight of fantasy the whole thing seemed rather...
Let's just say that the three stars are for the fact that it's pretty imaginative and that Peake throws around a few interesting ideas regarding the power of the mind and the power of humans' need for belonging, acceptance and recognition.
The Peake short story "Danse Macabre", that came along with my copy of Boy in Darkness, felt a lot more fun to read. Danse Macabre is something more in the Gothic horror ghost story tradition. It is clothed in the typical Gothic sense of drama, although Peake's sense of humor can be caught twinkling at you through the interstices with this one. I would award the latter story closer to four stars, for its entertainment value, and for being a quite excellent example of Gothic horror.