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Abarat by Clive Barker
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Abarat (2003)

by Clive Barker

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The Day is words and rage.
The Day is order, earth and gold.
It is the philosophers in their cities;
It is the map-makers in their wastelands.
It is roads and milestones,
Is is panic, laughter and sobriety;
White, and all enumerated things.
It is flesh; it is revenge; it is visibility.

The Night is blue and black.
The Night is silence, poetry and love.
It is the dancers in their grove of bones,
It is all transforming things.
It is fate, it is freedom.
It is masks and silver and ambiguity,
It is blood; it is forgiveness;
It is the invisible music of instinct. - C.B.

Ah, Clive Barker. He rarely disappoints. ( )
  KellyWolf | Aug 13, 2016 |
Clive Barker's Abarat blew me away. I will say, if you’re going to read this, make sure you read the hardcover edition with illustrations by the author. Barker’s brightly coloured, bold and striking paintings really enhance the experience - they are gorgeous, fantastical pieces, reminiscent of William Blake or Chagall. As for the story, it is highly imaginative, dreamlike and bizarre, at times highly reminiscent of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, albeit with a much darker, villainous side, as well. It’s a fantasy story in the tradition of children’s fantasy stories - crazy, bizarre and episodic - not so structured as a “high” fantasy novel.

Candy Quackenbush lives in Chickentown, Minnesota, an incredibly boring, stifling, small town surrounded by nothing but prairie. Her father is an abusive drunk, her mother depressed, her teacher seems maliciously intent on crushing any spark of creativity and there is nothing for miles around . . . but walking in the prairies she comes across the ruins of a tower that looks like it was once a lighthouse. But who would build a lighthouse hundreds of miles from the ocean?

And it begins . . .

An incredibly strange fellow by the name of John Mischief - who has heads coming out of the antlers on his head - appears and tells Candy how to light the ancient beacon and summon the Izabella Sea. . .Candy is swept away to the fantastic archipelago, the Abarat, made up of twenty-five islands, one representing each hour of the day, plus the mysterious Twenty-Fifth, Odom’s Spire, being Time Out of Time.

On the Abarat there is magic, fantastic creatures and adventures. However, there is also a sinister side. On the Island of Midnight, known as Gorgossium the Carrion family plots war against the Daylight Islands. Christopher Carrion is an evil magician, who wears a mask full of liquid nightmares. He quickly becomes obsessed with Candy and plots to kidnap her.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, but perhaps(?) equally as evil, is Rojo Pixler, a businessman who’s using science to destroy the magic of the islands and replace it all with his vision of glittering technology and fierce control. He’s already turned one of the islands into his Commexo City, and his mascot, the ever-smiling Commexo Kid, appears all over Abarat, convincing people to turn to his “Panacea” rather than their local healers and shamans.

As this is the first book, we are really only introduced to these characters and concepts. Candy is taken on a wild ride through this crazy place - and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Candy is likeable and does her best to help out those she meets. Her kindness is often rewarded by making friends and allies, though sometimes she is tricked and finds herself in bad situations. She is not stupid though, and she is careful to observe the people around her. She catches on quickly to the whimsical nature of the Abarat and though she is nice, she’s not a pushover, either and stands up for what she believes.

This book will surely grip young readers, but is fabulously enjoyable for adults, as well, so long as they’re prepared to let go and allow the magic of the tale to sweep them away. I can’t wait to see more of this world and characters, and will definitely be getting my hands on Days of Magic, Nights of War and Absolute Midnight. ( )
  catfantastic | Jun 25, 2016 |
This book is the first book of the YA series "The Books of Abarat", written and illustrated by the brilliant Clive Barker himself.
The series includes the following 5 fantasy novels:
> Abarat (2002)
> Days of Magic, Nights of War (2004)
> Absolute Midnight (2011)
> Kry Rising (work-in-progress)
> Until The End of Time (forthcoming)

In the first book, we're introduced to Candy, a lonely bored girl who decides to explore a brand new world: the exotic and fantastical islands of Abarat, where each island in Abarat represents an hour of the day and is populated with the most different creatures.
There, she is hunted down by Lord Midnight, who has a mysterious interest on her, but she has no idea what kind of dark fate she just brought to herself.

Abarat is Clive Barker's "children's tale" that has very little of "children" and a lot of dark fantasy & exotic creatures in the colorful yet dark world of Abarat islands.
It's darker than Neil Gaiman's books, but can be placed together with his Coraline.
It's both Barker's play with Surrealism and his gift to younger readers who, after reading this, will surely want to get a taste of the real thing whenever they can. =D ( )
1 vote Hanike | Mar 17, 2016 |
Imaginative and surreal, this book somehow failed to capture my interest.
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Didn't finish this, was a bit strange.
  LindsayCal | Feb 15, 2016 |
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Epigraph
I dreamed a limitless book,
A book unbound,
Its leaves scattered in fantastic abundance.

On every line there was a new horizon drawn,
New heavens supposed;
New states, new souls.

One of those souls,
Dozing through some imagined afternoon,
Dreamed these words.
And needing a hand to set them down,
Made mine.

-- C. B.
Dedication
To Emilian David Armstrong
First words
The storm came up out of the southwest like a fiend, stalking its prey on legs of lightning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Historien begynder det kedeligste sted i verden: Chickentown, USA. Her bor pigen Candy Quackenbush, som er godt træt af sin familie, sine venner og skolen. Hun vil væk. Og det kommer hun så sandelig også. Ud af det blå ruller en bølge, og anført af en mand ved navn John Splid, springer Candy i de oprørte vande og føres væk. Hvortil? Til ABARAT: et mægtigt øhav, hvor hver ø er en forskellig time i døgnet, fra Det Store Hoved, der ligger i det sælsomme skumringsfarvand omkring Otte om Aftenen, til de solbeskinnede underværker på Tre om Eftermiddagen, til de mørke rædsler på Gorgossium, Midnatsøen, hvor selve Midnatsfyrsten, Christopher Carrion, regerer. På sin rejse får Candy nye venner og forræderiske fjender - mekaniske insekter og kæmpemæssige natsværmere, mirakelkatte og muddermænd, en djævelsk troldmand og hans skrækslagne tjener - og noget begynder at dæmre for hende. Hun har været her før. Og denne gang er hun udset til at redde Abarat for den ondskab, der truer med at ødelægge Abarats forunderlige verden.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060596376, Mass Market Paperback)

In Abarat, accomplished novelist and artist Clive Barker turns his considerable talents to creating a rich fantasy world for young adults.

Candy Quackenbush is growing up in Chickentown, Minnesota, yearning for more--which she finds, quite unexpectedly, when a man with eight heads appears from nowhere in the middle of the prairie, being chased by something really monstrous. And so begins Candy's epic adventure to the islands of the Abarat. Peopled by all manner of creatures, cultures, and customs, the islands should prove a fertile setting for the series that Barker is calling The Books of Abarat. Candy is an intelligent and likable heroine, and the many supporting characters are deftly drawn, both in words and in the full-color interior art that Barker has produced to give the story an extra dimension.

Abarat delivers the rich and imaginative storytelling that Barker is known for, with less overt horror or violence than one of his adult novels might include. However, Candy's path isn't an easy one, and young adult readers should appreciate the hard choices she must make along the way. --Roz Genessee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:13 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota, journeys to the Abarat, an archipelago filled with strange wonders, and has a curious revelation: she has been here before, and it is her responsibility to save this mysterious place from the evil forces that threaten it.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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