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Abarat Hardcover – 2 Sep 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (2 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002259524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002259521
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. His earlier books include The Books of Blood, Cabal, and The Hellbound Heart. In addition to his work as a novelist and playwright, he also illustrates, writes, directs and produces for stage and screen. His films include Hellraiser, Hellbound, Nightbreed and Candyman. Clive lives in Beverly Hills, California

Product Description

Amazon Review

With Abarat, Clive Barker begins an ambitious sequence of fantastic novels aimed at a young audience as well as his adult fans. There is as much sense of threat to the world here as there was in the horror novels with which he made his name. But the worst almost never happens here--and there is whimsy and charm along with a carefully judged and measured sense of the nightmarish. Young Cindy Quackenbush finds herself transported from the boredom of a Mid-Western chicken-packing town to the 25 islands of the Abarat--islands torn between the evil magician Christopher Carrion and the equally power-hungry rational capitalist Pixler. Each of the islands has a nature determined by an hour of the day--part of the pleasure of the book is seeing how Barker works this conceit out as Cindy travels from peril to peril. The book is literally a book of hours--in the Medieval sense; it's lavishly illustrated with over a hundred of Barker's striking paintings--much of its imagery was conceived of pictorially and then reinvented as story. This is a fine book--it is also a beautiful and charming object. --Roz Kaveney


"You're eager to love this beautiful, heavy, richly coloured slab of a book. And, thankfully, it is easy to love" -- The Guardian

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sutherland VINE VOICE on 23 Aug 2004
Format: Paperback
It's a strange hybrid. Alice in Wonderland meets The Neverending Story.
Only more visceral.
Take your classic Clive Barker storytelling from say, Weaveworld or The Great and Secret Show. Cut down the length (Nowhere near the length of Imajica), take out any ultra-gorey-barker-touches, adapt slightly for children, add usual colourful and wonderful characters and there you have Abarat. Fundamentally, it feels like a children's book for adults. It's cheery, much less dark and serious than many other of his books, and essentially works very well.
Starting with the premise of a bored heroine in a boring town, who wanders out of the city and helps a many-headed master criminal (albeit a very pleasant and polite one) escape from an evil assassin. From there she discovers the Abarat, where things are far from boring...
It's an excellently written novel, and the first in a small series (the next of which is published in September). Fantastic!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "paranoiax" on 27 Nov 2002
Format: Hardcover
Abarat is firstly, on the surface, a beautiful book. As an object it is an amazing work of art, the heaviness of the pages, the evocative and slightly solvent smell of it, the amazing paintings. Even without reading any of the words this book is wonderful. Barker's illustrations add a great sense of atmosphere and bring some of the weird descriptions that might be glossed over by a careless reader to magnificent life.
In Abarat, Barker revisits his persistant theme of strangely familiar hard-to-reach worlds that he used in Weaveworld and Imagica. Barker has a great sense of the naming of things, evoking in a word the enitre personality of a person place or race. Just like in Imagica it is filled with wonderful fantastic places and people, and the ride through Barker's imagination is once again, brilliant.
Disappointngly, this book concludes nothing, and one is left feeling slightly deflated when the end comes and all the tying-up still seems miles away. Admittedly this is the first book in a series, but we know from the Books Of The Art (the Great and Secret Show, etc.) that Barker is not necessarily going to get around to the next part for a while.
Still, this is truly a return to form for Barker, after a run of forgettable and in some cases unreadable material. A dive back into the glorious sea of the imagination of a genius - and this time, with pictures!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Rathar on 2 Oct 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book within three days and Barker has lost nothing of his amazing imagery which he uses to sculpt out of dreams and imagination, new worlds for us to visit.
True it's a book for young adults, but as an adult myself I really enjoyed the story and found John Mischief and his brothers to be one of the most amusing characters to appear within fiction...A person with several heads on his antlers that each have their own characteristics and personalities makes for interesting reading when they are sorting a problem out or are just arguing...
The Abarat itself is a fantastic world to visit and to meet new creations and peoples and not be lost in alot of horror gore and bloodletting is quite refreshing. The paintings within the book are exceptional artwork and it helps those that may not be as visually inclined to see as Barker sees; but he helps them along with a few brushstrokes here and there to guide them on their way so as they don't miss any details within this adventure.
I for one can't wait for the next volume in the Books of Abarat.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 April 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before reading this book, the only other Clive Barker book I had read was "Weaveworld" (highly recommended). As I read "Abarat", I was struck by the similarities and the differences between the two books.
"Abarat" is actually classed as a book for young adults and I think it is bacause of this that the horror is significantly different to Barker's books for adults. Barker could be said to have toned down the horror, however there are the usual weird characters which you would expect from a horror / fantasy book. And as usual, some of these are evil and some are not. The characters of this book are perhaps not quite so twisted as some of Barker's others (those in Hellraiser for example).
The idea behind "Abarat" echoes (as a few other reviewers have pointed out) some of Barker's other works. The young heroine of the book, Candy, finds a way into another world; although throughout the book, she feels as though she has been there before. The world she has now become involved in is called the Abarat; it is an archipelago of islands, each one representing a different hour of the day (although this world has 25 hours). This world is ruled by the Prince of Midnight, Christopher Carrion. Once he discovers that Candy is within the Abarat, with a possession he wants, it seems only inevitable that she will fall into his hands. This is a very brief outline of the story. I don't want to give too much away.
As you can expect, Candy makes friends and enemies along the way. Although this book can be read by yoiung adults, there are many layers to this story. For example, Barker tries to explore how good and evil figure when love or desire may also become involved.
I have to agree that Barker's main accomplishment with this book is the creation of Carrion. He is a complex dark character.
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