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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 19 August 2006
Now I'm not a huge Barker fan, however I enjoyed the first Abarat book and was looking foward to the continuing adventures of Candy Quackenbush. "Days of Magic, Nights of War" covers another handful of Hours (islands) from the world of Abarat, giving Barker free reign to be inventive, bizzare and, as ever, all tinted with an edge of possibility. It's the hint of realism that keeps you reading - it's written in such simple narrative how can it not be fact. As far as the style, I found it to be less dark that the predecessor, and although Carrion and Mater were still very much present, their malign characterisations were not as strong. Without offering any spoilers, I believe Barker attempts to fix this at the end of the book. The book introduces a strong central story which will propel us through the next volume and has created the idea of a Tolkein "company" to fight the evil menaces from the Midnight Hour, almost all of the characters you'll already know from the first book. Overall, there's a great movie like feel to the book. It's fast paced, surreal and nightmarish in parts; a page-turner with lots of surprises and a brilliant plotted end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2006
Reading about the journey of Candy Quackenbush within the Abarat is a far more enjoyable experience in book two. The author expands his imagination as he introduces more unusual intelligent mythical creatures. It is a pleasure discovering the eccentricities of each new creature as Candy encounters the cultural differences within this archipelago. The reader is now familiar with the territory and eagerly turns the pages anticipating each new thrill, knowing at any point ... with a twist and turn of events ... there maybe an ambush by Christopher Carrion, Lord of Midnight or one of his subordinates. By now the reader knows he has an obsession with meeting Candy to discover the source of her magic. He is convinced she possesses special powers for having survived the many obstacles placed in her path and having vanquished highly formidable foes sent by him to capture her. The fact she has managed to evade him is an endless source of irritation which goads him further on his mission. One unexpected source of pleasure is reading how his grandmother Mother Motley has insight into his devious plans and even sees within his heart what his true desires are. She sews day and night helping to create an army of fiends to aide him during the anticipated battle to win control of the Abarat. More surprises await the reader as Christopher Carrion and his grandmother clash on personal levels when she hurls insults and hateful epitaphs at him. While one is rooting for Candy to overcome their evil intentions ... the reader can not but laugh at some of the clashes between these two villains. There is truth to the old adage 'divide and conquer'...
The friendly and unique creatures from book one, such as John Mischief, the other Johns and Malingo, become old pals as the reader is taken down meandering pathways exploring the islands and experiencing new adventures. New challenges await Candy and one of the most gratifying discoveries within the book is when Candy *finally* meets the dragon slayer ... Finnegan Hob who had been engaged to Princess Boa, who was killed by a dragon. This reader is very pleased the author did not cop out and create a romantic interlude betweeen these characters. Romance would diminish the natural appeal of the books which is reading about imaginary creatures, magical mythical islands where the heroine experiences excitement and adventure.
The author does a superb job of weaving together a common thread which ties the Abarat and Chickentown. It is heart warming to read how Candy, at last, communicates with her mom, dad and brothers. The mysterious connection between the three wise ladies from the Abarat who sailed on the Sea of Izabella and Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown Minnesota is revealed. The reader learns how and why Candy Quackenbush came to possess unique powers of magic ... This story is complete in all of its myriad of details and magic. It fully deserves 5 stars. Thanks to Allison for lending me book two. Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2004
The second book from Clive Barker's Abarat charts much the same course as with the first. The images and dazzling magical visions are once again there to enrapture and enchant and enthrall. It is also good to see that once again Clive Barker does not shirk from treating his younger readers with the intelligence and respect they deserve. The characters are all very well rounded (for a story aimed at younger readers) and though the base of the story is a struggle of good and evil the depth of the characters adds a good deal more to it than that. Perhaps this second book does suffer a bit however in being too much like the first. The story does, perhaps, flag for a time being too caught up in its own colourful magic, although it does build up to a very impressively gripping ending. It will be interesting to see if Clive Barker can fully carry the story through into the next book of the series, since there are signs here that perhaps the ideas are running thin and such a series cannot rely entirely on the wonders of its universe forever without injecting something new into the story. This still is though a very high quality tale for the younger reader and, fingers crossed, it will remain so as the story is continued.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2004
There are good things about this recent Clive Barker escapade: it is an extremely beautiful object, with rich illustrations (which seem lavish, but are very simple once you look at them closely) and Clive's inimitable abilty to draw bizarre and extraordinary creatures and make them more believable than human ones. However, there are also the usual failings: completely flat human characters that lack motivation and seemingly take otherwordly happenings with a pinch of salt, and a rambling narrative. The books ends as if it needs another three parts; and whilst I appreciate it does have them to come, it really should have had some completion within itself.
Clive is always heralded as a great shapeshifter of the literary world, but I am truly getting a little tired of the continuance of the, "ordinary person, finds doorway into another world - or worlds - and finds themselves to be the saviour of the world - or worlds" theme, as we saw in 'Imagica', 'Weaveworld', 'The Great and Secret Show', 'The Thief of Always', not to mention in subtler ways in 'Cabal' and 'The Hellbound Heart'. I suppose it would frustrate me less if he simply admitted that this previously mined vein of storyline - from Tolkien to C.S Lewis is what motivates his work primarily, instead of continually heralding himself as such an original with diversity in approach and premise with every novel. It's the same old same old, I'm disappointed to say.
I also would have liked to have seen this 'Book of Hours' Actually have something to do with time. Maybe this is something he explores further in the later volumes. And I would have preferred it if the islands actually had more coherent familiarities with the hours they were named after.
That said, the good things about it are the feel and smell of the book (It's like holding one big lush painting) and the finely drawn creatures and landscapes Clive can muster from his illustrious imagination.
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on 29 January 2015
I found this novel to be a satisfying and compelling follow up to Abarat, but it still had the same flaws as its prequel. Although the novel is rich in detail and highly imaginative, it felt as though it was lacking in terms of plot in places. The first half of the novel (although still enjoyable) was very repetitive, following Candy from island to island as she escaped a bounty hunter over and over again. This just felt like filler and did nothing to advance the overarching plot.

However, the second half of the story was far stronger and began to draw the threads together, finally revealing what Candy's importance to Abarat actually was. The climax built over much of the novel and was truly epic in execution, achieving a high level of drama and tension before rounding off in a satisfying ending. Although threads were left for the next novel, this book felt much more complete than Abarat did.

Characters are still fantastically strong and I was impressed by how much individuality the members of the huge secondary cast received. Malingo and Carrion, in particular, received a lot of development in this novel and I grew very attached to both of them as the story progressed. The biggest (and really only) disappointment that I had in terms of character was Candy herself, as her new found powers caused her to lose the weakness that I found charming in the previous book and start to stray a little too far into Mary Sue territory. While I don't necessarily object to growth of this kind, it just seemed to have no restrictions and developed purely to allow her to overcome obstacles that would otherwise stumble her.

Yet, despite these small gripes, the series remains enthralling for me and I can't wait to find out what happens next.
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VINE VOICEon 7 October 2011
Okay, regular readers of my reviews (Hi Mum) will know that I'm rereading the first two Abarat books to refresh my memory before hitting the third book in the series (Absolute Midnight(Books of Abarat 3)).

I think this was originally released in 2004. I remember at the time thinking two years between the first and second books was a long wait, but nothing so long as the wait for the third book. Ho hum.

Anyway, back to this book. We pick up the story a few weeks on from the end of the first (Abarat (Abarat Quartet 1)), with Candy and Malingo enjoying some time exploring the islands.

The story soon gets back into the thick of things though, with The Criss-Cross man persistently chasing Candy to get her back to his boss, The Lord of Midnight. From there, we have adventure, fighting, magic, murder and indeed mayhem throughout. Cracking.

The book is a bit darker than the first, but progresses the story nicely with a couple of twists thrown in for good measure. Candy's "hidden story" is revealed here, and although it really was obvious already, it was nice to get the reveal here rather than waiting until later in the series.

It's been nearly 10 years since this series began, and there's still a long way to go. It is however refreshing to know that not only was I able to remember a lot of what I was re-reading, but also that a second read did not dent my original view of how good these books were to read. I'd like to point out here, that these two books are the only books I've ever read more than once (not counting bedtime classics to the children such as Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy (Hairy Maclary and Friends), and Fox in Socks: Green Back Book (Dr. Seuss: Green Back Books), which of course get reread most nights).

I have to recommend these books. I think they are great. Go read them. Now.
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Published in 2004 by HarperCollins Publishers, this is the second installation to the ‘Books Of Abarat’ quartet of novels. Following on from the imaginative and beautifully magical first book of the Abarat, Barker has delivered a longer and just as inspiring novel running for a total of 491 pages. Within these pages are literally hundreds of oil paintings done by Barker himself, to illustrate the novel as the story unfolds. These illustrations are again printed in full colour on thick, glossy pages for the hardback version. With such beautifully painted illustrations it is very advisable to purchase this hardback version, rather than waiting for the release of the cheaper paperback.
Barker’s impressive imagination shows no bounds as you are taken on a journey through the wonderful world of his limitless mind. His characterization is superb, delivering such vivid and well-presented characters in the ever-unfolding twists and turns of the novel’s plot. The storyline is layered with many depths to each character involved, bringing out an overall richness to the book as a whole. The novel is suitable for adults and a younger audience who will both take a lot from the story in their own unique ways.
It is advisable to read the first book of the quartet before undertaking this adventure, but it is still possible to enjoy the book as a novel in its own right.
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on 10 April 2011
This is the second book in Clive Barker's Abarat series and I think he has created a wonderful and fantastical world in these stories. The world of Abarat is a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day.

In the first book we were introduced to Candy Quackenbush, a young girl from Chickentown, Minnesota who is swept away from Chickentown on a wave that takes her to the Abarat. In this second volume we find out more about Candy's links to the Abarat and the plans the forces of Night have for Absolute Midnight to descend on the islands.

My editions of these books are the hardcover, illustrated editions which each contain over a hundred paintings by Clive Barker of the islands and their inhabitants. I think the illustrations add so much to the story.

These are children's books so although there are elements of horror and the grotesque in the stories it is toned down to an appropriate level for older children. The books don't have the fast pace of other popular young adult books like The Hunger Games series but I enjoyed being able to take the time to discover the Abarat and the wonderful world Clive Barker has created.

Sadly, book 2 was released in 2004 and there has been a long wait for the third book which still isn't released. But if you can cope with a wait for book 3 I would recommend this series.
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on 20 July 2013
I loved Barker's earlier work, The Imajica, Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, but personally felt he went off the boil a bit with both Coldheart Canyon and Mister. B. Gone. The Abarat novel's have brought back that sense of wonder that was distilled through the earlier novels. The difference in the Abarat novel's is that the central character of the novel is a young woman, Candy. She is a superbly written character, someone who is instantly likable, and her Journey through the Island's of the Abarat bring's her joy, wonder and revelation's about her own self. This novel continue's her adventure with friend and companion Malingo and the plan's of The Lord of Midnight, Christopher Carrion and his insidious Grandmother begin to unfold. Carrion continue's to pursue Candy, he become's more infatuated with her, but struggle's to understand why, until a grandstand finale to this novel.
I have just started to read the third novel 'Absolute Midnight', but have recently discovered that the 4th novel will not be out until next year (The Price of Dreams) and a fifth novel will follow (The Eternal). So we will all have some time to wait before we all can complete Candy's journey.
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on 26 November 2004
It's not often I can honestly say I loved to read a story, but this is one of those times. Having thoroughly enjoyed the first book, I couldn't wait to get into the second (had to though, waiting for publishing).
I know it is aimed at a younger audience than Barker's usual output, but I think that is why I liked the story so much. The imagination factor is cranked up to dizzy heights without the usual dark madness that features in books like Imajica and Weaveworld. There is a refreshing lack of exploration of the characters' thoughts and feelings on every subject - which can tends to weight down adult reading. The main character of Candy does not agonise over her decisions, she just does it.
I was fascinated by the thread of Carrion - Boa - Candy, and the complete lack of conscience of Mater Motley.
Guess I'll just have to wait for the next book to find out how Candy gets on (sighs).
This will be a favourite read now.
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