Abarat Hardcover – 2 Sep 2002
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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 GuardianSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Clive Barker has succeeded in creating a universe, which although reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz and (most definately) Alice in Wonderland, manages to bring something new to the table. The story is packed with characters stranger and sometimes darker than we've ever really encountered before. Barker's dark and mischievous edge really lends the fable a suspenseful tone, while his usual magically inspired imagination takes us into a world full of wonder, mystery, magic and danger.
This is a beautiful book, in all respects, richly illustrated in full colour by Clive's own unique paintings. Get the hardback version while you can - not only is it pure joy to hold in your hand, it could well turn out to be worth something in years to come!
A really good, gripping, traditional fantasy tale... with something to drag those of ALL ages along on a truly fantastical journey. Let's just hope that Disney can really do this justice - the rights have already been snapped up in a record breaking deal (More than enough to knock the glasses from a certain smug little school-going wizard's face!)
I'm already looking forward to the next installment in what is already shaping up to be a quartet of stunning and beautiful books...
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!
"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.Read more ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic Barker - I hadn't read any for about 20 years and realised I was missing it madly. Bought 6 around Jan 2016 - all around 800 pages and they kept me going through... Read morePublished 3 days ago by davem
I'm gutted. I loved this book when I was younger, so was very happy to find a kindle edition. But although the text is still very good, I feel that without the lovely illustrations... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Clive Barker in good FORM. Not his best,but still enjoyablePublished 4 months ago by pat carter a.carter
1 Star for this edition,not the book!
Don't buy the library binding edition,and possibly any reprint right now. Read more
The master imagineer takes us on a hell of a ride with the Abarat series. Give it a whirl if you want the flaps of your head and mind opening up with a literary screwdriver. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Craig G