ABARAT by Clive Barker

ABARAT

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

A new series revives the almost-extinct genre of the fantasy travelogue. Candy Quackenbush is fed up with her life of “boredom, violence, and tears” in unbearably ordinary Chickentown, Minnesota. After a typically brutal school day, she runs away to the prairie, only to fall into a most extraordinary adventure. Helping the improbable John Mischief (whose seven brothers all grow from horns on his head) escape creepy Mendelson Shape, Candy magically summons the Sea of Izabella, which links our world to the archipelago of Abarat, where the chief islands are each governed by a single Hour of the day. Candy easily finds friends and guides among its fantastical inhabitants, including Samuel Klepp (publisher of the indispensable Almenak) and the downtrodden slave Malingo; but she also accumulates powerful enemies in the dastardly wizard Wolfswinkel, the ambitious tycoon Pixler, and Shape’s terrifying master Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight. Eventually Candy realizes that her journey is no accident, but part of a mysterious destiny. Abarat is an intriguing creation, deserving of comparison to Oz. Filmmaker and adult-novelist Barker (Coldheart Canyon, 2001, etc.) pours out an utter phantasmagoria, ruled by the logic of dreams. Yet there is a peculiar lifelessness to all this imaginative fecundity; fascinating in its minutiae, the world fails to cohere about a compelling narrative or charismatic central character. Like the dozens of illustrations by the author, it dazzles with color and detail, but on closer inspection proves curiously flat, all surface and no depth. Still, with three promised sequels on the way, many readers will, like Candy, want to “trust to Mama Izabella” to take them somewhere worth the trip. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-028092-1
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002




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