Abarat by Clive Barker

        I am in a fiction writing class, and like all the past writing classes I have ever taken we are asked to bring in first lines from books that we really love. I always pick a line from this book because for some reason the teachers love the image of a storm crawling on lightening legs. They don't really like the rest of the books I read... oh well. But as I was reading the opening line to this book in class I realized that I keep using this book over and over but it has been at least 7 years since I have read it, and that didn't seem very fair to the story. So I decided to dust it off and take a shot. I felt that I passed through the YA reading phase of my life very quickly, but this book always seems so cool to me, it is so crazy!

         Candy Quackenbush is a troubled yet good-natured Minnesotan girl, but when she ventures into an empty field one day and meets John Mischief, a creature with seven extra talking heads on his antlers, she's rendered awestruck and knows she's bound for a heap of adventure.
         Soon the two are narrowly escaping a dark hunter sent by the evil Lord Carrion and diving into the Sea of Izabella, a vast ocean containing 25 islands that stand for each hour of the day, plus a mystical Twenty-Fifth Hour.
         As Candy embarks on her adventure throughout this mind-bending archipelago, she visits the average citizens of Yebba Dim Day, joins a clan of tarrie-cats and slothlike Malingo to battle the dastardly Kaspar Wolfswinkel, and even gets a horrific taste of the Twenty-Fifth Hour itself.
Click to view the book on Amazon: Abarat

          Before we start I just want to state that any pictures I put in this post belong to Clive Barker. Ok, I don't even know how to start with this one. I knew I had a reason to love this book so much. It. Is. Amazing.

          I've always loved fantasy, but this book takes fantasy to a whole new level. And I think out of all the adventures I have read over the years, if I got to live one, this is the one I would pick. Half of the stuff is totally absurd. I am not sure how is does it but Clive Barker must go to strange beautiful places when he write because the things he comes up with blows my mind. Like, just the idea of The Abarat itself: An archipelago of islands where each island represents an hour of the day, except for the 25th hour which is like a mystery hour. And when I say that the islands represent their hours, they really do! They have the lighting and the weather of that island.

          Another cool thing is that the books are illustrated by Clive barker with these amazing paintings. Ok, but basically in this book Candy Quackenbush lives a boring tedious life in Chickentown, and she can't stand it. Then one day a doodle gets stuck in her head and leads her into the fields on the outskirts of town where she notices that there are sea shells and the remains of fish and drift wood laying in the grass. Upon realizing this she sees the Johns, who are 8 brothers that share one body, the main brother John Mischief has antlers on his head that his other brothers live on. Well, he talks Candy into helping him escape an assassin, and in doing so she calls in the Sea of Izabella, which is this mysterious (possibly sentient?) ocean that is the mother of the Abarat. Well Candy dives into the sea and is swept off into this brand new world where there are creatures that people only dream of. There she is pursued by Lord Carrion, the prince of midnight, who rules over Gorgossium: the hour of midnight. She makes friends with a geshrat and starts to learn magic. And she feels as if she belongs in the Abarat.

    Carrion       (left)
Malingo the Geshrat  (Right)

         This book and its characters have a sneaky way of popping up in my head throughout the day. I can't stop thinking about them. When I first started the book I was kinda like, what is going on. I read some of it out loud to my boyfriend and he told me it didn't make sense. And I think that is one of the things I like most about Abarat. They do have rules, but to me it seems The Abarat thrive on chaos and things that don't make sense. 

        I love the characters too. I like Candy and how nothing really phases her and while the John brothers kind of freak me out I think they are extremely entertaining. Malingo is the sweetest being. Now as far as bad guys go it is set up for Carrion to be the bad guy, but as the story goes on and you see more of his life it is hard to see him as truly a bad guy, there are bigger powers at play and he has been a victim of them as well. (As the books go on I find I like him more and more). The absurdity of the story is what keeps you going, obviously the writing is amazing, otherwise this one be an extremely hard book to read, but I couldn't put it down and I feel like you guys will feel the same.

         Go read the book, then come back and read this! May contain spoilers!

         The 25th hour totally freaks me out. If women there are so important why are they being held like prisoners and what is up with those freaky clown brothers? That freaked me out more than anything Carrion did.  Though Carrion's nightmares are scary. People die from them, it gives me chills but i love it so much. This first book is more of an introduction into this world and the story really picks up in the next two books. This book lays a lot of the ground work.

        There was also some beautiful "Abaratian" poetry in the book that I just loved reading. I am not a big poetry person, I like it and I can write it, but I usually pick to read other things, but I stopped to read the poetry in this book and I loved it. Gosh, I really wish there was a portal or something that could take me into this world. I give this book a 5 out of 5. I will definitely be reading it again. I love it!

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