Abarat Paperback – Aug 30 2011
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In Abarat, accomplished novelist and artist Clive Barker turns his considerable talents to creating a rich fantasy world for young adults.
Candy Quackenbush is growing up in Chickentown, Minnesota, yearning for more--which she finds, quite unexpectedly, when a man with eight heads appears from nowhere in the middle of the prairie, being chased by something really monstrous. And so begins Candy's epic adventure to the islands of the Abarat. Peopled by all manner of creatures, cultures, and customs, the islands should prove a fertile setting for the series that Barker is calling The Books of Abarat. Candy is an intelligent and likable heroine, and the many supporting characters are deftly drawn, both in words and in the full-color interior art that Barker has produced to give the story an extra dimension.
Abarat delivers the rich and imaginative storytelling that Barker is known for, with less overt horror or violence than one of his adult novels might include. However, Candy's path isn't an easy one, and young adult readers should appreciate the hard choices she must make along the way. --Roz Genessee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Like The Thief of Always, Barker's first book for children, this tale finds a bored protagonist venturing into a fantastical world. The novel begins with a rather cryptic scene of three women on a "perilous voyage... [emerging] from the shelter of the islands." The action then shifts to Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minn., who hates her life as the daughter of an alcoholic father and a depressed mother. One day, humiliated by her teacher, Candy skips out of school and heads for the prairie, where she stumbles on a derelict lighthouse and a creature with eight heads, John Mischief. The opening scene and the thrust of the novel gradually connect, as Candy begins an adventure to a mysterious archipelago called Abarat. Skilled at fantasy, Barker throws plenty of thrills and chills at readers. Candy becomes a pawn between Mischief and the man (Christopher Carrion, "Lord of Midnight") from whom Mischief has stolen something of great value. However, by the middle of the novel, readers may feel that Barker pulls out too many stops; he floods the pages with scores of intriguing characters and a surfeit of subplots (some of which dead-end, perhaps to be picked up in one of the three planned sequels). The author's imagination runs wild as he conjures some striking imagery ("Dark threads of energy moved through her veins and leaped from her fingertips" says one of the three women in the opening scene) and cooks up a surreal stew of character portraits (rendered in bold colors and brushwork, they resemble some of Van Gogh's later work). But much of the novel feels like a wind-up for the books to follow and, after this rather unwieldy 400-page ride, readers my be disappointed by so many unresolved strands of the plot. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
When I read "Coldheart Canyon" around this time last year, it seemed lacking, as if Barker's attention had been distracted by something. It's clear now that he was putting his energy into "Abarat."
This book is the beginning of a great adventure. I didn't want it to end. I put down the book and said, "Oh, it's over?," only to find that I'd gone thru 400 pages.
Can't wait till the next one.
Enter a world filled with darkness. A world fraught with peril at every corner, scenes beyond all imagining and magic so thick it could fill the air. Welcome to Abarat...
When we meet our heroine, 16-year-old Candy Quackenbush, for the first time, she is bored with her life in Chickentown USA. Her teacher hates her, her father is an abusive drunken brute, and her mother no longer stands up for Candy or herself when he beats them. Candy remembers often hiding in corners or waiting for the tears to stop after a fresh bout of abuse.
She knows that there must be more out in the world that what she has here; living in a town whose only claim to fame is that it is the largest exporter of chickens in the USA. Perhaps it is this boredom that leads to Candy telling off her teacher, Ms. Shwartz, for being an intolerable bully. Ms. Shwartz, in turn, hating Candy with every fibre of her person, sends her to the principal's office for expulsion from school. Except, Candy does not go to the principal's office.
It all started with the doodle...that doodle of waves that she drew in her notebook. Lines upon lines, all crashing and flowing into one another. Her feet and body recognize these waves, this doodle, and lead Candy towards a large open field far away from the town limits. In the centre of this field is a jetty and a skeletal light house, its beauty reduced to ruins. A lighthouse in the middle of Minnesota? Thousands of miles from the ocean? It is there that she meets John Mischief.Read more ›
Then Candy meets an extraordinary individual named John Mischief - actually, he's more than an individual because he has nine brothers, all of whom live on the horns of his head. The next thing she knows, Candy is running from a horribly malformed man named Mendelson Shape, hoping to reach a dilapidated lighthouse and light the light. The last thing you would expect to find in the plains of Minnesota is a light house, of course, but it marks the beginning of a story of high strangeness indeed. Candy succeeds in calling the Sea of Izabella, and its waters take her away from her own boring world to the fanciful world of the Abarat. Abarat is an archipelago made up of islands, each of which is a different hour of the day.Read more ›
The journey to Abarat is undertaken by the unassuming Candy Quakenbush, a 16-year-old girl from Chickentown, Minnesota. Driven to boredom, anger and frustration by her cruel teacher, alcoholic father and distracted mother, she becomes intrigued by the mysterious story of Henry Murkitt while writing a paper about the history of Chickentown (previously named Murkitt) for school. Henry died in a room of the Comfort Tree Hotel and left behind his sextant, used to navigate the seas. When her mean-spirited teacher rejects her school report, Candy flees the classroom and finds herself in a field outside of town mesmerized by a cloud and in front of a dilapidated lighthouse. Before she can solve the mystery of what a lighthouse is doing in the middle of Minnesota, she finds herself face to faces with a seven headed man. He/they tell her the lighthouse, amazingly, once sat on the coast of the sea of Izabella, a sea Candy, with some help from her new friends (yes, each head is a distinct personality) is able to summon after a dramatic battle with another monstrous creature.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I love this book and the whole Abarat series, however I'd forgotten to get this particular one in the large edition with the paintings inside. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ghost_x_J
I've read this book with 8 classes. It has never failed to consume their imaginations and capture their hearts. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Adam Hinton
This book is sooo amazing! I love to read great adventure stories in fantastic worlds...and this is one of the best! Read morePublished on Dec 19 2005
Once you start reading this book you cant turn it down, literally!
It has gone where no book has gone before, and Clive Barkers imagination must be amazing for him to write a... Read more
Just wanted to clear something (...)-- there is no gay/lesbian innuendo in this book. It's very clean and it's a FANTASTIC read! Very refreshing. Read morePublished on July 8 2004
This book is very strange but you will understand it after a bit. This is now one of my favorite books. I reccomend you to read it.Published on July 7 2004