With the release of ABSOLUTE MIDNIGHT this week, I decided I would give the first two books of the Abarat series a re-read. In the case of ABARAT, this is my third time through.
If not the most exciting story, nor Barker's best writing, it displays such a fantastic breadth of imagination, it's nearly impossible to, well, imagine!
With Abarat, the author has created a world unlike anything you have encountered before in the pantheon of fantasy fiction. And make no mistake, it is the world, so much more than the story itself, that shines here. Abarat is a place of bizzarities, of strange folk, and even stranger creatures.
Besides Candy Quackenbush, the story's heroine, you'll meet the master thief John Mischief and his brothers; the terrifying bounty hunter Mendelson Shape and the Criss Cross Man. Then there are the Big Bad's, Rojo Pixler and Christopher "The Lord of Midnight" Carrion, and his mother Mater Motley with her evil army of stichlings.
And that's just scratching the surface. I could tell you about Abraham Hollow, and the Fugit Brothers, but that might drive you insane!
It's probably not a good idea to even mention the monstrous Requiax. Oh, and dragons? Yes, here there be dragons!
Abarat is full of dangerous wonders and extraordinary delights. All of which are beautifully rendered in Clive Barker's colourful paintings which decorate this marvellous book.
Unfortunately, the edition that is readily available to the public in light of the release of ABSOLUTE MIDNIGHT does not contain a single piece of art. A shame, as they are truly fantastic. If you can wrangle up a copy of the original addition of the hardback, I promise you won't be sorry.