Clive Barker
Abarat Cover



I have found that there are certain things one can expect when reading a Clive Barker novel. Mr. Barker is not only an author, but an artist as well and he brings this artistic eye to his writings. His descriptions of scenes and characters are designed to create an artists' picture in the readers mind. I have found this to be especially true in his Young Adult novel Abarat: The First Book Of Hours. Mr. Barker's best skill is the visuals his writings create. He is able to breathe life into the creatures of The Abarat with this skill.

The heroine of our story is Candy Quackenbush, a young woman growing up in the Minnesota town of Chickentown. After getting in trouble for a project she did for a hated teacher, Candy feels compelled to run away from school. She finds herself in the middle of the prairie. There she meets the amazing John Mischief and his seven brothers, eight brothers on one body, and Mendelson Shape, an evil creature chasing John and his brothers. In the events that follow Candy calls forth the magical "Sea of Izabella" And thus begins Candy's adventures in Abarat.

Abarat is the story of the magical series of Islands found on another plain of existence. These islands are known collectively as "The Abarat", which is made up of 25 islands each representing one hour in the day, and the 25th island representing the "25th hour", or time out of time. A magical island in a land of magical islands. When I say the island represents the hour, I mean that on the Island of Yebba Dim Day, the first Island Candy lands on, it is always 8pm.

Clive Barker is a master at making monsters that are not always evil, and pushing the boundaries of what is evil. When hearing of Christopher Carrion, the lord of Midnight's back story of unrequited love for the Princess, it was hard for me, as the reader, not to feel sympathy. I mean who has never loved someone and been rejected by them? This does not negate the fact that he wants to bring perpetual darkness to all of Abarat. And call forth beings called "Requiax" who seem to me to be some sort of super evil beginnings (Think the Titans from Greek mythology) who can only survive in utter darkness.

The development of the scenes and visuals are defiantly the stand out in this novel. As is usually the case in Mr. Barker's novels the non-human creatures that inhabit this novel are the best characters in the novel. But don't be fooled, Clive Barker just loves to play with the idea of what is monstrous on the outside and a beautiful outside hiding a monster on the inside. This hold true for this novel also. Take for example the character Rojo Pixler, Candy describes him as the most human creature she has met in Abarat, but he is systematically putting a strangle hold of power over the Islands of Light, and is trying to destroy magic in Abarat, to make the citizens dependent on him. I see great and evil things from this character in the future.

All and all Abarat: The First Book of Hours was an amazing introductory novel in what appears to be a dark and entertaining young adult series from Clive Barker.