by Clive Barker

Other authorsClive Barker (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2002

Call number



HarperCollins (2002), Edition: 1st, 432 pages


Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota, one day finds herself on the edge of a foreign world that is populated by strange creatures, and her life is forever changed.

User reviews

LibraryThing member 30oddyearsofzan
This is the first Clive Barker I've read (I'm just too much of a wimp to be a proper horror reader), and the available Abarat sequels have gone straight onto my want list. Yes, the conclusion of book one is blatant cliffhanger-for-sequel, but when the world explored is as lavish as this one, who
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cares? You're happy to get more.

Candy is an appealing heroine, sensible and resourceful, while still naive and full of wonder and prone to mistakes. Barker describes her allies and enemies with equal sympathy - while we know our villains must be stopped, we know they have their own cares and frustrations.

Barker's lavish paintings are an added bonus, aiding our visualisation of this fantastic world while still leaving some things to the imagination. Glyphs, for example - flying machines made of pure magic - are as yet tantalisingly unillustrated...
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LibraryThing member QueenAlyss
I was a little thrown off by this book when I saw the cover. My mum bought it for me and I just kept it in a basket because I had no interest in it. Then I had read all my books in my room, except this one, and decided to read it. I saw the cover and thought it was interesting. Now, I love it and
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when I finished it, the secound book was about to come out, so of course I was over ecstatic! Definitly intersting. I love how Abarat upside down spells Abarat and how the oil paintings were made before the book!
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LibraryThing member hagelrat
I love Clive Barker, he is an awesome author, dark, complex and subtle plots blending from extreme horror to fantasy with a dark touch. My favourite Barker trait is that no matter what supernatural or plain unnatural beings are involved it is the humans, or at the least the human aspects that
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contain the real good and evil .It's at the moments when his protagonists are most like us that we are most appalled and awed by them, and that's a real talent. The Abarat books are childrens/young adult books, the lead character is a young girl and she is drawn out of dull old Chickentown into a strange world with an island for each hour fo the day. Quite aside from the fact that i know drive my fiance mad with the "hamster tree" song every christmas, these books are witty, affectionate, entertaining and dark! I recommend the hardcovers, i wouldn't normally but Barker's art does add something to these books. Go, buy, read, enjoy!
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LibraryThing member dbolahood
My relationship with Clive Barker's books tends to run hot and cold. I will either finish the book and it will automatically become one of my favourites or I will enjoy it at first but at some point over the course of my reading it becomes tedious and I have trouble finishing it. Well Abarat is a
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first for me I enjoyed it and I finished it but it's not one of my favourites.

Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown Minnesota is bored. She is sick living in an unhappy home, sick of the endless boring prairies and not to mention she HATES chickens. After a disagreement at school over an assignment about Chickentown (but not about chickens) Candy just gets up and walks out of class and out of Chickentown. Once outside the town Candy meets an interesting individual with eight heads (all named John) who gives her a key and charges her with keeping it safe from the creature who has been chasing him or them. Candy jumps at the chance to abandon her previous life and follows the Johns to the world of Abarat which is rapidly heading towards an apocalypse.

The world of Abarat is probably the reason this book didn't make it to favourite status. Abarat is absolutly nothing like the world we live in and trying to picture the creatures and lands of this world continously pulled me out of the story. I understand there is an illustrated version of this book and had I read one that I'm sure my final grade would have been different.

Candy is a thoroughly likable heroine and I'm looking forward to seeing her character grow over the course of the series. Although she is young and a bit niave she's also got some grit to her and takes everything that happens in stride. The secondary characters (or creatures) even the minor ones have all been very well fleshed out and have obviously come from a very fertile imagination.

The plot is quick paced and alot of fun but like I said previously I probably would have enjoyed it more and been more "into" the story had I read the version with the illustrations.

All in all I did enjoy the story and will definitly look for the second installment the next time I'm in the book store.

If this is your first time trying Clive Barker I would recommend reading the Thief of Always first it is a stand alone young adult fantasy and in my opinion is far more engrossing story.
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LibraryThing member karhne
This is one of the few fantasy books I've ever made it all the way through and very possibly the only one that ever made me want to buy sequels. I'm not entirely sure I agree that it's an "all ages" read. Maybe high all ages. It does have a socially permissive slant, but then, if you didn't know
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that by the author's name on the cover, you probably missed the eighties.
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LibraryThing member AnnieHidalgo
It seems 'too silly' is an odd complaint for a fantasy novel. Strict realism is never expected. Nevertheless, that's my gripe with this one. I wanted to like it. Clive Barker is usually pretty good. His The Thief of Always is one of my favorite ya fantasy novels. But this is, well, less than
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plot-driven. I'm not sure one thing in this book is ever fully resolved. And all of the characters have this odd, Dave McKean-esque, circus freak quality about them. More members of a dream cast, and less well-thought out denizens of a cohesive fantasy realm. Also, I'm never sure who authors are trying to appeal to when they use nonsensical fantasy words. Just because I'm reading a fantasy novel...I mean, honestly, at what point am I supposed to be able to say things like Yebba Dim Day (the name of one of the islands of Abarat), without feeling anything but utterly ridiculous? Not a bad book, but certainly not stand-alone. It feels like the product of some kind of unholy alliance between Dave McKean, Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton.
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LibraryThing member Hanike
This book is the first book of the YA series "The Books of Abarat", written and illustrated by the brilliant Clive Barker himself.
The series includes the following 5 fantasy novels:
> Abarat (2002)
> Days of Magic, Nights of War (2004)
> Absolute Midnight (2011)
> Kry Rising (work-in-progress)
> Until
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The End of Time (forthcoming)

In the first book, we're introduced to Candy, a lonely bored girl who decides to explore a brand new world: the exotic and fantastical islands of Abarat, where each island in Abarat represents an hour of the day and is populated with the most different creatures.
There, she is hunted down by Lord Midnight, who has a mysterious interest on her, but she has no idea what kind of dark fate she just brought to herself.

Abarat is Clive Barker's "children's tale" that has very little of "children" and a lot of dark fantasy & exotic creatures in the colorful yet dark world of Abarat islands.
It's darker than Neil Gaiman's books, but can be placed together with his Coraline.
It's both Barker's play with Surrealism and his gift to younger readers who, after reading this, will surely want to get a taste of the real thing whenever they can. =D
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LibraryThing member ssadar
I have to admit that I literally picked this book out for its cover the first time. Barker's paintings are not only fascinating in their own right, full of bold, lush color, they are also a perfect complement to the story. The Abarat is a world of color, noise, magic, and life everywhere. This
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extends to the people as well as the surroundings; it is common to find settings where no two people look alike. It's nice that this is the norm rather than the exception.

The heroine, Candy, interacts with the characters and her surroundings with innocence and generosity without being ignorant, naive, or weak. Although she is not perfect, she is an excellent role model for any child - or adult for that matter. Succeeding requires both her own intelligence and bravery as well as the cooperation of others.
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LibraryThing member anneearney
This isn't my favorite of Clive Barker's works, but I do love the imaginative world he's created and I enjoyed this book enough that I'll continue on with the next book in the series.

What would raised my rating of this book? First, a stronger plot - although there are tense moments, much of this
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book seems to be more about description of the Abaratian world and the characters who inhabit it than about any real action, but I imagine that will change in the next couple books. Second, I think Barker's imagination way overshadows his skills as a writer. Not that he's a bad writer (The DaVinci Code, anyone?), but he's not excellent, either. There are ideas and descriptions that spark my imagination and give me insight I haven't had before, but never turns of phrase or word choices. It's been years since I read Barker's fiction for adult readers, so I am curious if his writing was simplified for the young adult novel, but my husband recently read The Great and Secret Show for the first time and he was not impressed with the writing in that, either.
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LibraryThing member Redthing
The Abarat is an odd sort of world, a world where anything and everything is possible. Candy Quackenbush, the main character, ends up in the Abarat, seemingly by accident. The book covers her adventures through the world. The paintings distribuited throughout the text are wonderful and add
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tremendously to the quality of the book. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that this is one of the best books i've read all year.
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LibraryThing member Summersoldier
Abarat is one of my favorite fantasy books, although the quality of writing strikes me as average. Clive Barker draws you into the fantasical world of Abarat, where there are islands for each hour. The descriptions of the islands and the creatures that inhabit them are wonderful. A true page-turner
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and it doesn't cut corners with character development either. Candy and Carrion (the villain) are both quite "round" characters and even the sidekicks (Malingo, the John's, etc) are more than just comedians. Clive Barker is truly the renaissance man. Not only did he write the poetry and prose, but created the beautiful paintings to help guide you on your own journey through Abarat. This review is only scratching at the wonders of this book (and its sequel). I strongly recommend reading them.
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LibraryThing member zannybuck
Unlike some other reviews, I thought this book was fantastic. The world that Barker has created is new and fresh and has an untold amount of potential. When I read the first book, the second one was already out so I could not wait to finish one and get to the next. The characters are deep and
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interesting and the tension between Candy Quackenbush and Lord Carrion is thick. It may seem like the first book does not finish much, but this is a four part series and the second book alone ties a lot up. I am eagerly awaiting the 3rd volume.
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LibraryThing member Mendoza
Definitely a young adult book but I was able to still enjoy it. The destiny of Candy is sure to unfold thruought this proposed series. I enjoy when things are much more than what they originally appear.

The illustrations were actually good enough that I felt they enhanced the story.
LibraryThing member Crewman_Number_6
At first this book held my attention, but it really started to lose me toward the end. Some of the sub stories never really seemed to tie in with the rest of the story. Altogether the story seemed a little choppy, and I was a little disappointed with the flimsy ending.
LibraryThing member writerofdreams
I really love this book, the illustrations are very colorful and catch your attenion, depicting the scene right before your eyes. it is very fantasy and at times, a little disturbing, Clive Barker, you had better hurry up writing the next two books!
LibraryThing member Rachel1987
Although I haven't officially finished this book, it is rather good. It is filled with beautiful and amazing artwork and is fairly easy to read.

I will finish this book someday and write a real review, I promise.
LibraryThing member MissLucinda
This is one of those rare post-Harry Potter fantasy books that can stand on its own; it's a great read!
Abarat has a great combination of real life emotions and unique quirks in all of the characters. Candy Quackenbush, the heroine, is completely believable and her adventures through the land of
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Abarat just drew me in.
Clive Barker has created such an amazing magical world: the realms of Abarat, a collection of islands. Each island has its own personality-- and time of the day-- which makes the land truly original.
Recommendation: This book is a thrilling read for any fantasy-lover, and the wonderful illustrations make the book a good family-read-aloud book. Enjoy Abarat!
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LibraryThing member katiemullen
The first time I started to read this book I was twelve years old and it scared me so badly I had to stop. Now that I'm older, this book seems a lot less frightening, but just as interesting. Barker's inventiveness in creating characters to inhabit his fictional land is awe-inspiring, and his
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illustrations fit the story beautifully. Most compelling is the character of the villain, Christopher Carrion. Though this books serves as little more than an introduction for the world of Abarat and a set up for the rest of the series, it is very entertaining in its own right.
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LibraryThing member shelf-employed
This is a novel of epic proportions, over 11 hours on mp3. The cast and lands of the Abarat are rich and fully developed, as is the prose of Clive Barker, full of vivid description and extensive vocabulary, as in this description of the Yebba Dim Day,

It was a city, a city built from the litter of
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the sea. The street beneath her feet was made from timbers that had clearly been in the water for a long time, and the walls were lined with barnacle-encrusted stone. There were three columns supporting the roof, made of coral fragments cemented together. They were buzzing hives of life unto themselves; their elaborately constructed walls pierced with dozens of windows, from which light poured.

There were three main streets that wound up and around these coral hives, and they were all lined with habitations and thronged with the Yebba Dim Day's citizens.

As far as Candy could see there were plenty of people who resembled folks she might have expected to see on the streets of Chickentown, give or take a sartorial detail: a hat, a coat, a wooden snout. But for every one person that looked perfectly human, there were two who looked perfectly other than human. The children of a thousand marriages between humankind and the great bestiary of the Abarat were abroad on the streets of the city.

Richard Ferroneā€™s voice on the audiobook version is as rich and varied as the world of the Abarat. A fantastic book! Highly recommended. Ages 12 and up.
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LibraryThing member ds_61_12
I started this book with mixed feelings. The cover and the illustrations inside didn't agree with me. The first chapter of the book was situated in the fantasy world of Abarat and serves as a teaser. What follows is the first part of the book. Here we return to Earth and meet Candy Quackenbusch, a
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young girl living in Chickentown, Minnesota.

Now I have to admit I stopped reading after the first two chapters. This doesn't happen often, but the style and the creatures that start to appear about then didn't do it for me. It is supposed to be a good book, but it isn't my taste. Try it for yourself and make your own judgement.
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LibraryThing member TheCrow2
Born from the wicked imagination of Clive Barker, Abarat more like a fantasy than a horror story. It's a pity because my favourites are his older horror books but whatever.... Abarat IS a gerat book with great characters and great story.
LibraryThing member airdna
A seemingly ordinary girl gets whisked into an alternate world full of bizarre creatures, which is under attack by the forces of evil, and discovers she's a "chosen one" that must help save the world.
LibraryThing member krau0098
This is the first children's book I have ever read by Clive Barker. I know that he is much more well known for his works of horror. However, I was very impressed by this book.

I listened to this book on audio book. The audio book was very well done. I think the guy who read the audio book must be
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the same person who read Stephen King's Dark Tower series on audio book. At least they sound very similar since I keep getting flashbacks to when I listened to the Dark Tower; maybe it is just that Clive Barker and Stephen King have a somewhat similar writing style. The only bad thing about listening to this on audio book is that I missed out on all the neat color pictures. I have the paper version at home so I still got to see the pictures, just not while I was reading the book.

The tone of this book reminded me a lot of Alice in Wonderland and is, initially, a similar premise. Candy Quackenbush lives in Chickentown, MN and, during an assignment for school to write a paper on interesting things in Chickentown (a decidedly uninteresting town), runs into a mystery concerning a man who committed suicide in a hotel room. A strange nautical device is found in the dresser drawer of this hotel room. Candy finds herself obsessing about the symbols on the device. Candy is fed up with her boring life in Chickentown, her beaten down mother, and her abusive father. After a particularly bad scene in class at school, where Candy gets sent to the principals office, Candy decides to just leave school and go walking. She finds herself in a vast prairie outside of Chickentown. While there she runs into an 8 headed man, John Mischief, and ends up helping him to light the lighthouse in the prairie (which Candy thought was an abandoned building). Following some crazy events Candy finds herself swept off to Abarat and swept into a crazy adventure there.

This was a really great book. It is wildly imaginative and full of non-stop action. I loved the way Candy accepted her adventures with ease (since *anything* is better than Chickentown). I also loved the numerous quirky characters that Candy ran into along the way. Candy seems to have a knack for getting people's attention and getting drawn into trouble. There are tons of interesting good and neutral characters in this book. There are also some very interesting villains. The villians in this book are particularly special. There are numerous levels of evil, making you wonder who the *real* villain is. All of the villains have a lot of depth to them, you can see multiple sides to their character. This makes them seem somehow less ultimately evil but more scary and unpredictable.

The description in the book is wonderful. The plotline rolls along gracefully taking Candy from one adventure to the next. Even though many different characters are introduced and interact with Candy, none of it seems forced.

The only disappointment I had with this book was that I thought that the storyline with John Mischeif didn't get much closure; I am sure this storyline will be revisited in the next book. I am also curious as to what is happening back in Chickentown; does Candy's mother know she is missing?

This was a great book. I would read it to slightly older children though since at times it is very violent and it deals with issues of suicide and torture at points. Great book, I am excited to read the next one.
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LibraryThing member book_in_hand
Lovely book and Beautiful pictures!!! I can't wait to read the next book! Reading youth fantasy or fantasy at all can get a little predictable, so when I picked this up I was not very excited. As I read it though I was refreshed with a new world and strange new characters. I highly recommend this
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LibraryThing member cmcvittie
Clive Barker's illustrations alone would make this a compelling book for young adults raised in this digital, visual age. Creepy, yet compelling, Barker has created yet another setting where strange monsters like the terrifying Mendelson Shape and the strange, many-headed John Mischief interact
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with the young woman Candy, who is almost driven to her mundane life in Chickentown. The completely weird archipelego of Abarat is inhabited by more strange beings than most of us imagine in a lifetime. This is the first in a series of a possible four books. I enjoyed this trip into a dream of a book - dream as in the disjointed images and twisted reality that populates a typical night or nightmare. Barker has made his mark in young adult fiction!
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0060280921 / 9780060280925

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