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It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush, he heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold.
When the answer comes, it's not one she expects. Out of nowhere comes a wave, and Candy, led by a man called John Michief (whose brothers live on the horns on his head), leaps into the surging waters and is carried away.
Where? To the ABARAT: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from the great head that sits in the mysterious twilight waters of Eight in the Evening, to the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of Gorgossium, the island of Midnight, rules over by the Prince of Midnight himself, Christopher Carrion.
As Candy journeys from one amazing place to another, making fast friends and encountering treacherous foes - mechanical bugs and giant moths, miraculous cats and men made of mud, a murderous wizard and his terrified slace - she begins to realise something. She has been here before.
Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she is here to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirring at it's heart. Forces older than Time itself, and more evil than anything Candy has ever encountered.
She's a strange heroine, she knows. But this is a strange world.
And in the Abarat, all things are possible.
I would have to disagree. I found the story to be confusing and while making it an easier read, distracting.
The drawings, although a bit 'kid-ish' as described earlier, helped to tie together a almightily disjointed and twisty plotline.
Overall, not hugely impressed. Quite glad I read it as a 'loaner', to be honest.
Every now and then, from out of the last place you would expect, comes a story that really surprises you.
This was mine, this time around.
From the mind that gave rise to The Hellbound Heart, later turned into the cult movie Hellraiser, comes another story just so far 'out there' you hardly understand it, yet you are drawn into it's world all too effectively. You become fully immersed in the universe from inside the author's mind.
The 25th hour, the island of Time Out of Time, holds the key to Candy's very nature, and the fleeting glimpses you get are enough to make the story an ongoing one. I am looking forward to seeing the second installment, and I don't normally like this variety of Fantasy at all.
Though I found the large type and copious quantity of unusual artwork (created over a 2 year period by Clive Barker himself) a bit 'kids-ish', it gave a quick read full of pace and guiding imagery to really bring the story to life.
Overall, I would have to claim this one a victory for Clive Barker, and Harper Collins. Quite the stunningly unexpected gem.
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"Reality is what refuses to go away when I stop believing in it."
Philip K. Dick