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Abarat (Abarat #1)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  18,265 ratings  ·  1,002 reviews
Candy lives in Chickentown USA: the most boring place in the world, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future may hold. She is soon to find out: swept out of our world by a giant wave, she finds herself in another place entirely...

The Abarat: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon
Paperback, 393 pages
Published September 30th 2003 by Trophy Pr (first published January 1st 2002)
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Abarat by Clive BarkerCoraline by Neil GaimanDays of Magic, Nights of War by Clive BarkerNeverwhere by Neil GaimanThe Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Best strange fantasy
1st out of 69 books — 82 voters
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Books You Wish More People Knew About
99th out of 13,837 books — 13,301 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This book.


So I'm just going to read the second one, now.

Could someone else read this damn thing too, while you're thinking about it?

So I have another person to discuss how undiscussably awesome Abarat is?

Thank you.
Jul 20, 2011 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: wanted
Recommended to Mariel by: a post-it note to me I wrote in 2009
I think you have to want it to happen to you to open your mouth wide enough to swallow another land of magic, the best friends you'll ever have in your life, maybe you're more special than you realized and the funny feeling there's a movie of you going on is real (um, other people do do that, right?). All the eyes are on you and it's the nightmare that you're naked on the first day of... Oops. It's delicious fear feeling. You're naked and it's the first day of class! Open wiiiiiiiide. But you WA ...more

This is an excellent book. That doesn't mean you should take it as a life model.

This review is weird to write, because I liked this book. Really, I did! In fact, I shelved it with my "semi-favorites" - I enjoyed it that much. But then I thought about it, and realized that it's glittery, trippy exterior had masked its faults, and that Abarat is worse than it seems.

Here's why I liked Abarat: Abarat is not a book. It's an experience.


The whole thing is exquisitely bizarre and beautifully grotesque; populated by an odd cast of characters ranging from John Mischief (whose 7 broth
Sarah Camp
Feb 21, 2008 Sarah Camp rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys a good fantasy from time to time
Recommended to Sarah by: Uncle Davey
I was never a fan of Clive Barker's. In fact, I find most of his movies laughably bad. So when my uncle gave me this book for Christmas and I saw Barker's name written across the top, I am sure my uncle received a very strange and questioning glare from me.

But then he explained to me why he bought it. We are both artists, and the book is based upon a series of paintings that Barker spent 6 years creating. My uncle had read the book and wanted to share it with me.

Boy am I glad he did!

While the fi
Paul Beimers
Jul 03, 2012 Paul Beimers rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who: love Clive Barker, want something unique from their YA, don't mind bizarre ideas.
Recommended to Paul by: Karen
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, magic, series
Thank you, Karen, for bringing this one to my attention! I would have (probably) never read it otherwise!

I had decided, prior to my reading of even the first page, that I was going to give this book an entire star purely for the illustrations, which I briefly skimmed beforehand. As such, my score breaks down as follows:

4 stars for the wonderful story, writing, and characters.
1 star for the gorgeous and enchanting artwork.


My very first Barker book! A marvelous novel, one that starts

I will go purchase that RIGHT THE FLIP NOW. YOU CAN'T STOP MEEEE.

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Kelli Lee
Here’s the best way I can think of to describe the world of Abarat. Picture if you will: Dr. Seuss ambling along while rockin’ out to the fantabulous, psychedelic CCR song Looking Out My Backdoor. Completely distracted due to singing, Dr. Seuss falls down the infamous rabbit hole, crash landing into Wonderland. Got it? Can you picture Abarat now?

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the following thoughts are coming from the mind of an Alice in Wonderland and Dr. Seuss fan. So I guess I was bound to be
Jul 05, 2007 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy junkies
This is one of those books that I adored in a way that I can't really describe. I'm sorry, I just can't. It was amazing in ways that I can't tell you.

If you like fantasy or science fiction or horror or anything along that particular slant, read. this. book.

If you're going to BUY Abarat, be sure you pay a little extra and get the version with the full color illustrations throughout. It would NOT be the same without them.
Ένα όμορφο παραμύθι του οποίου οι τόποι, τα πλάσματα... τα πάντα ειναι φτιαγμένα απο έναν υπερρεαλιστικό κόσμο που μόνο στα όνειρα γίνεται να υπάρξει. Αμα δεν διαβάσει κανείς το Άμπαρατ δεν γίνεται να καταλάβει. Η απόλυτη μαγεία.
I always tell my students that if Clive Barker weren't so talented, he would be eating people for a living. Though this is a young adult novel, it still has elements of the macabre. Occasionally Barker becomes enthralled by his own imagery, but overall, the plot moves quickly, and you really care about what happens to Candy and what will become of our world once the fate of the Abarat has been decided. I was eager to start book two and have not been disappointed with what I've read so far-about ...more
Feb 22, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like pretty pictures
Shelves: fiction
I read this book some time ago, so my memory of it is fading, but the thing I remember the most about it is that it failed to ever develop a plot that drew me in and held me there. I love the illustrations, and some other details about Abarat, but the admittedly whimsical descriptions of this foreign land were not enough to fill 500 pages. I even read the second book but I was so unimpressed that I don't remember anything about it. Still, three stars for the awesome illustrations and imaginative ...more
Epic fail for Mr. Barker. Here is a review I wrote in 2006:
"And now, let's hop alltogether to our third heroine of the day, Candy Quackenbush. If we should hop on top of the book she enacts in, I wouldn't care less.
This might come as a surprise, at least to me it was, but the new Clive Barker book was not good. What a big dissapointment from my favourite fairy-teller. Abarat by Clive Barker adds up many weaknesses of a bad written book and I will put them here in a few words.
*Few things happen i
I remembered reading Clive Barker’s classic story, “Abarat” years ago when I was in high school and I remembered really enjoying the story when I first read it. Now, I have taken the time to re-read this book again and lo and behold, I love it just as much now as I did years ago! “Abarat” is clearly a truly creative and exciting for fans of Clive Barker’s novels and exploring surreal fantasy worlds!

Candy Quackenbush was just a normal girl who lived in a boring town called Chickentown, where ever
I have recommended this book to a lot of my Goodreads friends. I am disappointed to see that no one yet has started reading it.

Thus, I have come to the conclusion that I must write a review to show you all how awesome this book is.

Review to come :)
It’s been a few days and I’m still unsure what to think of this novel. Clive Barker is not one of my favorite authors, but when I saw the gorgeous hardcover of Abarat on my brother-in-law’s bookshelf, I simply had to pick it up. At first this was only because I couldn’t decipher the damn title on the spine. It’s done in the Illuminati style:

I had a hell of a time figuring out what the title was. I finally found it on Amazon and promptly decided that this is one book that shouldn’t be read on the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 20, 2008 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
I needed an imaginative fantasy romp, so I just finished Clive Barker's Abarat. It's sort of The Thief of Always (darkish kid's book) meets Weaveworld (for awesome otherworlds). And the thing that makes this book extraordinarily special: color drawings by Barker interspersed throughout the text. In a fantastical world like Abarat, it's immeasurably cool to see a piece of art depicting, say, a Sea-Skipper, sort of an elegant cross between a human and a sea horse, or a crazy island shaped like a m ...more
Rebecca Grant
I read this book when I was around 12-13 years old. I remember seeing it on a shelf when my parents told me to find something I wanted to buy since they were getting my brother a cool water gun. Well, I chose it and it is quite literally my favourite book. Adventure and magic all placed into a huge world called Abarat, the imagination that was used to build this world is unlike any I've ever seen and I can confidently that I was always awed by the scenes the descriptive writing caused to swirl i ...more
Xara Niouraki
First things first: this book is not bad. I liked it, although it took me a lot of time to finish it.
Why the low rating? Well, it doesn't really have a plot. We just observe Candy having adventures, getting in different kinds of trouble and getting out again. The world is wonderful, full of bizzare creatures and places, but this is not enough for me. A book has to have a plot or else I get bored. I'm going to finish the series because I bought the books. I hope the next book is better.
Nora Cayetano
Dec 27, 2014 Nora Cayetano rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A todo mundo
Recommended to Nora by: Goodreads
Shelves: favorites
¡Increíble! ¡De verdad increíble! Este ha sido otro de los libros que llegaron a mí por azares del destino y han hecho un nidito en mi corazón.

La historia suena simple en un inicio: Candy Quckenbush vive en un pueblo aburrido en medio de la nada. Proveniente de una familia disfuncional, Candy está harta de tener que vivir en un sitio donde los pollos son el tema de conversación más importante.
Un día, el mero instinto le dice que se escape de clases y vagabundee por el pueblo. Es aquí cuando con
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 cr ...more
Jun 29, 2008 Vikki rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes crazy things.
This book is very very interesting.
To anyone who reads this book, I suggest either getting the hardcover, or at least renting the hardcover from your local library. I say this because Clive Barker has painted very beautiful and strange pictures to help the reader understand this very strange world he has created.
This story is about a girl named Candy Quackenbash (weird name I know) who gets tired of her normal life and ventures into the sea with a very strange creature who has one head plus 6 ot
At the time I am writing this review, I am in the 1% of those who have given Abarat a 1 out of 5. So, yes, it is safe to say that I am in the minority on this one.

This book so wanted to be Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, and the Chronicles of Narnia all in one amazing package. Maybe throw in a little Harry Potter for good measure. Unfortunately, I believe the author became so engrossed in creating his world (which is "meh" at best) that he forgot the necessity of plot and characterizatio
This is truly an innovative book. Clive Barker has an imagination unlike anything I've encountered, so if you're looking for a book that throws you head first into the world of your wildest dreams, this is the book you've been looking for. This is my favorite book of the series because it introduces you to Abarat and its wonders. The actual plot line is in it's infant form but it offers up enough questions to keep the reader engaged. A lot of the "answers" given are vague and you don't really kn ...more
Brian White
I wanted to like this book. I really did. I've enjoyed everything else I've read by Barker. Alas, not so here.

The story revolves around Candy Quackenbush,an adolescent girl who leaves school one day in a huff at her teacher and shortly finds herself transported into the Abarat - another dimension where there are islands in a great sea and every island represents one hour of the day. Plus a 25th mystery island.

Here's the thing. I love nostalgia stories where the protagonist is a child or early
Jan 11, 2012 Clint rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I think after Galilee in the late 90's, Clive Barker kind of lost interest in writing. Not that he stopped (though he did slow WAY down), and not that he ran out of ideas (he never runs out of ideas, he's like an undying, constantly-ejaculating volcano of ideas), but he seems to have lost interest in language. I guess he got really into painting or something, but nothing after Galilee seems to have ever been through a second draft. That's really my only complaint with this book, besides the usua ...more
Erika Griffin
Sep 24, 2007 Erika Griffin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys fantasy or is a Clive Barker fan, this is a must!
I've never been particularly good with fantasy novels. Perhaps it's the--in many cases--absurd abundance of characters, creatures, environments, and plot-lines, but I've always found them hard to follow.

In the case of ABARAT, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Clive Barker had created a giant, diverse world with an array of colorful characters...and made it easy to follow. Sure, there are one or two snags, but the entirety of it is so consuming and interesting that you ultimately
Kagami Kaba
I was nine years old. Me and my parents were going to China and mum had bought me two books to read on the plane. The first one, Lord of the Ring, did not capture my interest at all.
Therefore, I only had Abarat left.
Although I was sceptical about it, I opened it and started reading.
The second day in China and I had finished it. I cried because it was over.
Almost six years later, this book and its sequel still has a special place in my heart. I don't know if it's my favourite any longer, but it
Plain and simple: I love this book. I think because the story is so different, it just pulls me in and I want to keep reading until I'm done. I also love the illustrations. The colors are so vivid and perfectly match the story. I would leave you a warning though, there are some creepy elements in this story, and some disturbing pictures, this book isn't for everyone.
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Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more
More about Clive Barker...

Other Books in the Series

Abarat (4 books)
  • Days of Magic, Nights of War (Abarat, #2)
  • Absolute Midnight (Abarat, #3)
  • Kry Rising (Abarat #4)
The Great and Secret Show (Book of the Art #1) The Hellbound Heart Books of Blood, Volumes One to Three (Books of Blood, #1-3) The Thief of Always Weaveworld

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“Darkness always had its part to play. Without it, how would we know when we walked in the light? It’s only when its ambitions become too grandiose that it must be opposed, disciplined, sometimes—if necessary—brought down for a time. Then it will rise again, as it must.” 101 likes
“Three is the number of those who do holy work;

Two is the number of those who do lover's work;

One is the number of those who do perfect evil

Or perfect good.”
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