Palindrome Mordnilap's Reviews > Imajica

Imajica by Clive Barker
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's review
Sep 13, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: horror-books
Read from September 13 to 29, 2011

Completing this book was something of an achievement for me, as I had tried reading it before back in 2006 and grew tired of it once the central characters left Earth behind. I returned to reading it again this year and, having adjusted myself to Barker's fantasy world of the Imajica, found it to be passably entertaining and a worthy commuter distraction.

Barker constructs a universe in which the world is divided into five "dominions", four of which are reconciled but the fifth (Earth) is apart. The central journey of the main cast is concerned principally with reconciling Earth such that all five dominions become one. There are plenty of other side stories and subplots along the way, of course, allowing Barker to indulge in fantastic creations which often go away beyond the border of the absurd. As with most epic quest fiction, the journey itself is perhaps a greater pleasure than its end. The climax was more of a whimper, and then stretched itself out over another fifty or so pages of denouement, adding nothing to the story.

Characters are often two-dimensional, with Barker frequently plucking daft names out of thin air, giving them some improbable physical feature and allowing them to utter a couple of words, before despatching them soon after. There is something of the sentimental about Barker's descriptions of England too, possibly stemming from his being an Englishman in America by the time he wrote this volume. The dialogue grates in places, and what some critics have called the "eroticism" of the writing is frequently quite cringe-worthy.

That said, I did stay with it to the end. Nevertheless, despite what Barker himself says of this magnum opus, I wouldn't rank it as one of his best.

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