Kelli Lee's Reviews > Abarat

Abarat by Clive Barker
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Jan 19, 12

bookshelves: adventurous-quests, contemporary-fantasy, fantasy, magic-abound, speculative-fiction, young-adult
Read from January 10 to 14, 2012

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 biased from the get go.

The characters and the overall feel of Abarat are very reminiscent, in a non-derivative way, of Alice in Wonderland and Dr. Seuss. Wackiness and whimsy and anthropomorphism aplenty. However, Candy Quackenbush (protagonist) is no Alice. Where Alice was a privileged, bored, precocious child, Candy comes from an abusive, dysfunctional home and she most certainly isn’t well-heeled. Nope, Candy’s home life is much much darker than Alice’s. An aspect I rather enjoyed. I'm not one for happy home lives in literature. I like my characters Holly Black-ized.

So what is this world of Abarat like exactly? Well, I’ll let Candy explain this fantastical land to you: “Every Hour has its own island here, you see. You can sort of time travel by hopping from island to island.” Just like Candy explains, Abarat is made up of islands or Hours. 25 to be exact. The 25th island is obviously very special. So naturally some of the islands live in perpetual twilight. Gorgeous descriptions. And what I found so funny and ingenious was that Abaratians (people of Abarat) are well aware of Earth’s existence, they just think it’s the Hereafter. I'll spare you the snoozefest of story recapping. I believe the Goodreads description does a pretty good job of whetting one's appetite. Just know that . . .

The descriptions within this novel are so fantastical. Clive Barker writes in such a way where you as a reader feel like you’re in Abarat. Oh how I wish. Let me just say, this man’s imagination is boundless. So much so that I fell in love with each and every character, even the devilish ones.

So, if you love fantasy. If you love quests. If you love adventure. If you love Alice in Wonderland. Then this is the book for you. Unfortunately, I read this on my Kindle, so I was unable to take in Mr. Barker’s artwork, which I’m sure is breathtaking. So these thoughts are coming from a reading experience only, no artwork peppered throughout. And to conclude, I believe this novel embodies the very definition of pure escapism. Pure whimsy. Unputdownable. And because of aforementioned reasons, I absolutely adore the world of Abarat. Oh, and one more thing, I would love to see what the amazing Tim Burton would do if he got his hands on this series. I believe the world of Abarat is right up his alley!

ETA: I read this beautiful story on my Kindle sans artwork. I feel I should mention that the story clearly stands strong on its own, no artwork needed to move the story along.
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Reading Progress

01/11/2012
52.0% "Very Seussian and Wonderland-esque. How about Seuss in Wonderland? Anyhow, I'm so loving this book. A-lot!"
01/12/2012
66.0% "Dare I say, Miss Candy Quackenbush is giving dear old Alice- of Wonderland fame - a run for her money. I'd love to see what Tim Burton would do with this series. It's so up his alley."

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Kyle I plan on reading Alice in Wonderland for the first time sometime soon (I know, I know, I don't know how I couldn't have already read it!) so I'll probably have to check this out afterwards!


Kelli Lee Kyle wrote: "I plan on reading Alice in Wonderland for the first time sometime soon (I know, I know, I don't know how I couldn't have already read it!) so I'll probably have to check this out afterwards!"

*gasps in horror* Haven't read Alice yet?! Just joshing. Many peeps can't stand it, most of my family/friends included. I don't know, I just love the whimsy of it. Have you ever played Kingdom Hearts? I about died when the character of Sora landed in Wonderland. Yeah I know, doesn't take much to get me excited ; )


Kyle I have played Kingdom Hearts (the second, I don't know why I skipped the first) but my PlayStation broke, so, I haven't played it in years. Never get too far in video games anyway, since I borderline suck at them, but I do remember going to all the Disney lands. XD I can't believe how stupid I was - it turns out my library has Abarat, and I've walked by it about a million times, in the adult sci-fi section, whenever I try and look for Game of Thrones (that book has this endless on-hold list) or the Fever series! I'll have to try and FINALLY get it tomorrow!


Kelli Lee Here's hoping you love Abarat! And as far as video games go, I have to finish them. I'm crazy competitive, even with myself. Its insane. And the KH series, well only two thus far, are crazy addictive. I get lost in them. There's an Alice in wonderland game on another gaming console( is that what they're called?) that I'm dying to play, but it's not available on play station 2 which is what I have. I feel so old school. I feel like I'm rambling. :)


Kevin Loved your review, totally agree about the tim burton thing, Danny Elfman would still compose. Too bad I can't read music.


Kelli Lee Thanks, Kevin. Ooh, good call on Danny elfman. Seriously, this would be a kick ass movie. And total eye-candy!


Kevin Agreed, if the illustrations are any indication. Which by the way are amazing, the style reminds me a bit of Van Gogh but more... visceral I guess, more honest. That said, I'm honestly Jealous that you got to read it without the illustrations, as amazing as they were the colors always swirl more vivdly in my head.


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