U.L. Harper's Reviews > Days of Magic, Nights of War

Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker
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's review
Apr 26, 2012

really liked it
Read from December 29, 2011 to April 26, 2012

One thing about Abarat. Nobody can say it’s not interesting.
In this second of five installments, Candy Quackenbush travels the islands of the Abarat trying to escape the super evil Christopher Carrion. Along the way she meet an assortment of wacky good guys in this young adult novel that very few young adults have read.
Right there is where I’ll throw down on of my two negative comments on this book. I wish it weren’t geared for young adults. It fits young adult’s fine, I think. But at several points in the story I really wished, Candy, with her multi-colored eyes were maybe her mother, someone who had lived through much more. It would have had the perspective of someone who had wasted their life, rather than someone who, I don’t know, had maybe too many opinions at such a young age. I mean I could relate, but it’s just a thought I had. To expand on that idea, I certainly felt a little lack of sympathy for the characters here. There is plenty to work with, no doubt, but then maybe too much to work with. Carrion is a fine character, as is Mater Motley. These are individuals you truly believe might exist. It’s what Barker does well. But this time around they’re not quite accessible, and once again, I attribute it to the young adult audience. Could be wrong.
Now let me say some positive. There are many moments that you want to read aloud, so others can be in the same place you’re in. Barker is a premiere world creator and he doesn’t let you down here. While reading, you know that Abarat is much more exciting than the other world in Chicken Town, Minnesota. You don’t even want to venture anywhere near the real world. At the same time, it is clear that Abarat is changing for the worse and it might be up to Candy to save it. Or is it destroy to make it better, depends on the character you listen to.
Another plus for this one is the pace of the reading, and its readability. Man, you can blast through this. No question. But there is another side to this coin. In spots, Barker, instead of letting you thrive in a scene, will sum it up for you real quick. The narration is border line amazing sometimes but here and there I would rather have more exposition, details on certain scenes. It’s as if he treats some elements as if they’re not as important as others. Although a part of me thinks Barker simply wanted to keep it within 1,000 pages. I’m just making a general comment.
This is a book that anyone can enjoy. I’m not sure if it draws you to read the third book, though I already have mine.

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Reading Progress

29.0% "This is an easy read and exciting but I'm hoping it gets a bit deeper as it goes along. I can see everything and the world is fantastic, so I can always visit, but I don't feel invested yet."
38.0% "Love the narrative and Barker just has crazy characters doing crazy character stuff. Right now the issue is that it just seems like the story has less of an arc and is more like a randoom string of events."
54.0% "The action is rolling and the story is going forward, but at this point it still seems as though it's kind of going from one scene to another so it seems like I'm missing something as far as deliberate plotting. That's thinking that this is a plot first story. If it were based on these unique characters I might thing otherwise. It's still fun, but it doesn't make me want to take notes on plotting or characterization"
61.0% "This is an underrated young adult novel. Sometimes it seems as if it's just going on without a distinct purpose, but you know what, it's flat out unique, and I find myself honestly curious of what happens, not just to Candy but to those around. As the story keeps unfolding deeper and deeper I keep thinking how sad it is that the Abarat doesn't really exist. But then again, maybe it does, right beside the dream sea"
81.0% "There are times when I'm blown away by the actual moments that are imagined, at how these moments come about. The dialogue reminds me that it's a young adult novel, not in a bad way. But I have no idea what a middle schooler or high school or any kid would really think of this."
81.0% "Just got done. Review to come soon. Not that anybody really cared or anything."

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