Ehren's Reviews > Abarat

Abarat by Clive Barker
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's review
Jan 11, 12

Clive Barker is known for, probably more than anything else, creating the movie Hellraiser. And a lot of other horror movies. And some pretty dark, dark books. The intensity and extremity of those stories are impressive, but not what i'm talking about here. With a few exceptions,I''d not call his books horror. I think of them as dark fantasy.

Abarat is different from his other books, in that I can read them to my grade school age daughters. And have. And they loved them. There are intense moments (more so in later volumes), but nothing adult in nature.

Like all of his books, this is full of strange people and creatures and beautiful places (both light and dark). It's feel is surreal and dreamlike, and his writing is both simple and poetic. And (having daughters) i really like that the main character is a girl who is strong, likeable, and written realistically.

The other thing that makes this book such a unique read is the illustrations, done by the author. As a matter of fact, he started creating this world by painting it, and then wrote the story based on the inspiration of the pictures. The books include hundreds of these oil paintings, and i can't imagine reading the story without them. (That's a comment on the art, not the writing.) Unfortunately, from what I have noticed recently, I think the versions in print do not include the paintings. That is really sad. I don't know how hard it would be to find a copy with illustrations, but it's more than worth the effort. And what really surprised me is that the e-books don't even include the pictures. That seems like it would be very easy to do.

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