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(Abarat #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  25,995 ratings  ·  1,421 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 October 1st 2002)
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Paan Chhaya She learned to live in the now, she learned to listen and not only ask questions, she learned she was adventourous and brave, she learned about friend…moreShe learned to live in the now, she learned to listen and not only ask questions, she learned she was adventourous and brave, she learned about friendship, acceptance, going with the flow, trusting her instincts and intuition and she learned a t least one lesson in the practical application of magic. So, yeah, I guess she learned some things.(less)

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  25,995 ratings  ·  1,421 reviews

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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
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
One of these books that stay in mind because they are so uniquely written and perfectly master the genre-mix.

It´s a funny trip trough different elements of horror, sci-fi and fantasy from a multitalented writer, director and painter. This man helped the evolution of the horror movie and created memes and tropes for generations and writes unbelievable books like this too. It´s such a rare occasion, because screenwriting and writing novels may be similar, but directing and writing novels is a real
Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it

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

Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Michelle {Book Hangovers}
**** October 25, 2018...... Rereading a Third time, this time listening to the audiobook****

This is the second time I've read this fascinating, imaginative adventure story. It is intensely creative, with characters and a world only the mind of Clive Barker could conjure up.
If you'd like to take a journey through an extraordinary world with the bizarre and freakishly curious things that live in it, then this is definitely the book for you.
Like Night and Day, this story has a bit of an odd, distur
Sarah Camp
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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 Sunako Salt
Shelves: fiction, series, fantasy, magic
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 what is assuredly to be a fantastic series.

I really liked this book. I almost find it hard to believe tha
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Upon rereading this teenaged favorite, present me enjoyed this less. A lot of the mystery in this first book is revealed in the third, so knowing the secrets made this read less exciting. Remembering correctly, teenager-me loved guessing at who Candy would fall in love with, which has never been the point of this book, really, but that's where a lot of my past excitement came from. I have loved the sequel to this book more than this one in the past, so I'm interested to see if that is still so! ...more
Pardis Ahmadi
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Look, i gave Lord of the rings series 5stars ok? As a horror/fantasy book lover i barely give books 5 stars. But this book was so good i can’t even describe it. It felt like Clive Barker was on drugs while writing this book. I suggest it to everyone i like, and i’m definitely gonna continue reading the next two volumes.

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

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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
Danni The Girl
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reading
Oh Abarat
Recommended to me by my Dad who is a HUGE Clive Barker fan

I read Weaveworld and I found that was very heavy going and the imagination was so vast.

I thought this would be the same

Oh no no no. Pure and brilliant fantasy world that you can really sink your teeth into. So many adventures to be had and so much to see. I was fully immersed in this story and enjoyed the twists and turns along the way.

I am intrigued to see what happens with Candy in the next one
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
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
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Jan 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like pretty pictures
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
Abarat was a five star book the first time I read it, easily. It was invigoratingly new. The world it weaved pushed the limits of imagination and left one reeling with the concepts it pushed. 25 islands, one for each hour of the day where it is only that hour of the day. The 25th island in the middle, Odom's Spire, a mystery none came back from. This is a world of nightmares swimming in fishbowls, where keys can be hidden in one's thoughts, and a corporation can begin to replace one's ability t ...more
If you look in my copy of Abarat there is a label in the front that reads "This Book is Donated by the Friends of the Burbank Public Library to Kelcey Soderstrom for the Burbank Public Library Middle School Book Club". So doing a teeny bit of math, I have had this book for at least 13 years. It has survived many purges and a move or two (when most of my books from this book club did not) so that should tell you what you need to know, but here's a drabbley review anyway.

I love the experience of A
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book reminds the reader (if they are older like me) what it's like to have a childlike imagination again. Very dreamlike and surreal, reading this book is like riding shotgun during the road-trip through a child's night-time dream, instead of listening to the child the next morning trying to tell you about it. "And then there were robot ninjas!" the kid might tell you while you shake your head incredulously and appease him with the occasional 'uh-huh' or 'yeah yeah.' "And then those robot n ...more
Kagami Kaba
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮
NOTE: Please ignore the BCID attached to this review. I mistakenly thought it referred to the ISBN of a book and I've tried but can't remove it, but it is irrelevant, I assure you.


Rating: 5+ a whole bunch of other stars / 5

Rereading and rediscovering the delights of this book for the third time (second time in illustrated form), I am once again completely enchanted by the world of Abarat.

Firstly, my recommendation to anyone who unfortunately does not have access to the original
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Brian White
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Xara Niouraki
May 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Bil Richardson
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Barker's venture into fantasy. Stylistically a much different tone for Clive. Those who don't like his horror work will like this I think. It has interesting world building, characters and plot. It is a much lighter touch and solid writing. This shows a side of the author I had not seen before and I was pleasantly surprised. I found it entertaining and enjoyable and it shows that Clive Barker is far from just a one trick pony. ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Abarat (5 books)
  • Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War
  • Abarat: Absolute Midnight
  • Kry Rising
  • Until the End of Time

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