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Abarat | [Clive Barker]

Abarat

It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold. When the answer comes, it's not one she expects. Out of nowhere comes a wave, and Candy, led by a man called John Mischief (whose brothers live on the horns on his head), leaps into the surging waters and is carried away.
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Publisher's Summary

It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold. When the answer comes, it's not one she expects. Out of nowhere comes a wave, and Candy, led by a man called John Mischief (whose brothers live on the horns on his head), leaps into the surging waters and is carried away.

Where? To the Abarat: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from The Great Head that sits in the mysterious twilight waters of Eight in the Evening, to the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of Gorgossium, the island of Midnight, ruled over by the Prince of Midnight himself, Christopher Carrion.

Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she is here to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirring at its heart. Forces older than Time itself, and more evil than anything Candy has ever encountered.

Don't miss any of the magic in the world of Abarat.

©2002 Clive Barker; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Skilled at fantasy, Barker throws plenty of thrills and chills at readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a story well worth hearing." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (308 )
5 star
 (109)
4 star
 (86)
3 star
 (75)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
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Overall
4.0 (129 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (123 )
5 star
 (54)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Azizul Ipoh, PerakMalaysia 04-13-05
    Azizul Ipoh, PerakMalaysia 04-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dark Fairy Tale"

    Abarat it unlike any of Clive Barker's other works that I have seen. It is a fairytale-like story with adult elements like dark twists and freakish characters who is good and evil undefined leaving you to guess everyone?s true intentions. Abarat is world with endless possibilities and this book a great start for a series.

    The closest thing I could compare Abarat is, to American McGee?s Alice In Wonderland the computer game. Very enjoyable, kept me hooked till the end. Like a good videogame that is satisfying and begs a sequel.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Houston, TX, United States 09-19-08
    Paul Houston, TX, United States 09-19-08 Member Since 2002

    I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Weird for the sake of weirdity..."

    Great little book. Far out story line. Great detail. The narrator does an excellent job of telling the story of Candy Quackenbush and her amazingly weird adventure. Most writers borrow from other stories to create their own works... Clive breaks out of the mold every time he puts ink to paper.

    Everthing about this book seems to be deliberately original in thought and different than anything I've ever read. He appears to be the type of author that likes to ask the unnusual "what if" questions about reality and then builds the fantastic on that "what if" until he has a story, making him similar to Ray Bradbury in a lot of ways...

    In this story, the thought is: "What if there's an unknown and unremarkable town somewhere in the Midwest, we'll call it "Chicken Town", that was actually something completely different and fantastic in it's past. What if it's past is so completely out of sync with reality that nobody believes it or they have forgotten it as just another silly story because it doesn't fit with the mundane-ness of the town as it is now? What if a child is the only person with a mind open enough to truly discover the town's past?

    This is the building block upon which rests "Abarat". Great story for adults and kids. It is calisthenics for the imaginations of children and adults alike.

    There are some death scenes in the story and some of the characters may be too freaky or scary for the youngest of minds.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Greenville, NC, USA 03-14-05
    Richard Greenville, NC, USA 03-14-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Abarat = Very Entertaining Listen"

    When I first downloaded and listened to Abarat, I was expecting a very dark and scary tale since I associate Barker with both of these traits (based on movies I've seen based on some of his works), but the book was not at all scary or dark. Abarat has the feel of an unusual fairy tale written for an adult audience. I found Abarat very entertaining and I highly recommend it to everyone- horror fan or not.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Fabel Lancaster, PA, United States 06-04-12
    Scott Fabel Lancaster, PA, United States 06-04-12 Member Since 2008

    I'm a corporate training consultant and adjunct professor who loves to read! I'm always looking for the next big thing.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a World!"

    The first time I read this book, I thought, "Now, why didn't I think of that??" I love the idea of a world in which each island represents a different hour of the day. This book is Clive Barker at the top of his game. It's incredibly well written, and I think that there's a piece of Candy Quackenbush in all of us. Although Barker wrote this as a young-adult story, I believe that it can easily hold the interest of an adult, too. There are countless stories that could be told about the Abarat, and I look forward to many other sequels in this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Ogden, UT, United States 05-21-10
    Daniel Ogden, UT, United States 05-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you like comedy and fantasy....."

    This was amusing and funny. I somewhat liked the idea of the story
    but didn't feel it measured up to Barkers other books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wallace Austint, TX, United States 04-12-08
    Wallace Austint, TX, United States 04-12-08 Member Since 2005
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    8
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    "Bedtime Story for adults"

    Halfway between Anthony's Xanth and Gaimon's Coraline, Abarat is too mature for kids; it's just right to rediscover the elusive feeling that only a well-told fairy tale used to provide. Cozy, hypnotic fantasy- enjoy this one on a long car trip, or on the couch with a glass of wine.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Mountain Home, ID, United States 10-02-05
    Debbie Mountain Home, ID, United States 10-02-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable"

    I enjoyed this audiobook. It does have a fairy-tale feel, and you should be aware that it has a sequel, so expect a sudden ending with no conclusion. Unlike the other reviewers, I feel it is definitely similar to the author's other works, just not his most popular or commonly known ones. The unusual characters reminded me of "Cabal" and the overall feeling of unreality and the matter-of-fact transitions to & from the various islands and the "real world" felt like "Great and Secret Show."

    This book wasn't fantastic, not the best book I've ever read, not even Clive Barker's best, but it was enjoyable and passed the time quite pleasantly. The book has a way of skimming over darker issues so that it seems like a light tale suitable for children, but in the tradition of all fairy tales, certain scenes still leave you with a feeling of unease, as if something more terrible actually happened but the author wanted to spare you the details.

    The narration was the same, good not great, and nothing to complain about.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Traci Redmond, WA, USA 10-10-06
    Traci Redmond, WA, USA 10-10-06 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No sir, I don't like it."

    I love fantasy and sci-fi books so I was excited to listen to this Clive Barker creation. It was rated so highly here on audible I was enthusiastic to try it out--but I just couldn't get into the book. I didn't really like any of the characters. I didn't care of they lived or died. I found my mind wandering, even during very key scenes and battles. That has never happened to me with any other book (and I've listed to well over a hundred). The writing is a bit simplistic. The dialog between characters seems trite. The story doesn't go anywhere. It took me 3 different attempts to finish the book (restarting from the beginning each time) since I just didn't care. Finally the reader is not well suited to this type of book. His voice is low and gravelly and he doesn't have much in the way of different voices for different characters. He definitely isn't a good pick to be the voice of a young girl either. I can recommend "Snow Crash" if you want a good adventure with great writing and an excellent reader.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stephen dillon melbourne 06-23-14
    stephen dillon melbourne 06-23-14 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    "Not a kids' book!! Unless they're awesome kids :)"
    What did you love best about Abarat?

    This is Clive Barker's Lord of The Rings- his Narnia- his Star Wars saga- his land of 'Oz' and his 'Never Never land'- Just add a twist of the dark and macabre and you have the idea...


    What did you like best about this story?

    It draws you in from the word go; empathising with the bored, alienated and disenchanted Candy, you are transported with her into the mysteries that lie just beneath the surface of this world and the next. Just be careful what you wish for!


    Have you listened to any of Richard Ferrone’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He's perfect for the part.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, and yes. And more importantly; it made me think.


    Any additional comments?

    Too many to capture here. I love this book, I love the world that Clive has created, and the underlying commentary on our own world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eva Hardinsburg, IN, United States 04-23-14
    Eva Hardinsburg, IN, United States 04-23-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not quite what I expected from Clive Barker"
    Where does Abarat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    While I enjoyed Abarat, I can't in good conscience place it high on my list. Maybe somewhere around the middle. It was entertaining, in some places it was predictable, while in other places I found it to be droll. Which was my biggest disappointment. I've never read anything from this author that left me feeling less than intrigued and usually confused but always curious.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    You could tell it was part of a series. Or perhaps if you were a TV buff we'd have to say that this was the ending of the first of three nights of a particular mini series.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    hmmmmm this is hard because there really weren't any favorites for me. If I had to pick something it was perhaps the introduction to the sea card players.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Unfortuanatly I can't say that there were any parts that were moving. Parts that should have been moving tended to be more.........predictable than anything.


    Any additional comments?

    I have reread this review and just feel awful about it. It's not that this isn't a good listen. It has been satisfactory. I just had extremely high hopes for it. I'm going to read/listen to the second book and see if I have any better luck with it. Cross your fingers, I've certainly crossed mine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 19 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Steve
    Cavan, Ireland
    7/25/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Abarat begins!"

    Clive Barker has been one of my favourite authors for more than 15 years. He has written some truly excellent fantasy books, like Imajica, and Weaveworld; so he is no stranger to the genre. In This story he really shows his imagination to be vast, showing us extraordinary scenes on each of the islands Candy lands on (there are 25 In the Abarat).
    The problem with the story is the getting from one scene to the next; it feels forced.
    Once we're in the action, Barker keeps us in his grasp building the tension nicely. When there's no action and we're just dealing with characters, it all falls down. Candy makes so many crazy decisions, on no more than a whim, that it starts to become ridiculous; even for fantasy. Nor is she the only character to do this. Characters who have spent their lives as slaves, just cast away their lives (no problem there), but are immediately confident people who need no adjusting whatsoever to their new situation, and have no problem pledging themselves to Candy, after knowing her for 10 minutes.
    Barker has created a successful series with Abarat and this first instalment has some excellent parts to it, I can only hope the next books improve on the story part and not just deal with the action. This is geared towards children, though the clunky feel to the story should not be excused on the strength of that. It's not a bad listen for kids, and it's written with the intention of keeping the adults reading the story, interested. Abarat does just that, but to be honest; it doesn't have a patch on the Potter series.
    Mr. Barker should take a leaf from JK Rowling's book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Danielle
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    1/13/12
    Overall
    "Strange and compelling"

    I love this book, I've read it, heard it, read and heard together.
    I love the strange world that is portrayed, I love the interaction of the characters.
    This is worth a listen if you like something different.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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