16 August 2010

'Abarat' Book Review

I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but it was good. Looking at the page number and seeing it shoot from 76 to 184 in what seemed like a second told me I was loving it. I don't like series of books a lot, because if you can't get the sequel or it isn't out yet, I want to know the rest of the story, but end up just forgetting about it and moving on to something else and by the time the sequel is available I'll have forgotten the first book. Anyway, the first two Abarat books were in the library so I took them out. This is the first book by Clive Barker I have read, but I'll read more.
From the blurb: 
It begins in the most boring pace in the world: Chickentown U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush...Out of nowhere comes a wave and Candy...leaps into the surging waters...Where? To the ABARAT: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day...As Candy journeys from one place to another...she begins to realise something. She has been here before.
Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she is here to help save the Abarat...She's a strange heroine, she knows. But this is a strange world.
And in the Abarat all things are possible.
From the ambigram title to the beautiful illustrations inside, I knew that a lot of effort had been put in to make this book a work of art. And it was. The imagination of it shone though, and the descriptions (and paintings) of otherworldly creatures were amazing.
At times the characters seemed to blur together and their dialogue was unrealistic. I appreciate this took a lot of effort, but it seems Clive Barker spends a long time on his novels. So there is time to make it a bit tighter. I don't know if I just pick things out more easily now or some writing is falling by the wayside, but if I notice some quirks and inconsistencies it distracts and annoys me.
I did really enjoy this and I would recommend it, though it is thick and heavy and therefore hard to read in bed (well the one I had was a hardcover, I don't know about the paperback). Another thing I don't like about some science fiction and fantasy are hard-to-pronounce names; my brain stumbles over them even if they can be sounded out and just look hard to say.
Plus, look out for Abarat 2; I've not finished it yet, but expect the review soon.

I give it:

Plot: ****
Characters: ****
Voice: ****
Dialogue: ***

Which means...an even four stars
 Amazon listing here.

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