Read Abarat by Clive Barker Free Online
Book Title: Abarat|
The author of the book: Clive Barker
Date of issue: August 30th 2011
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 990 KB
City - Country: No data
ISBN 13: 9780062044013
Loaded: 2432 times
Reader ratings: 7.1
Read full description of the books:
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 brothers grow from horns on his head) to Rojo Pixler, entrepreneur and owner of the industrialized island of Pyon, to Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight, who wears a water-filled collar swimming with nightmares.
It takes place in the Abarat; an archipelago of 24 islands, where on each island is a different, unchanging time of day. (And there's one mysterious 25th island.) Each island contains its own wonders; the Nonce (three o'clock in the afternoon) is the home of dragons; Pyon (3 o'clock in the morning) was recently industrialized and is the location of Commexo City; the Gorgossium, Isle of Midnight, is perpetually shrouded in red mist and home to the evil Carrion family.
Click here for a bigger picture.
And that's what this book is about. Supported by more than 100 vivid, colorful illustrations, Abarat is a book about, well, the Abarat. It's fascinating, lavishly produced, and interesting in it's minutae. It's full of delicious details and designs; for example, look at the next picture upside-down.
But it's about not much else, which leads me to the problems.
(As a side note: I'd also like to mention that I love names and the ones here delighted me. Here are some: Mespa, Gorgossium, the Nonce, Mater Motley, Deuxdeux, The Yebba Dim Day, Soma Plume, Hoobarokus, Speckle Frew, Qualm Hah, the Requiax, and many more.)
Here's why Abarat is a bad book:
Abarat's plot is an excuse for a tour through the islands. This would be fine if the book was still interesting minus the setting; alas, it is not. In fact:
Here is basic plot of Abarat: Candy goes to the Abarat, Carion/Other villains try to catch her, Candy escapes, meets new friends, is attacked by more baddies, escapes, rinse, repeat.
Of course, it's not bad as it sounds - there's multiple villains, each with his or her own agenda, so there's always some tension over what each villain wants with Candy, and how Candy will get away this time. Besides, there are other subplots, such as the one where John Mischief helps a crew search for a guy named Finnegan Hobb. But in the end, nothing really happens. The plot is very muddy - Candy's goal is to... escape the baddies? Return home? Defeat Carrion? And as for John Mischief: we never really understand where and how he'll look for Hobb. It's all very boring, especially with the lack of character.
Ah, the lack of character. There's not much to say about it other than two things:
1. They're flat, and their colorful exterior makes them seem flatter.
2. Candy is given too much time. Developing special abilities? Don't care. Sure, she has my sympathy, and I'm (kind of) rooting for her, but the only way to make a powerful action scene is for us to understand all/most parties and to care for some of them; thus, the scene makes our hearts pound with excitement and concern. The action scenes here bogged down the story.
As for the prose: it's serviceable, and at times elegant, at times awkward. The thing that bothered me most was that capital letters were used to indicate shouting.
And for this last criticism... it's hard to explain, so I quote my friend Kirkus Reviews:
"Yet there is a peculiar lifelessness to all this imaginative fecundity; fascinating in its minutiae, the world fails to cohere about a compelling narrative or charismatic central character. Like the dozens of illustrations by the author, it dazzles with color and detail, but on closer inspection proves curiously flat, all surface and no depth. Still, with three promised sequels on the way, many readers will, like Candy, want to “trust [the sea] Mama Izabella” to take them somewhere worth the trip."
...and that's all I have to say about Abarat.
So will you trust Mama Izabella to take you on a ride?
Recommendations: If you love the bizarre and are looking for a book that explodes with color and otherworldlyness, (presumably to combat boredom), and wouldn't mind the flat characters and meandering plot, you might enjoy the Abarat.
If not, here are some stellar fantasy titles I recommend:
- Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Lips Touch Three Times. Like Abarat, these are "sensation books" - books which introduce you to otherworlds, which burst with sensations, books which might be short on depth but are abundant with beauty. In these two cases, the prose is also lush and gorgeous, characters have some depth, and the world rings true. (MY REVIEW of Smoke&Bone)
- Possibly Keturah and Lord Death; it's another "sensation book," this time presented as a quiet fairy tale. Once again, it has an exciting plot and delicious prose, but lacks depth and the world has holes. (MY REVIEW)
- Sophisticated fantasy for Middle Grade: The Well Between the Worlds and The Folk Keeper
- Sophisticated fantasy for Young Adult: Seraphina, Seven Realms (MY REVIEW), and Gifts
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Read information about the authorClive 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 was in Liverpool in 1975 that he met his first partner, John Gregson, with whom he lived until 1986. Barker's second long-term relationship, with photographer David Armstrong, ended in 2009.
In 2003, Clive Barker received The Davidson/Valentini Award at the 15th GLAAD Media Awards. This award is presented "to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individual who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for any of those communities". While Barker is critical of organized religion, he has stated that he is a believer in both God and the afterlife, and that the Bible influences his work.
Fans have noticed of late that Barker's voice has become gravelly and coarse. He says in a December 2008 online interview that this is due to polyps in his throat which were so severe that a doctor told him he was taking in ten percent of the air he was supposed to have been getting. He has had two surgeries to remove them and believes his resultant voice is an improvement over how it was prior to the surgeries. He said he did not have cancer and has given up cigars. On August 27, 2010, Barker underwent surgery yet again to remove new polyp growths from his throat. In early February 2012 Barker fell into a coma after a dentist visit led to blood poisoning. Barker remained in a coma for eleven days but eventually came out of it. Fans were notified on his Twitter page about some of the experience and that Barker was recovering after the ordeal, but left with many strange visions.
Barker is one of the leading authors of contemporary horror/fantasy, writing in the horror genre early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1 – 6), and the Faustian novel The Damnation Game (1985). Later he moved towards modern-day fantasy and urban fantasy with horror elements in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), the world-spanning Imajica (1991) and Sacrament (1996), bringing in the deeper, richer concepts of reality, the nature of the mind and dreams, and the power of words and memories.
Barker has a keen interest in movie production, although his films have received mixed receptions. He wrote the screenplays for Underworld (aka Transmutations – 1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986), both directed by George Pavlou. Displeased by how his material was handled, he moved to directing with Hellraiser (1987), based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. His early movies, the shorts The Forbidden and Salome, are experimental art movies with surrealist elements, which have been re-released together to moderate critical acclaim. After his film Nightbreed (Cabal), which was widely considered to be a flop, Barker returned to write and direct Lord of Illusions. Barker was an executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters, which received major critical acclaim.
Barker is a prolific visual artist working in a variety of media, often illustrating his own books. His paintings have been seen first on the covers of his official fan club magazine, Dread, published by Fantaco in the early Nineties, as well on the covers of the collections of his plays, Incarnations (1995) and Forms of Heaven (1996), as well as on the second printing of the original UK publications of his Books of Blood series.
A longtime comics fan, Barker achieved his dream of publishing his own superhero books when Marvel Comics launched the Razorline imprint in 1993. Based on detailed premises, titles and lead characters he created specifically for this, the four interrelated titles — set outside the Marvel universe — were Ectokid,
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