Thursday, January 31, 2008

Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker (4/5 stars)

This is the second Abarat book by Clive Barker and starts shortly after where the last one left off. I listened to this book on audio book and, like audio book of Abarat, the audio book was very well done.

Once again we follow Candy on her efforts to elude Christopher Carrion. Candy bumps into a cast of great new quirky characters as she tries to flee Carrion’s minions. John Mischief and crew are still trying to find Fennigan Hob. Will Christopher Carrion be able to bring about Permanent Midnight? What is Candy Quackenbush’s real identity? These are all things that are visited in this book.

This is a great book, it is very creative, and still reminds me a bit of Alice in Wonderland. This book is definitely written by a horror author; there is a sort of cloud of evil or despair over the story as you read it. While this is a great book, really young children would probably find it too scary and some of the ending fight scenes are pretty-darn gory.

I really love Barker’s bad guys. I just can’t emphasize enough how much depth the bad guys have. Especially with Christopher Carrion; you can never figure out if he is really bad to the core or if maybe he was just born into a bad family. The ending surprised me a bit, as the whole mystery surrounding Candy didn’t end up exactly how I thought it would.

There were a couple things that really disappointed me; this book still had a very open ending. There is a lot in Abarat that needs to be resolved at the close of the book. That was very disappointing to me since I haven’t seen (or heard of plans for) another Abarat book. I didn’t like how it ended for Candy’s mother either. I guess I just have to live with that since Barker seems more about realism than happy endings. I was also curious as to why Rojo Pixler and the Commexo kid weren’t mentioned much in this book. In the last book Rojo looked like a big contender for a parallel bad guy; that was dropped in this book.

All the above being said; this was still a very good book and a great follow-up to Abarat.

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