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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Clive Barker, the sultan of fantastic horror, has ventured out with another project aimed at younger audiences, this time a weighty and spellbinding first book in a series dubbed The Books of the Abarat.
Candy Quackenbush is a troubled yet good-natured Minnesotan girl, but when she ventures into an empty field one day and meets John Mischief, a creature with seven extra talking heads on his antlers, she's rendered awestruck and knows she's bound for a heap of adventure. Soon the two are narrowly escaping a dark hunter sent by the evil Lord Carrion and diving into the Sea of Izabella, a vast ocean containing 25 islands that stand for each hour of the day, plus a mystical Twenty-Fifth Hour. As Candy embarks on her adventure throughout this mind-bending archipelago, she visits the average citizens of Yebba Dim Day, joins a clan of tarrie-cats and slothlike Malingo to battle the dastardly Kaspar Wolfswinkel, and even gets a horrific taste of the Twenty-Fifth Hour itself.
Barker's first installment will send you excitedly jumping headfirst into the unknown, and you'll be itching to read more. An introduction to a fantastic world, Abarat introduces readers to an abundance of characters who play both major and secondary roles, but all seem to have a reason for being included -- not necessarily revealed here -- which makes the plot that much more suspenseful and thrilling. Candy is also a likable heroine, and her gutsy yet modest demeanor is an interesting fit with Abarat's quirky and surprising creatures. Complete with more than 100 pieces of color artwork by Barker himself, this is the start of an adventurous new series sure to win over Barker fans. Matt Warner