Book Review: Abarat

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Clive Barker
DNF (did not finish)

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes&Noble

Candy lives in Chickentown USA: the most boring place in the world, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future may hold. She is soon to find out: swept out of our world by a giant wave, she finds herself in another place entirely…

The Abarat: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of the island of Midnight, ruled by Christopher Carrion.

Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she has been brought 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. (Goodreads)

Well, guys. I just couldn’t do it. I’ve heard so many good things about this book, but it just didn’t resonate with me at all, and I just can’t keep going. The concept is so, so cool. A world where every island is a different hour of the day. Creatures made of magic and color. Characters that travel on waves… have brothers growing out of horns on their head… observe the world through squid hats…

But I just have to give this one a DNF. Why, you ask? Well…

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The pacing is just way too slow for me. Things seem to drag on so slowly, even during the exciting parts. I’m over halfway into the book right now, and I’m just… bored. I’m not interested in any of the characters, and I honestly just don’t care what happens to them. They all have their own stories to tell, but the stories are pretty flat and lifeless. The most interesting character is Carrion. The Lord of Midnight. The Nightmare Man. But there’s just not enough of him to make me want to continue, and I only just started getting a glimpse into his backstory around page 200. Give me a book solely focused on him and maybe I’d finish that. But I just don’t care about any of the other characters and I just get so antsy and ready to move on when reading about them.

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There’s also a lot of unnecessary explanations throughout the book. This is my problem with a lot of YA novels. So many of them have “that means…” lines, where they further explain the previous line that wasn’t hard to understand in the first place. Like they don’t think their audience will get it. Yes, I know these books are meant for younger audiences, but come on, just because they’re younger doesn’t mean they’re stupid. It just really bothers me when authors essentially talk down to their readers like this. Like they’re incapable of understanding on their own. No thanks.

One thing I will say is that the artwork is amazing. The story focuses on a lot of weird and unusual people and places, and the illustrations are not only beautiful but also help to better visualize what’s going on. They’re all so colorful and unique and interesting and just wow. I mean wow. Clive Barker both wrote and illustrated this book, and the illustrations are definitely his strong point. I want nothing more than to have his artwork scattered throughout my house. I often found myself transfixed on the images, unable to continue with the story because there was just so many interesting things going on in the pictures.

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Unfortunately, that’s not enough to keep me going. I’ve been trying to push through, but I’ve been reading this book on and off for months now and I feel like if I’m not loving it by now, there’s no point in continuing. I have so many other unread books in my house, and I just don’t want to spend the time forcing myself through a book that I just don’t like. I’m pretty disappointed, as this book was recommended by a handful of friends who have really good taste in books, but I’m just not feeling it. Every book can’t be for everyone.

Sorry to all you Abarat lovers out there. Maybe I’ll give it another go in the future. Maybe I’ll try and read a chapter at a time every so often and see what happens. But for now, I have to move on.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Abarat”

  1. Hey ho, who’s back? 😀 Sorry you couldn’t finish it, but it’s better not to waste your time, really, when there are so many awesome books out there! I’ve only read Books of Blood by Barker, and some stories were truly amazing, some plain boring. I deeply respect him, but he’s a special niche writer with a cult following, and it’s just not for everyone. The illustrations are amazing though, kudos to him for that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Finally! 😅 Exaaaactly. No point in trying to finish something you’re not enjoying. I don’t want to write him off as an author entirely, so I’ll probably check out his other stuff some other time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay, hope you’ll post at least once a week! 🙂 Right, I might try and do that in the future instead of torturing myself. I’ve only DNFed 1 book ever. :S No, don’t, he is the father of Hellraiser after all. 🙂


      2. Haha look forward to it! 😀 If you mean you didn’t know I only dnf’ed one book, well I get it, it comes as a shock. xD If you mean about Barker – yeah, both Candyman and Hellraiser were based on his stories, I don’t know which one was creepier. 😧 He’s involved in all kinds of horror stuff – movies, games, comics, really great guy. 😊


      3. Well I’ve read the short story or novella (can’t remember) that the Hellraiser is based on in 2006 I think, and I loved it then, then the Books of Blood in college and it was a mixed bag leaning towards good, so I think I’ll have to revisit the first one now, as an adult to judge it better. 😀 So I’ll say the stories that were amazing from Books of Blood. 🙂 I also tried Imajica in college, but it was too long and weird at that point, I might revisit it. (Hmm that’s another dnf there xD). He’s a really weird writer. 🙂


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