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Publisher's Summary

It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold. When the answer comes, it's not one she expects. Out of nowhere comes a wave, and Candy, led by a man called John Mischief (whose brothers live on the horns on his head), leaps into the surging waters and is carried away.

Where? To the Abarat: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from The Great Head that sits in the mysterious twilight waters of Eight in the Evening, to the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of Gorgossium, the island of Midnight, ruled over by the Prince of Midnight himself, Christopher Carrion.

Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she is 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.

Don't miss any of the magic in the world of Abarat.
©2002 Clive Barker (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Skilled at fantasy, Barker throws plenty of thrills and chills at readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a story well worth hearing." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Abarat, Book 1

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Weird for the sake of weirdity...

Great little book. Far out story line. Great detail. The narrator does an excellent job of telling the story of Candy Quackenbush and her amazingly weird adventure. Most writers borrow from other stories to create their own works... Clive breaks out of the mold every time he puts ink to paper.

Everthing about this book seems to be deliberately original in thought and different than anything I've ever read. He appears to be the type of author that likes to ask the unnusual "what if" questions about reality and then builds the fantastic on that "what if" until he has a story, making him similar to Ray Bradbury in a lot of ways...

In this story, the thought is: "What if there's an unknown and unremarkable town somewhere in the Midwest, we'll call it "Chicken Town", that was actually something completely different and fantastic in it's past. What if it's past is so completely out of sync with reality that nobody believes it or they have forgotten it as just another silly story because it doesn't fit with the mundane-ness of the town as it is now? What if a child is the only person with a mind open enough to truly discover the town's past?

This is the building block upon which rests "Abarat". Great story for adults and kids. It is calisthenics for the imaginations of children and adults alike.

There are some death scenes in the story and some of the characters may be too freaky or scary for the youngest of minds.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Dark Fairy Tale

Abarat it unlike any of Clive Barker's other works that I have seen. It is a fairytale-like story with adult elements like dark twists and freakish characters who is good and evil undefined leaving you to guess everyone?s true intentions. Abarat is world with endless possibilities and this book a great start for a series.

The closest thing I could compare Abarat is, to American McGee?s Alice In Wonderland the computer game. Very enjoyable, kept me hooked till the end. Like a good videogame that is satisfying and begs a sequel.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Abarat = Very Entertaining Listen

When I first downloaded and listened to Abarat, I was expecting a very dark and scary tale since I associate Barker with both of these traits (based on movies I've seen based on some of his works), but the book was not at all scary or dark. Abarat has the feel of an unusual fairy tale written for an adult audience. I found Abarat very entertaining and I highly recommend it to everyone- horror fan or not.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Worst book I've listened to!

This is the first review I've written because I feel I need to let listener's know how terrible this book is! The story rambles on with preschool names for characters such as duh-duh. The storyline comes to no conclusion or wind down before ending. I didn't know that it was part of a series because the description doesn't make you aware that the plot (if that is what you want to call it) is carried on to the next book. I was very dissapointed...expecting the name of Clive Barker to be a good listen at the least.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Bedtime Story for adults

Halfway between Anthony's Xanth and Gaimon's Coraline, Abarat is too mature for kids; it's just right to rediscover the elusive feeling that only a well-told fairy tale used to provide. Cozy, hypnotic fantasy- enjoy this one on a long car trip, or on the couch with a glass of wine.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

No sir, I don't like it.

I love fantasy and sci-fi books so I was excited to listen to this Clive Barker creation. It was rated so highly here on audible I was enthusiastic to try it out--but I just couldn't get into the book. I didn't really like any of the characters. I didn't care of they lived or died. I found my mind wandering, even during very key scenes and battles. That has never happened to me with any other book (and I've listed to well over a hundred). The writing is a bit simplistic. The dialog between characters seems trite. The story doesn't go anywhere. It took me 3 different attempts to finish the book (restarting from the beginning each time) since I just didn't care. Finally the reader is not well suited to this type of book. His voice is low and gravelly and he doesn't have much in the way of different voices for different characters. He definitely isn't a good pick to be the voice of a young girl either. I can recommend "Snow Crash" if you want a good adventure with great writing and an excellent reader.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a World!

The first time I read this book, I thought, "Now, why didn't I think of that??" I love the idea of a world in which each island represents a different hour of the day. This book is Clive Barker at the top of his game. It's incredibly well written, and I think that there's a piece of Candy Quackenbush in all of us. Although Barker wrote this as a young-adult story, I believe that it can easily hold the interest of an adult, too. There are countless stories that could be told about the Abarat, and I look forward to many other sequels in this series.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible story, but the audio...

This is an amazing story that can not be matched in its uniqueness. I'd highly HIGHLY recommend the physical book as a counterpart, as Clive Barker did paintings of many of the characters, and places.
The audio is bad. Mostly it sounds like it was recorded with a 1970s grade school tape recorder, and then left next to a furnace. The sound quality changes from chapter to chapter, and the narrator isn't all THAT great at differentiating character voices, with a couple exceptions. (yes, as a matter of fact i COULD do it better)

The story is so good though, it's worth the sandpapery delivery. This is a real gem.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

This book is awesome

The world of Abarat is detailed and charming, both good and evil characters are alive and weird in many ways (I especially love it in Barker books). Also, the narrator is divine. I mean it! I did hear those different voices and felt those emotions Richard Ferrone was performing. This book is not as epic as, say, Holy Bible. But the world this book speaks of is fascinating, unusual and passionate. I can't wait for the Absolute Midnight to come!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful & Fun!

This certainly isn't the "usual" Clive Barker stuff, but it's a wonderful story full of twists and turns, magical characters a nd wondrous new worlds. Great characters, I found it hard to stop listening!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 07-25-13

Abarat begins!

Clive Barker has been one of my favourite authors for more than 15 years. He has written some truly excellent fantasy books, like Imajica, and Weaveworld; so he is no stranger to the genre. In This story he really shows his imagination to be vast, showing us extraordinary scenes on each of the islands Candy lands on (there are 25 In the Abarat).
The problem with the story is the getting from one scene to the next; it feels forced.
Once we're in the action, Barker keeps us in his grasp building the tension nicely. When there's no action and we're just dealing with characters, it all falls down. Candy makes so many crazy decisions, on no more than a whim, that it starts to become ridiculous; even for fantasy. Nor is she the only character to do this. Characters who have spent their lives as slaves, just cast away their lives (no problem there), but are immediately confident people who need no adjusting whatsoever to their new situation, and have no problem pledging themselves to Candy, after knowing her for 10 minutes.
Barker has created a successful series with Abarat and this first instalment has some excellent parts to it, I can only hope the next books improve on the story part and not just deal with the action. This is geared towards children, though the clunky feel to the story should not be excused on the strength of that. It's not a bad listen for kids, and it's written with the intention of keeping the adults reading the story, interested. Abarat does just that, but to be honest; it doesn't have a patch on the Potter series.
Mr. Barker should take a leaf from JK Rowling's book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Danielle
  • 01-13-12

Strange and compelling

I love this book, I've read it, heard it, read and heard together.
I love the strange world that is portrayed, I love the interaction of the characters.
This is worth a listen if you like something different.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vron
  • 08-10-17

Amazing Story, Well Read- sound editing rough

I was swept away by this story. In particular- I found the names Clive Barker uses in Abarat are lyricle - and his world is vastly different to any I've read about. Can't wait to listen to book 2.

The narrator was great too- he even sings for us, which I'm thankful he did. Sound editing- on the other hand- was showing it's age. Sometimes sound jumped up in volume- also you could hear some cuts.

1 person found this helpful