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Abarat by Clive Barker

Abarat by Clive Barker, known for his famous adult horror series Hellraiser, is a bizarre, fantastical book series that fully immerses the reader into a world of the weird. According to the main character, Candy Quackenbush, this story begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, Minnesota, USA, a landlocked farming town famous for – you guessed it- chickens. She fantasizes about leaving for the ocean; little does she know that the ocean would come to her. Before her eyes, an ocean of grass transforms into an ocean of salt water, across which she journey's with the mysterious creature called Mischief, into the world of the Abarat.

Mischief and Candy find themselves on the run in the Abarat, where words create flying machines and a sentient body of water hosts card games on it's waves, from the villainous Mendelson Shape, protecting an orb that links their two worlds. In her journey, she travels across different time zones (literally entire islands set in one stationary time) meeting the crazy and the creepy. Of course darkness only lingers in Candy's peripherals until she finds herself on Midnight, and discovers a plot to end daylight across the Abarat.

For those who have read or are interested in reading Hellraiser, this novel is a nice introduction to Clive Barker's writings. It is classified as a young adult, so it is more focused on the adventure and the character development than any sort of deep themes or intense horror like Hellraiser. Even with this fact in mind, it is an excellent read with impressive world building, unique characters and setting, and a fresh plot that makes the book impossible to put down.

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