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Drei Menschen auf der Suche nach dem Schlüssel zum magischen Reich Imagica.
Die Erde ist nur eine von fünf kosmischen Domänen - was ihre Bewohner längst vergessen haben.
Während sich vier von ihnen zusammengeschlossen haben, existiert die Erde in Unwissenheit am Rande des Ozeans der Geheimnisse und Mysterien, die nur wenigen Eingeweihten bekannt sind.

1069 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1991

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About the author

Clive Barker

702 books13.3k followers
Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It was in Liverpool in 1975 that he met his first partner, John Gregson, with whom he lived until 1986. Barker's second long-term relationship, with photographer David Armstrong, ended in 2009.

In 2003, Clive Barker received The Davidson/Valentini Award at the 15th GLAAD Media Awards. This award is presented "to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individual who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for any of those communities". While Barker is critical of organized religion, he has stated that he is a believer in both God and the afterlife, and that the Bible influences his work.

Fans have noticed of late that Barker's voice has become gravelly and coarse. He says in a December 2008 online interview that this is due to polyps in his throat which were so severe that a doctor told him he was taking in ten percent of the air he was supposed to have been getting. He has had two surgeries to remove them and believes his resultant voice is an improvement over how it was prior to the surgeries. He said he did not have cancer and has given up cigars. On August 27, 2010, Barker underwent surgery yet again to remove new polyp growths from his throat. In early February 2012 Barker fell into a coma after a dentist visit led to blood poisoning. Barker remained in a coma for eleven days but eventually came out of it. Fans were notified on his Twitter page about some of the experience and that Barker was recovering after the ordeal, but left with many strange visions.

Barker is one of the leading authors of contemporary horror/fantasy, writing in the horror genre early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1 – 6), and the Faustian novel The Damnation Game (1985). Later he moved towards modern-day fantasy and urban fantasy with horror elements in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), the world-spanning Imajica (1991) and Sacrament (1996), bringing in the deeper, richer concepts of reality, the nature of the mind and dreams, and the power of words and memories.

Barker has a keen interest in movie production, although his films have received mixed receptions. He wrote the screenplays for Underworld (aka Transmutations – 1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986), both directed by George Pavlou. Displeased by how his material was handled, he moved to directing with Hellraiser (1987), based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. His early movies, the shorts The Forbidden and Salome, are experimental art movies with surrealist elements, which have been re-released together to moderate critical acclaim. After his film Nightbreed (Cabal), which was widely considered to be a flop, Barker returned to write and direct Lord of Illusions. Barker was an executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters, which received major critical acclaim.

Barker is a prolific visual artist working in a variety of media, often illustrating his own books. His paintings have been seen first on the covers of his official fan club magazine, Dread, published by Fantaco in the early Nineties, as well on the covers of the collections of his plays, Incarnations (1995) and Forms of Heaven (1996), as well as on the second printing of the original UK publications of his Books of Blood series.

A longtime comics fan, Barker achieved his dream of publishing his own superhero books when Marvel Comics launched the Razorline imprint in 1993. Based on detailed premises, titles and lead characters he created specifically for this, the four interrelated titles — set outside the Marvel universe — were Ectokid,

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,078 reviews
Profile Image for Michael || TheNeverendingTBR.
479 reviews190 followers
October 11, 2021
This book is absolutely brilliant, it's as complex as they get, very very strange, wonderfully written and just goes to show that Cliver Barker is one of the greatest imaginers of our times.

I'd say it's his best book, if you're into long books that are on a biblical scale and you have patience to see a complex story though - there's a good chance you'll love this book! ✅
Profile Image for Chris.
341 reviews973 followers
February 9, 2008
The world is not quite what we always thought it was. But this is a Clive Barker book, so that goes without saying.

The Imajica is the whole of creation, the true world, four-fifths of which we've never seen. Earth, the Fifth Dominion, has long been separate from the other four. How it got split away, held back from the other Reconciled Dominions by the horrible netherworld of the In Ovo, no one knows. But throughout history there have been Maestros, men of great and terrible power, who have tried to unite the Fifth with the other Dominions, finally making the Imajica whole. The last of these was the Maestro Sartori, a raconteur and man of power in 18th century London. With his acolytes and his apostles he tried to Reconcile the dominions, and his efforts ended in disaster.

Two hundred years later, the time has come again to try the great work of bringing the Imajica together. But there are no more Maestros - the Tabula Rasa, descendants of the former Maestro's surviving followers, have done their best to wipe Britain clean of all things magical.

Some things, however, are too great to be stopped. The Imajica longs to be whole, and its long road to reconciliation begins again....

Between this and Weaveworld, Barker has proven himself to be the master of what can be called, for lack of a better term, the multiple climax. Characters and events are drawn to a head with all the tension and excitement that you would expect from the climactic finale. People live, people die, others barely escape with their lives. But the story isn't over, oh no....

This is a hell of a read, too. Barker's playing with some heavy themes - men versus women, parents versus children, acceptance of the numinous versus the reflexive rejection of that which we don't understand.... There's something for everyone, in other words.

This is a big 'un. Some paperback editions split the book into two volumes, which was probably a good idea. The single volume paperback that I have is damn near falling apart. I don't know what the practical page limit is on paperbacks, but I think 1,136 is stretching it. Still, it's an enjoyable 1,136 pages, so I recommend it....
Profile Image for Kenny.
507 reviews937 followers
May 31, 2023
We’re too much ourselves. Afraid of letting go of what we are, in case we are nothing, and holding on so tight, we lose everything else.
Imajica ~~ Clive Barker

Selected by Spenky for March 2022 Big Book Read

Back in my youth, I worked at a New Age bookstore. Surprisingly, our biggest seller for nearly six months was Clive Barker’s Imajica ~~ in hardcover no less. I bought a copy and quickly forgot about it while I instead read the Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Gospel ~~ if you read my A Little Boy in Search of God: Mysticism in a Personal Light review, you'll know I was a weird kid.

20 odd years later, I finally dug out my copy of Imajica after my friend, Spenky, choose it as my March Big Book Read. WOW! What a journey.

Imajica is a brilliant, beautiful work. It's also huge ~~ but Clive Barker manages to fill each page with something compelling. This is the story of John Furie Gentle Zacharias ~~ a con man with mysterious powers, and his friend, guide, and eventual lover Pie'oh'Pah. It is also about the various people who move in and out of their lives, and how they may be affected by an event known as the Reconciliation ~~ the time for which is quickly approaching. Imajica is filled with brilliant imagery, lavish descriptions, complex characters, and an intense, epic plot. It is also a slow read with unconventional pacing.

Oh ~~ and it’s weird as fuck …


There is so much more I could say about Imajica ~~ but I’d rather you discover it on your own instead of having my voice along for the ride should you undertake this astounding journey. This is a book that deserves your attention and respect ~~ without being cluttered by someone else’s opinion.


Imajica is a book that is well worth your time. Buy it, read it, and enjoy it. Barker has crafted a hallucinatory fantasy epic with genuine surrealism and darkness to it.

Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Sarah.
326 reviews156 followers
March 21, 2021
4.5 Stars, rounded down to 4 for the sheer length of it, not the quality of the writing.

I still stand that this is very well written and enjoyable, it just took me SO long to finish it (it clocks in at over 1,000 pages!). Think I maybe could have benefitted from listening to an Audiobook version of this instead, which I very well might do in the future if I ever decide to revisit it one day.
It helped me to enjoy Imajica even more by splitting it into three parts myself.
I became a fan of Clive Barker through his horror work (more so on film), so it was quite nice and different to dive into a huge, epic sci-fi/fantasy novel by him. It does have some horror elements and some romance too. It truly is a mixed bag of genres.
There is a whole host of characters, but you do become so invested in many of them. It does seem to jump between characters and locations quite quickly, but this doesn’t make it harder to follow.
From London, England to the first - fifth dominion, our main characters hop from world to world. The most fully imagined world is that of Yzorderrex.

Gentle. Jude. Pie’oh’Pah. These are the names of our three protagonists. The built-up sexual tension between three of them is truly *something*. (you shall see what I mean upon reading it yourself!)

Reading Imajica is a unique experience, the multiverse that Barker has created is so rich and vast. It does feel as though something he is jumping between all of his different ideas a bit too quickly (as I previously mentioned), but it is long enough to sufficiently cover them all by its conclusion.
Profile Image for Stepheny.
381 reviews546 followers
May 29, 2015
Buddy Read with my brotha from anotha motha.

The only good part about this book was reading it with a friend. I honestly can't write a review because I have no fucking clue what happened, to whom it happened to, nor what dimension I was in when it occurred.

I'm thinking that in about 10 years when my brain has recovered I would like to pick up a physical copy of the book and give it a better try.

I love audiobooks and especially ones that are long- Stephen King's It is over 44 hours and I've listened to it several times! But for some reason, this one was just a bit out of my reach. I have not sworn Barker off for this, as I am sure a second reading would help, but I think I am going to be a while before I pick up another book of his.

Thanks to one of my favorite people in the world for reading this with me! :D
Profile Image for Warrengent.
134 reviews15 followers
February 27, 2020
WOW this book,what ever I say will not do it justice, an amazing story, epic in scale and characters that I will remember forever.
In the late eighties early nineties,I was to busy reading king, Hebert, lumley that I never got around to Clive Barker,what a massive mistake that was.
This was my first novel that I have read of Clive Barker, and I have been totally blown away by his imagination.
At 1136 pages long the imajica is a big book but what a story, it had me gripped from the start, work and daily chores got in the way as I found that I just wanted to have more free time to read it.
I will leave with a quote from Stephen king when he said and sums my review up perfectly "clive Barker is so good that I am literally tongue-tied "
Five massive stars.
Profile Image for Catinmybrain.
117 reviews26 followers
July 22, 2021
Imajica is the best fantasy story written in the last 40 years.

Any medium. Easily.

When I was younger I considered it Barker's greatest work. Now after reading it again I consider it one of the greatest novels ever written.

Let me explain.

A lot of fantasy worlds are large.

The writers spend enormous amounts of time creating very detailed descriptions of geography or family lineage. They create maps. They invent hundreds or thousands of characters to fill different nations, they create classes and culture, sometimes they even make new languages. And then there are the magic systems where novels can stop dead in their plot to detail how their particular brand of dark art works and how it came to exist.

What you get in the end can be as much a quest for the writer and the reader as it is for the hero. Pages upon pages of details, some extremely important, others outright superfluous. So many details they flood the mind with trivia. The work can end up looking less like a novel and more like a particularly imposing phone book.

But the largest fantasy works I've ever read are tiny and vestigial compared to Clive Barker's Imajica.

Imajica is not immense because of excessive detail or too many characters. In fact you could argue Barker's Imajica only really has three characters (or perhaps only one). It is not immense because of geography. It is immense with ideas.

Imajica is about a wealthy man named Estabrook hiring a mysterious assassin called Pie 'Oh' Pah to kill Estabrook's wife Judith. Soon Estabrook gets a case of buyer's remorse and alerts Judith's ex-lover to his plan, a womaniser named John Furie Zacharias aka Gentle. Estabrook is hoping Gentle can put a stop to it. This brings Gentle, Judith and Pie together and starts a series of revelations and sexual encounters that will change all three and set them on a path to reconciliation.

Gentle, Pie and Judith begin to unfold secrets about their lives, they learn about their deep connections to each other and to other dominions of magic and power. Hidden worlds divided from the Earth by a fearsome God called The Unbeheld aka Hapexamendios. They encounter ancient orders, monstrous killers who protect the secrets of the Unbeheld and long lost goddesses sleeping in ice and stone, waiting for their return and a chance to remake the world.

Romance, heartbreak, wild flesh-defying sex, magical showdowns, grotesque enemies, haunted limbos full of creatures both benevolent and terrifying, ruthless conquerors, and a broken God all await as you travel across the dominions of Imajica.

This book is colossal in concept and theme. In that arena Imajica towers over its contemporaries. There are a lot of fantasy novels that are supposed to be "for mature audiences" but this one actually reads like it is for a mature audience. Not just because of the sex or the romance or the gore (although there is plenty), but because of the complexity of the concepts and how they are addressed. You could write a series of books about the throwaway ideas in Imajica. It simultaneously invents its own mono-myth while deconstructing it in front of you. It takes apart the concept of the chosen one, of gods and goddesses, of pantheons, virgin births and a quest to save the world. It is a tale of worlds separated so they can be made easier to rule. Fantasy realms and people divided so that they can be controlled.

And it is decades ahead of its time. It is still ahead of the current age in my opinion. But when Imajica does finally find its audience, the world will wonder how critics and readers alike could ignore a work that is so bold and fearless.

Imajica addresses sexism and the cultural concepts of gender, while being perhaps the most sexual and gender-fluid romantic fantasy adventure ever written. It has a narcissistic womaniser become infatuated with a living being who embodies sexual fantasy, only to see through that fantasy and fall in love with the entity behind the glamour. A man who objectifies everybody finds a person who lives to be an object and sees the cruelty in being treated that way. In doing so he breaks through the illusion of infatuation and finds the humanity within. By breaking down their roles, the lovers transcend their divisions, go beyond gender, beyond sex, their relationship evolves and it changes them. Drives them to bring together what has been sundered by God and man.

To find. To unite. To heal.

By connecting the fantasy ideas of "unity in the face of a common foe" with complex discussions of sexuality, Barker shows us how division by authoritarian forces starts at the personal and moves towards the societal. That the divisions that the powerful sow among us are not there to protect us, they are not walls to save us from the barbarians. They are prisons. Solitary confinement. Torture. We are put in our own cells, by our own minds and our fears and desires until we go mad. Until we create other versions of ourselves to love and to hate and to pity and despise. Where one becomes many and eventually all. The every man, the every woman, the everyone. Each of us becomes generalised. Cutting ourselves apart to fit in to the master plan.

Clive Barker's Imajica is too big to be contained in any single review. It is a mature and thoughtful study of fiction and society and cultural roles within a lurid fantasy of shape-shifting sex, demonic horror and monstrous gods. It is a tale of twins and the novel itself is a twin. A book that encompasses the most conventional elements of the genre and mixes it with mature self-analysis, studies of religion and authority and government and the difficulties of personal relationships. It is a tale of blessed mothers walled up in libraries and holy places to give power to men. It is a story of desire and greed and control. Of self-loathing and self-aggrandising in equal measure. It is the story of a protagonist who learns that to see and restore the Imajica, he must see and restore himself.

That sometimes you must leave the circle to enter it.
2 reviews18 followers
February 15, 2009
I have to admit, I had tried Clive Barker's work once before this, and didn't like it. Then, I checked out The Great and Secret Show, and fell in love with it. I ended up getting Imajica from my public library, thinking it was a fifty-fifty chance that I could like it.

When I first started reading it, I got bored in the first hundred pages and dropped it for a few weeks. Then, I didn't have anything else to read, and ended up picking it back up. I didn't put it back down.

Imajica is a very beautiful book. Barker has a wide scope of imagination, and is very good at what he does. He's very good at creating weird and interesting scenes, and throw in spectacular plot twists that you'd never expect. I fell in love with the characters, felt the pain when some of them died, and burned with anticipation as the secrets were revealed and the Reconciliation was getting closer to happening. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's looking for inspiration as far as writing broad fantasies like this, or who are looking for a good read.
Profile Image for Dustin.
439 reviews162 followers
October 9, 2017

“It was the pivotal teaching of Pluthero Quexos, the most celebrated dramatist of the Second Dominion, that in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players. Between warring kings, a peacemaker; between adoring spouses, a seducer or a child. Between twins, the spirit of the womb. Between lovers, Death. Greater numbers might drift through the drama, of course -- thousands in fact -- but they could only ever be phantoms, agents, or, on rare occasions, reflections of the three real and self-willed beings who stood at the center. And even this essential trio would not remain intact; or so he taught. It would steadily diminish as the story unfolded, three becoming two, two becoming one, until the stage was left deserted.”

Thus begins what many consider Clive Barker's masterpiece, and though I've only read Weaveworld (which I highly recommend,) and this one, I am inclined to agree. From the epic tome's opening pages, we're introduced to Charlie Estabrook, and the story quickly unravels from there. Not that this is light reading, because it isn't. Barker's prose is dense, verbose and concerned with many details, some of which are minute, but there are many more which inform the reader of character development and plot, subplot, themes, et al. At the same time, this Liverpool, UK, resident possesses the ability to churn out some genuinely beautiful and breathtaking prose, which kept me flipping pages for its aesthetic alone. As I got deeper into the novel, the shocking twists and turns occurred frequently, thus amplifying the plot and scope and complexity in ways which did not feel orchestrated in any way whatsoever.

Imajica is not solely concerned with its world and life altering plot, either. As all-consuming as my words might or might not imply, there's a heart and a strength at the center of everything, and Barker seems to revel in his large cast, and the world(s) they inhabit. It is because of their fullness that I grew to love and admire them. I will not forget them any time soon. In fact, I finished this in December, 2015, and they resonate still.

I loathed some of them and I gradually loved others, despite such strong emotions. And then there are individuals (like Gentle, Judith Odell, Celeste and Dowd, and of course, the alien assassin, Pie 'oh' pah,) who are nothing short of magical, for various and unfathomable reasons. It's as though Barker possesses some ancient and undefined ability, which he sprinkled his masterpiece liberally with. He's very methodical in that respect.

I want to advise anyone thinking about giving this 1991 offering a go, please do so blindly, or with as little information as possible. This is simply one of those books that rewards the reader for her/his ignorance. Despite this warning, I feel compelled to mention the denouement, because it did satisfy me on multiple levels, yet somehow it also disappointed me. I think that there's excessive buildup throughout its eight hundred and twenty-seven pages, which naturally heightened my expectations to an unhealthy level. When something is riding on that level of pressure, it's almost always inevitable to both fear and expect the very worst.

I still cannot begin to fathom the fact that Imajica originated from a series of vivid dreams that Barker had. They inspired him to write seven days a week, fourteen to sixteen hours a day, completely hell-bent on recollecting every minute detail and chronicling the amazing journey of these characters. Even more mind blowing is the fact that he completed it in just fourteen months, which begs two questions: how did he keep all of the images and details intact? And was it the rough draft that was finished in fourteen months, or the final draft? I suspect this refers to the initial draft, but who knows? Crazier feats have been accomplished. Either way, it's extremely impressive. It's mind-boggling.

A final question: just how did he retain his sanity?
Profile Image for Bill.
947 reviews314 followers
January 21, 2008
If you've read his Books of Blood, the Damnation Game, the Great and Secret Show, and Weaveworld but haven't gotten around to Imajica yet, turn off your computer right now and get out there and get it.
This is Clive Barker's masterpiece. Earth is part of a dominion of five other worlds, and the only one unaware of the others. This novel is about the reuniting of Earth to the other four worlds. Again, this is horrific, beautiful, mind-expanding.
An incredible feat of the imagination...this is one of the few novels I will read over again. Am I gushing over this? You bet.
Profile Image for Rachel.
11 reviews
July 31, 2022
It seems to be fashionable for modern horror writers to assume that, in order for a book to be edgy/scary, every detail must be depressing, disgusting, or some combination thereof, even when such detail borders on crass and does nothing for the plot. There is no need, for example, to include a scene where the main character watches television naked and picks the crumbs of his late-night snack out of his nether regions. No need. But "Imajica" is one long extraneous detail, an 800+ page behemoth that could have easily been accomplished in 200 pages with the amount of actual material here. The motivations for the characters make no sense and are in fact often counter-intuitive. And thank God this version came with a glossary; otherwise, I'd have given up about a fourth of the way through.

It's not godawful-- Clive Barker's prose is well-constructed, and I did manage to get through it. During the parts where things actually happen, you might even have a hard time putting it down. But those parts, sadly, are few and far between.
Profile Image for Crystie.
2 reviews7 followers
August 26, 2015
I feel like this book kind of ruined my life, in that I know that nothing I ever read from here on out will ever be as good. Like an addict's first hit of their poison of choice, nothing will ever be this good again. That makes me sad, but knowing that now, I'd still read it. It was just. Wow. Thank you so much for ruining my life forever, Clive Barker, you're actually the best.

I've been recommending it to everybody I encounter, from friends to strangers in my literature classes, but I can't explain to people what it's really about without ruining it or making it sound weird as fuck. How do you explain Pie 'Oh' Pah to people? How do you explain the dominions without making it sound like a bad scifi film (which it could not be further from)? I just keep sobbing and telling people "you have to read it, just please, you have to read it."

It's so massive and complex. 800+ pages is pretty hefty, but the sheer scale and amount of things that actually happen in those 800 pages consumed my entire life, and made me feel as though I'd just finished reading a trilogy. The plot keeps you guessing, there's twists and turns at every corner, and every single sentence has purpose and a hidden meaning. Some twists you see coming if you pay close attention, others blind-side you out of nowhere. It is just so, so well written.

I just. I can't even put together a coherent or intelligent review of this novel, so blown is my mind by every last word it contains. The entire time I was reading it, I just kept thinking, "what the fuck even is Clive Barker? How does he exist?" and I still have no idea. The sheer scale, the characters, the world building, the implied messages, just everything is incredible. Fuck. Whatever Barker's on, I want some too.

I don't know. Just read this book. The first 100 or so pages are scene setting - super important, but a little slow - and then shit hits the fan, so don't be a dickhead and put it down in that first section. Give it a chance to ruin your life too. It's a beautiful thing.
Profile Image for Steve.
962 reviews95 followers
May 22, 2015
This was a buddy-read with Dustin.

Impressive in its scope and imagining, Clive Barker has created a marathon epic, with sprawling worlds, dozens of wonderfully strange and outlandish characters straight out of our nightmares, incredibly complex confrontations, deep philosophy, high adventure, and staggering tension, all thrown at the reader from the excellent beginning to the satisfying end.

This is not a light read by any means, but the prose is fully developed. There are many unusual words in his writing, yet the story flows perfectly. I listened to the entire book, over 37 hours, and found that losing concentration for just a few minutes caused me to lose the storyline; everything weaves together into a huge web of incredible proportions. The book has frequent plot twists and most of the characters are far from what they seem.

Oh, the characters! There are so many characters, on five separate worlds, with sub-plots intertwined between them all. At first, all this may seem intimidating, but Barker does a fantastic job of keeping the story moving forward. It must be noted that the reader MUST pay attention (reading or listening). Failing to do so means the story’s core will be lost.

There are things in this book that might make some readers uncomfortable; some of it is offensive and downright blasphemous. It is, after all, a book in which Barker creates a religion with a rich and full history, then ties that religion with the views and beliefs of “common men” of the Fifth Dominion (Earth) who have no idea that the Imajica even exists.

Ultimately, Barker has crafted a tale that takes the reader on a long, dark fantasy journey that trips the mind and is awesome in its scope. He gracefully paints this epic in all the graphic detail that’s come to be expected, and the reader is thrust from the mundane into an adventure of awful worlds, euphoric desire, horrendous gore, and heart-wrenching love.
Profile Image for Anthony Vacca.
423 reviews284 followers
October 13, 2017
Well-written more often than over-written, Clive Barker's Imajica is a picaresque (the blurb from William S. Burroughs adorning the cover of my edition agrees) dark fantasy that seeks to dispel gender binary and then imagine the fluid, and frankly erotic, possibilities for human coexistence. If you are looking for a long read with gender-bending assassins, imprisoned goddesses, magic made out of breath and spit, brutal inter-dimensional ghouls, impossible but consensual sexual contortions, oddly named characters, the profane made sacred, high body counts, sentient lakes and cities, furries and cockney accents, then look no further!
Profile Image for Hydra Star.
Author 50 books265 followers
July 25, 2015
Though one of my all time favorite books, when I set out a little over a month ago to re-read Clive Barker‘s Imajica, for the eight or ninth time in the fifteen years I’ve owned my now slightly battered hardcover edition, I didn’t know if I’d include a write up about it in my blog. It’s not only difficult for me to sum this book up in a few words, it is a very lengthy volume at 824 pages, but it is extremely difficult to do so without giving way too much. Almost literally every aspect of the storyline is a new discovery.

What I can tell, without fear of spoiling it for anyone, is that it’s a book about other worlds and our connection, or rather lack of connection, to them. It’s also about love, the duality of nature, and god. But mostly it’s about inner-turmoil, the difficult choices we make, and what we discover about ourselves through our mistakes and our journeys.

Now all that might lead the reader to think that the story is purely spiritual and inspirational and a real departure from Clive Barker‘s early splatterpunk days, but far from it. Imajica is violent and erotic; even comical in places. You are given ample time to get to know, understand, and love/hate the characters before they’re ripped apart.

Though the story does have some minor flaws, both in plot and untold back story, the pace is such that a reader is soon caught up in the wonders of it and willing to forgive it a few trespasses. I’d strongly suggest it as a good read for anyone with a love for horror or fantasy. More then that I’d put it on my personal must read list.
Profile Image for Jared.
391 reviews10 followers
November 25, 2013
I truly love Clive Barker's work, but this is BY FAR his worst, most indulgent novel. It's confused, confusing, pompous, silly, boring, lumbering and just bad. The characters act in seemingly random fashion, the pacing is long stretches of nothing followed by some infodump and then an act of violence. It's just an incoherent mess with neither plot, character or language to keep it interesting. Barker relies too heavily on his world-building to sell the novel, but quite frankly, Imajica is much less interesting than he thinks it is. The author wrote that he came up with this story from dreams he was having and it shows. It's a hodgepodge of vague ideas and images that no one but the person who dreamt it would find interesting. Avoid at all costs and pick up any other Barker book.
Profile Image for heidi.
315 reviews56 followers
March 6, 2012
I wish I were a college professor of gender studies. This would be an awesome text about One Artist's Perception of Gender Duality. What, you never got assigned 800-pg novels? Or maybe I could assign my hapless students to read it in opposition to His Dark Materials. At least those come in smaller packets. This is a big, epic book, with big crazy sex, and divinities familiar and alien. I find the central love story a little unconvincing, but the crazy details are richly ornamental. It's like a Fabrege egg of a story, or like one of thone huge crazy sugar Easter egg dioramas where you look through this tiny hole and keep seeing more and more, and one of the things you see is a tiny sugar egg..... and in it is a dog in a chef's hat carrying a can of dogfood on a tray*. I like this book. It is not for everyone. If you never made it through long tedious fantasy novels which we could mention, don't bother. If gnosticism bothers you, say no. There are rapes, dead children, and dead gods. It is, to me, a compelling story.

*If you get that reference, you get a biscuit.
Profile Image for Cody | CodysBookshelf.
739 reviews229 followers
November 3, 2019
WTF did I just read?

I mean, I think I know . . . I’m pretty sure I know. Barker is good at bringing his full imagination to the page in a way that doesn’t lose his reader. Still, Imajica is a lot. The sort of book that requires multiple rereads.

I know I didn’t catch everything. And that’s okay. I loved it.

I don’t usually do fantasy, but I’m a fan of Barker’s because he mixes in likable (well, relatable anyway) characters and gore and lots of erotica. But this isn’t Books of Blood; don’t go in expecting traditional horror.

Expect a mind-bending, world-changing experience.

Read for ‘dark fantasy’ in Halloween Bingo.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,125 reviews230 followers
January 29, 2016
Really more like 2.5. The only reason I finished this is because Simon Vance is a narrator genius. Seriously this guy can do voices like nobody else. There were a million characters and I was never once confused as to who was speaking. The overall story was interesting but it was too long and the main characters were flat. Some of the secondary characters were interesting and what made the book readable to me. Happy to be finished with this one.
Profile Image for Σωτήρης Καραγιάννης.
Author 2 books36 followers
August 22, 2020
Οι περιγραφές των πόλεων ήταν κάτι παραπάνω από αριστουργηματικές. Ειδικά της τελευταίας. Μεγάλος Μπάρκερ, μεγάλο βιβλίο ( και όχι μόνο λόγω σελίδων)
Profile Image for Brian Steele.
Author 39 books89 followers
January 9, 2010
The best proof that Dark Fantasy novels do not have to involve semi-erotic vampires posing as P.I's or bounty hunters. Clive Barker's epic masterpiece might be a massive tome, but you need every page to tell the story. Parallel worlds that are united but lost to Earth, a secret society dedicated to eradicate all magic, mages who seek a reconciliation of the worlds, an ageless love triangle and the hidden history of god.

Yeah, some people might be turned off by a sub-plot that involves a complex "gay" relationship, but seriously... don't allow that to put you off from this novel. There is so much here, such a rich universe painted by Barker with incredibly developed characters engaged in the most remarkable mythos, you won't be disappointed.
Profile Image for John.
1,458 reviews36 followers
August 16, 2010
I can't say Imajica was a book I particularly enjoyed reading, but I nonetheless admire and respect the hell out of it. The breadth of Barker's imagination is extrodinary, and his writing style is sublime. And he has a lot to say; it's just that his concepts are a little too flighty and mystical for my taste. This book is Barker's attempt to write the Great American Fantasy Novel, and he pulls out all the stops. The fundamental problem with it for me is that I don't really care for the characters. I can't really buy into their romances in a meaningful way like I'm supposed to (I also could do without all the odd, frequent sex scenes, but then it would cease to be a Clive Barker novel), and they spend the majority of the book in a confused state without any clue as to their purpose or history. As with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I simply don't care for stories where people just aimlessly wander around a lot. This book is like an unresponsive engine on a cold day--it takes an aggrevatingly long time to kick into gear, and by the time it does, the journey doesn't seem nearly as appealing. Luckily (?), the book is longer than the LA Yellow Pages, and even after it meanders for the first four-hundred pages it still has another four-hundred fifty pages to make up for it. Don't even think about starting it unless you have a solid week of nothing to do but read. If you do make it all the way through, I think you will find it a rewarding--if somewhat forgettable--experience.
Profile Image for Jim Peterson.
154 reviews36 followers
February 25, 2015
I don’t think I would change a word of this story. It was perfect, incredibly entertaining and I’m sad it’s over. It’s now my favorite Clive Barker book and one of my favorite books overall.

While I enjoyed Hellraiser and do intend to read the Books of Blood, I think Clive Barker's move from horror to fantasy resulted in some of the most original stories ever written.

Though I’ve mentioned this in other Barker reviews, I just want to stress how much I love his style of writing. It’s just so elegant and beautiful. If Gaiman (another prose prodigy) fans are looking for something a bit more edgy, they should check out my man Clive.
Profile Image for Donovan.
192 reviews18 followers
February 6, 2012
Another classic Barker at his finest with that perfect blend of horror an fantasy, although with this read the direction is more fantasy with a nice splash of the erotic thrown in. It's not always an easy read as it is over 1000+ long!!!

Plot ***Spoilers***
The Fifth Dominion:
The novel opens with a man, Charlie Estabrook, hiring the mysterious assassin Pie 'Oh' Pah to murder his estranged wife, Judith. Pie heads to New York and makes an attempt on Judith's life, but fails. Estabrook, having come to regret hiring the assassin to kill Judith, then contacts Judith's former lover, an artist named John Furie Zacharias also known as "Gentle", and asks Gentle to protect her. Later, Gentle comes upon Judith just as Pie is making a second attempt on her life. Gentle chases Pie away, but Pie, who has the ability to change his exterior, later disguises himself as Judith and comes to Gentle's apartment with the intent of having sex with him. During their tryst, Judith calls, alerting Gentle to the fact that he is in fact coupling with the shape-shifting assassin. Gentle is horrified and demands that Pie leave.

Meanwhile, the Tabula Rasa meet at Roxborough Tower to discuss the recent events regarding Pie 'Oh' Pah. A man from one of the other Dominions named Dowd is ordered by the council to bring his master, Oscar Godolphin, to see them. Despite being a member of the Tabula Rasa, Godolphin frequently travels between Earth and the reconciled dominions. Godolphin meets with the Tabula Rasa and murders Dowd in front of them, convincing them that Dowd was actually a doppelganger who had taken on Godolphin's appearance while traveling between worlds. Godolphin later revives Dowd and gives him permission to kill Pie.

Judith returns to England and sneaks into Estabrook's house to steal back some of her former property. She also discovers a strange blue stone that causes her to have an out of body experience, during which she witnesses a mummified woman being kept prisoner by the Tabula Rasa in the Roxborough Tower.

Gentle, meanwhile, has another encounter with Pie, and the two of them pass through the 'In Ovo' to the Fourth Dominion. Judith, who was coming to see Gentle, arrives just as the two goes away.

The Fourth Dominion
Pie and Gentle arrive in the Fourth Dominion and head to the nearby village of Vanaeph, where the Autarch is coming to investigate rumors of rebellion. They soon get into a conflict with some locals and are helped by a man named Tick Raw. Later, Gentle is confronted by a creature known as a 'Nullianac', and manages to kill it using a protective spell called a 'pneuma'. Pie and Gentle then head to the mountains to find a way of breaking into the Third Dominion.

Back on Earth, Judith meets up with Estabrook to find information about his brother, Oscar Godolphin. After leaving Estabrook for dead in the Second Dominion, Godolphin begins a relationship with Judith.

Meanwhile, in the Fourth Dominion, Gentle and Pie find the frozen bodies of a group of women who were killed by Hapexamendios during his journey across the dominions. Gentle ends up freeing the women, who then lead Gentle and Pie to a frozen doorway leading into the third dominion.

The Third Dominion
Judith meets with a woman named Clara Leash, a former member of the Tabula Rasa. When the two try to break into Roxborough Tower to free the prisoner from Judith's vision, Dowd arrives and kills Clara.

Meanwhile, Gentle and Pie travel through the third dominion searching for an old friend of Pie's named Scopique. They learn that Scopique is being held in a prison at the Cradle, a giant lake whose waters remain frozen unless the cloud cover breaks, allowing the sunlight to shine on the surface. Gentle and Pie make their way across the Cradle just as the sun starts to rise, and when the lake becomes liquid again Gentle almost drowns, taking days to recover.

Once in the prison, Pie is reunited with Scopique and Gentle befriends Aping, the second in command and an artist like Gentle. Gentle becomes upset when he learns that Pie has been having sex with N'Ashap, the commandant of the prison, in return for Gentle being nursed back to health, leading the two to admit their feelings for each other and decide to get married. Security tightens at the prison, however, and the two realize that they must soon escape. Aping asks Gentle to take his daughter Huzzah with them when they leave.

Eventually the opportunity arises and Gentle, Pie, Scopique, Aping and Huzzah all flee across the lake at night, while the waters are still solid. Aping is killed, and Scopique chooses to stay behind after N'Ashap is overthrown and killed. Gentle, Pie and Huzzah are able to successfully escape and head to the second dominion.

The Second Dominion
Around the time that Gentle and the others head to the second dominion towards Yzordderrex, the Autarch visits a retreat which used to be the location of the 'Pivot', a large monument which was moved to his palace in Yzordderrex. It is here where we first learn that the Autarch is familiar with Earth, particularly the locales that our heroes are from.

Judith finally convinces Godolphin to bring her to Yzordderrex with the threat of leaving him. They head to the retreat where they originally met, but as Godolphin starts their transference to the second dominion, Dowd comes and interferes and ends up going through to Yzordderrex with Judith instead of Godolphin. They arrive in the house of Peccable, a merchant friend of Godolphin's. Arriving in Yzordderrex, Gentle, Pie and Huzzah encounter an entourage containing the Autarch's Queen, Quaisoir and Gentle is shocked to find out that her appearance is identical to that of Judith's. With the rebellions in Yzordderrex getting out of control, she flees and Gentle becomes convinced that he has to head to the palace to find out if its really her. Judith meanwhile has another out of body experience where she witnesses Quaisoir after a fight with the Autarch, who is upset with her becoming enamored with religion, and Father Athanasius, the leader of the 'Dearther' group of rebels (and the man who wed Gentle and Pie at the Cradle). Gentle, Pie and Huzzah arrive at the Eurhetemec Kesperate(district) that Pie is from and find it mostly deserted except for four people, who have a hard time believing that they're not the enemy. Pie tells Gentle and Huzzah to meet him later at a cafe they were eating at. Although Huzzah and Gentle return there, with the chaos going on they leave and encounter a group that includes a Nullianac that kidnaps Huzzah. Gentle chases after them and eventually defeats the Nullianac, but not before it kills Huzzah.

Put on trial, Pie explains himself, saying that he became entrapped in the In Ovo and was summoned to the fifth dominion by the Maestro Sartori, who had led the attempt at reconciliation 200 years ago. Pie felt bound to him which is why he never returned until now. Pie is instructed that he is banned from returning to the Eurhetemec kesperate until he kills the Autarch. Pie heads there with a fellow group of his species but most are killed and he tells his final companion to leave when he finds paintings of familiar places from Earth in the palace. Gentle as well heads to the palace with a follower of Athanasius, who found the still living Estabrook after he was left for dead after his fight with Godolphin. When they are caught by one of the Autarch's generals, Gentle's companion is killed, but Gentle is surprisingly let go when the general sees his face.

Quaisoir meanwhile flees from the palace in search of Athanasius but instead is encountered by a group of rebels who attack her, blinding her by stabbing her in the eyes. Dowd and Judith, who had been having more visions of her, soon arrive and all the rebels are either killed or flee. Quaisoir at first thinks Dowd is her lord but when Judith spoils the illusion by talking, Dowd tries to kill her. Judith flees as Dowd attacks Quaisoir instead and ends up near a large well. Dowd catches up to her and is about to kill her by throwing her in there. About to die, Judith has visions of her origin, she was created as a replica of Quaisoir hundreds of years before. Quaisoir, amazingly still alive arrives and using her power saves Judith and lets Dowd fall in the well after he reveals that hundreds of years before he found a woman for Hapexamendios, Celestine, who bore him a child.

Gentle makes it to the top of the palace where he encounters the Autarch, who reveals that Gentle is the Maestro Sartori, who led the failed effort to reconcile the dominions 200 years before. Going to see the Pivot, Gentle is told that he has to make another attempt at reconciliation. Through explanation by the Autarch and a vision he witnesses, the true events of what happened 200 years before are finally revealed. As Sartori, he was in love with Judith, the lover of Joshua Godolphin, and was able to convince Joshua to let him create a replica of her through magic. During the long process of replicating her however, he got drunk and went into the circle that she was being replicated in, and made love to her. This resulted in a replica of himself being created as well. Once the reconciliation failed, the replica of Sartori left to the dominions and eventually became the ruler of them as the Autarch. The original Judith became his queen, Quaisoir, while the replica, the Judith we've come to know throughout the book, remained on Earth, bound to the Godolphin family. Sartori convinced Pie to cast a feit on him that caused him to continuously lose his memory of the event. The Autarch wants Gentle to join him as he goes to conquer the Fifth Dominion but Gentle refuses. While fleeing, Pie comes across the Autarch, and attacks Gentle when he arrives. Although Gentle is able to convince Pie that it's the real him, the Autarch (referred to from this point on through the rest of the book as 'Sartori') attacks Pie, mortally wounding him, then escapes.

Gentle decides to bring Pie to a Dearther camp at the Erasure, the border between the Second and First Dominions where Estabrook was healed earlier. Pie heads off into the Erasure after Gentle reluctantly lets him go. Gentle meets up with Father Athanasius again who attempts to kill him, but the entire camp is destroyed by the power of Hapexamendios, who pulls Pie back into the first dominion when he tries to leave. Among those killed is Estabrook, who was still living at the camp after being healed there. Gentle is determined to reconcile the dominions and enlists the help of a man at the Erasure, Chika Jackeen.

Return to the Fifth Dominion
Gentle returns to the palace in Yzordderrex where he's reunited with Judith. The entire palace including the Pivot starts to collapse and while they are able to escape, Quaisoir is killed. Gentle and Judith go to Peccable's house and then return to Earth. Gentle decides to return to the house on Gamut Street where he attempted reconciliation 200 years before and some of the memories from that time return to his head. His returned memories include those of conversations with Joshua Godolphin and the ancestors of those in the Tabula Rasa, as well as a young man, Lucius Cobbitt. Also remembered is the moments after the reconciliation failed and the horror brought upon everyone when Sartori tampered with the ceremony and creatures from the In Ovo were released. Gentle has a vision of those killed attacking him, a sort of 'final rite of passage' as his memories return. A creature known as Little Ease sent by Sartori invades Gentle's mind and tells him that Sartori will use him to prevent the reconciliation from occurring by any way possible. When Gentle leaves the house, Little Ease releases all of Gentle's memories from the past 200 years into his mind, harming him tremendously. Gentle, scarred from the event later appears where some homeless people are living and is almost killed by one of them until he uses a pneuma to defend himself. He befriends Monday, a fellow artist. Judith meanwhile sleeps with Sartori, thinking that he is Gentle.

After being reunited with old colleagues like Klein, Clem and Oscar, Judith becomes obsessed with freeing Celestine from her prison below Roxborough Tower. She and Oscar eventually head to Roxborough Tower after all of the Tabula Rasa end up being killed. When they split up, Oscar ends up getting attacked by Dowd (still alive, with pieces from the Pivot shoved into his body), who slices him up much in the same way that Oscar did to him near the start of the book. Judith arrives just as Oscar dies. After speaking with Dowd, Judith returns to the basement of the tower and frees Celestine, who then fights and defeats Dowd. Celestine tells Judith that she wants to see Maestro Sartori. Clem one night while helping the homeless finds Gentle and helps him get his senses back. Gentle heads off with him, and Monday tags along. Sartori meanwhile reveals to Judith (who still thinks he's Gentle) that he has impregnated her when she tries to get him to see Celestine. Judith tells him to go see Celestine. The real Gentle arrives shortly afterwards with Clem and Monday, and they head to Roxborough Tower, where Sartori has already met Celestine, who reveals that he was the child she bore when she was raped by Hapexamendios hundreds of years before. Gentle and Sartori do battle while the others help Celestine out of the tower.

The Reconciliation
Once their battle is over, Gentle and the others head back to the house on Gamut Street where Judith captures Little Ease. In exchange for not being killed, Little Ease swears allegiance to Gentle. Gentle has Judith and Monday return to Godolphin's retreat to retrieve stones to be used in the ceremony, while there Judith encounters Dowd one last time. Before dying, Dowd leaves some doubt in Judith's mind about what Hapexamendios's intentions really are and whether the reconciliation will be a good thing or not. Judith decides to head to Yzordderrex to see the Goddesses and find out from them whether or not the reconciliation should go forward. She tells Monday to return to Gentle with that message and heads to Yzordderrex.

Gentle sends his spirit across the Imajica to meet with the other Maestros joining him in the reconciliation: Tick Raw in the fourth, Scopique in the third, Athanasius in the second (who Scopique was able to convince to help them), and Chicka Jackeen near the first (who is revealed to be Lucius). Judith meanwhile makes it to Yzordderrex and heads to the Autarch's palace, now in ruins and flooded. There she is able to meet with the Goddesses, Tishallulé, Jokalaylau, and Uma Umagammagi, who had been trapped in the Pivot until its destruction. Initially distrusting of her, the Goddesses convene among themselves and tell Judith that it is all right to go ahead with the reconciliation. They also reveal to her that when reconciled, the Imajica is a circle and that Judith may one day be among the Goddesses. It's also revealed that, being the Imajica a circle, the souls of the dead ones won't be able to escape the Imajica itself as they hoped with the Reconciliation.

Judith returns to the fifth dominion, to the house on Gamut Street. Gentle begins the reconciliation as everyone else in the house keeps watch for Sartori and his minions to make sure they don't interfere. When they do arrive, they kill Little Ease and Sartori confronts Judith. He now seems a changed man, saying that once the dominions are reconciled Hapexamendios will turn them to a wasteland. Sartori tries to convince Judith that they should kill themselves, but she instead rushes back in the house to try and stop Gentle from completing the reconciliation. She enters the circle where he is performing it and Sartori soon follows. Gentle tampers with one of the stones used in the ceremony to attack Sartori. The two do battle and Sartori severely wounds Gentle by stabbing him, then takes his place and returns the stone to its rightful place. Sartori's minions carry Gentle's body out of the room to Celestine and Judith accompanies them as the clock strikes midnight and the reconciliation is completed. Celestine tells Gentle to send his spirit to see Hapexamendios and convince him to send his fire their way, as the god is unaware that the Imajica is a circle, and his attack would simply come back to him.

Gentle's spirit makes its way through the dominions, passing through the Erasure into the first dominion. There Gentle sees a magnificent, seemingly infinitely large city that initially appears to be deserted. After some help from a Nullianac Gentle realizes the truth, that Hapexamendios himself is the city. Gentle starts speaking to Hapexamendios and convinces him to show his human form, which is gigantic, but also distorted and misshapen. When Celestine is brought up, Hapexamendios grows angry and sends a flame across the dominions to kill her. Celestine is vaporized, but with the circle of the Imajica now restored, it returns to the first dominion and destroys Hapexamendios himself. Severely burned by Hapexamendios's fire, Sartori dies in Judith's arms.

The weeks and months go by and the dominions slowly become used to becoming reconciled. Many like Tick Raw come from the various dominions to see Gentle, but he can only think about Pie. Judith leaves to Yzordderrex to give birth to her child, a daughter whom she names Huzzah, and Gentle and Monday follow and are eventually reunited with her. They then head to the first dominion to see Chicka Jackeen and Gentle parts with them, never to return. Monday and Chicka Jackeen head back to the fifth to see Clem with a map of the Imajica Gentle has been working on and his last message. On the promontory, Gentle looks down and sees beyond the waves what looks like another sky but is, in reality, a gate outside Imajica that his father tried to seal and was reopened by the Goddesses. Jumping into this gate, Gentle becomes reunited with Pie 'oh' Pah outside of the Imajica; meanwhile in the Fifth Dominion, Jackeen, Monday and Clem start drawing Gentle's map of the Imajica on every wall.
Profile Image for Chris Berko.
471 reviews117 followers
December 22, 2017
Wow, I've forgotten how good Clive Barker can be. Weaveworld, Cabal, Great and Secret Show, all the Books of Blood, I read and loved these in my teens. Then came Coldheart Canyon which was kinda pointless and not good and then a few years ago I read Mister B Gone and he lost me. Didn't like that one at all. Imajica is now probably my second favorite behind Great and Secret Show, its slow and steady and builds to an incredible ending that very satisfyingly ties it all up. Glad I finally read this, I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Stephen Clynes.
536 reviews32 followers
April 25, 2021
Many readers consider Imajica an epic novel from a master storyteller. So after reading a friend’s 5 star review, I thought I would give this book a go.

Imajica is a fantasy novel of make believe worlds, containing magic and societies on planets away from earth. We are not talking about interplanetary travel but that earth exists in the Fifth dimension and the heroes can travel back and forth between the Fifth (ours), the fourth, the third and the second dimension. Part of this novel takes place on earth but some characters can travel to the other dimensions.

This is NOT a book in my normal reading genres but because of it’s reputation I thought I would read it with an open mind. Imajica is a VERY LONG book running to 896 pages. Normally I start a book and read it to the end but with Imajica I would read a chapter and put it down, turning to another book. I started reading Imajica last year and many, many other books inbetween. After 9 months I have finally finished reading Imajica. Looking back over the highlights I have made on my Kindle, I have found Imajica an exhausting read. The story covers a lot of ground in detail and I feel as though I have been on a very long journey. But at the end I do not feel it was a journey worth making.

Clive’s writing is articulate but I did not find his tale gripping. The lack of realism annoyed me and reading this book became a slog. The characters were richly described as legends with colourful histories. But everybody seemed to be wandering around in an endless quest which I found irritating.

The plot was disappointing, lengthy and not obvious, making me wonder why any character was really bothered. I did not engage with Imajica and think it is a POOR 2 star read. Clive Barker has lots of fans but his novel left me cold and I do not think Imajica is a classic book. Imajica was written 30 years ago but I do not consider it to be a timeless classic. My curiosity has been solved but I shall not be reading another Clive Barker book.
Profile Image for Nicholas Armstrong.
264 reviews49 followers
January 21, 2010
So I have read something else of Clive Barker's. Good to know. Umm, this book is really goddamn weird. I've read and watched some odd things, but this is reaaaaally out there. I normally like original things... not so sure here. I remember talking to another person about weird books and they told me about a book where the main character had a bug head, a wasp I want to say, and I remember thinking 'That sounds really stupid.' and I think I feel the same way with most of Imajica.

It's true, the book is very unique and very inventive. If that is up someones alley then go right ahead and read this book. However, the characters, being the thing I love most in a book, sucked. They were just bad. They were bland (personality, not appearance by any means) and they didn't have much of a personality. Their actions seemed kind of lethargic and without feeling - unless sex was involved. If sex was involved they got right on board! Apparent female lead being brain-washed by repulsive fat man and then falling in love with him and having scene, after scene, after scene, of repulsive sex? Sign me up! Then there was the protagonists lover... which was a shape-changer. This was a little weird, but I was kind of on board. The personality reminded me of an effeminate cat and (maybe I'm crazy for thinking this) I imagined it as a black man with dreadlocks most of the time. Despite my aversion to reading things that generally make me shiver, like fat people having sex, or two men having sex, I continued to read this. I was pleasantly surprised when an entire chapter became dedicated to the repeated rape (rape? he/she sort of wanted to do it...) of the shape-changer by repulsive creatures - which was my cue to go.

Don't get me wrong, the story was also kind of meandering and stale. If a story is dynamic and really hooks me then I can follow it for a long time, this one didn't so much.

Not very good story coupled with numerous incredibly uncomfortable and detailed sex scenes ultimately led to my knowing this just isn't my type of book.

I vaguely recall my brother saying the Anne Rice books had a lot of bizarre vampire sex at a certain point; maybe if you like that you will like this. Just don't talk about it to anyone. Ever.
Profile Image for Seth Skorkowsky.
Author 21 books321 followers
May 4, 2015
I first read Imagica when I was in high school. Expecting horror (in the 90's, anything Clive Barker was automatically lumped in the Horror section) I was treated to a brilliantly imaginative portal fantasy that spanned 5 worlds, or dominions, as the books calls them. The book left a profound impression on me and opened the door to reading everything else Barker had published. So after 20 years I decided to revisit Imagica and see how I thought of it with older eyes (or ears, since I selected the Audible edition for my reread).

Imagica has held up very well. Many parts I had forgotten over the years, so I was treated to some surprises, but what I did remember detracted from the wow factor that I remembered from my youth. Brilliantly imaginative and with excellent prose, Imagica explores history, religion, sexuality, love, and identity. It's a bit of a slow start. The book begins with an estranged husband hiring an assassin to murder his wife, then changing his mind, sending his wife's former lover to stop the assassin. While interesting, the book has almost no fantastical elements for the fist 120 pages. Then when it comes...BAM.

I really enjoyed my reread. While today I might rate it a 4, I'm going to keep the 5-star I originally rated it. This is partly because I do not know how I would have rated it had I not read it before, and partly due to the significant impact the novel had on me when I was 16.
Profile Image for Leo Robertson.
Author 36 books445 followers
February 10, 2016
Guys I don't know if you know this but, um, this book has SO many pages. Rumour has it no one even knows how many. Imajica, whispers a spirit in one of the Four Dominions that isn't Earth. I could specify which, like Barker does, but it wouldn't matter because I would be unable to describe any of them any further, like Barker didn't.

Interesting intro. Easy enough to follow. More characters were introduced and as I say once they entered these other Dominions that weren't Earth, and none of the Dominions were described, and Barker kept rambling about the Dominions' lore by bashing on his keyboard to come up with the name of some lord or potion or city or other, I was like... no.

See if you read a book that's 1100 pages long, shouldn't it give you as much as 4 x 250 pg books or 3 x 400 pg books or 4 x 300 pg books? In a literary landscape that made sense, generally they would, but the only people to write books this long have given up reading anyone else's books because they're high on their own hype and forget how to type.

Name me a single novel that ever needed to be this long?

You're wrong.

Now take the mild joy of my shit rhymes, stretch them to 100 pages (you see where I'm going.)
Profile Image for Kenneth McKinley.
Author 2 books233 followers
July 22, 2020
What an amazing, epic tale. I’m still reeling, as I try to wrap my head around what I’ve read. Barker’s prose is legendary. The man creates an immense sprawling universe with the ease of walking down the street. His word choices are poetic, jaw-dropping, a human thesaurus.

For those of you that are looking for an 850 page Books of Blood - keep moving. This isn’t it. In fact, Imajica only has hints of horror between it’s many pages. If a dark fantasy is more of your liking, you would be hard pressed to find a better one. Imajica has shades of Tolkien - the never-ending quest of a journey, the imaginative characters. It also contains a love story that forever evolves. My description doesn’t do this dense, poetic monster justice. It’s not a quick read, and sometimes that can be it’s only flaw. However, I didn’t mind. It wasn’t a mystery that this baby was 850+ pages of an amazingly small font that was going to be so much more than a weekend romp.

Imajica is Barker at his epic and fantastical best for those of you who are craving more from your reads. Grab yourself a copy and clear off over a 100 hours of reading time. Enjoy and savor ever majestic bite.

4 1/2 Dominions out of 5

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