Abarat: Absolute Midnight continues the thrilling adventures of Candy Quackenbush in 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 evil Mater Motley. With villains resurrected and morphed and the Old Mother of darkness herself, Mater Motley, at the heart of a ruthless scheme, Abarat is in danger of being destroyed forever.
Mater Motley plans to create a darkness so complete that it blots out every glimpse of the light and vanquishes the sun, moon, and stars from the Abarat, ending all hope and happiness. Her hour has come—she is prepared to unleash the end of the world. When evil begins rising from the sea, tumbles The Great Head, and sets islands aflame, the Abarat is filled with fear.
Only one person can stop her—Candy Quackenbush from Chickentown, U.S.A., a heroine who has traveled between the Hereafter and the Abarat. She valiantly fights for the sake of her friends and her mother and to speak and act for those who have no voice. Candy and her crew battle on to ultimately defuse Mater Motley and rescue the 7,000 who have survived, with the message that even in the face of this terror and loss, they may find hope. An enthralling ride, with nonstop action, adventure, and suspense, Barker has delivered an epic dystopian battle.
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,
I have to admit that I came into this with extremely high expectations. Yes, the Abarat books are still some of my favorite YA fantasy novels, but I was seriously let down by Absolute Midnight.
I had several MAJOR problems with Book Three:
First and foremost, Princess Boa, whose soul was living inside Candy Quackenbush's head for 16 years, is suddenly evil incarnate. Where the fuck did that come from? Did I miss Abarat 2.5, wherein Clive Barker does most of the groundwork for Absolute Midnight? We've literally only heard how perfect and good and wonderful Boa was since Diamanda, Joephi, and Mespa first hint at what they've done to preserve Boa after her untimely death by dragon on her wedding day. After being released from Candy's body, Boa immediately goes on a would-be rampage, first trying to kill Candy, then the witch who helped them and then her two sons. Oh yeah, apparently Boa tricked Carrion into teaching her super powerful magic. After leaving Candy and the witch (whose name I cannot remember and cannot be bothered to look up), Boa heads to find Finnegan, the man she was going to marry. That's a story for a different review, I suppose.
Second, Candy and a character who we've barely met fall in instant, deep, soul-fulfilling love in the space of one page. Oh, and did I mention Gazza was trying to kill Candy and her friends (or at the very least, get their boat to come back to shore so that an angry mob can probably kill them). Here's my problem with this: I have been holding out for Candy and John Mischief to get together since the first time we meet Mischief by the Chickentown lighthouse. Admittedly, this relationship (were it ever to happen) has some strange implications being that Mischief and his brothers are so, ahem, close. Bottom line: I do not appreciate some new character coming in to take over Candy's heart when I've been shipping Candy and Mischief since Day One.
Third, although I was quite sad when Mater Motley killed Malingo without a second thought, I did not expect and did not want him to be alive anymore. That could have been used as a great moment to show off the horror of war etc, etc. but instead Malingo comes back as a "head with wing-ears." That's how Geshrats are born apparently, but still. I do not appreciate Clive Barker fucking with me like that.
Fourth, the Nephauree. Are they aliens? I am seriously in the dark on this one. Somebody help me out here. While we're on the subject of unexplained baddies, the hell was up with the Rojo Pixler/Requiax combo? Feel free to let me know if I'm wrong, but Requiax are supposed to be the enemies of love and light and rainbows and puppy dogs and basically every good thing in the world, right? So why did it somehow magically fuse itself onto Pixler (a man who in his own mind, I would say, embodies all of the above)? Why didn't it just kill Pixler while he was deep in the Sea of Izabella?
Fifth, apparently Geneva, Mischief, Jimothi and others Candy has met in her travels through the Abarat are part of a resistance group called the Kalifee. This group is both ineffectual (I doubt Mater Motley even knew of their existence... they certainly didn't do much to stop her take-over of the islands) and basically a bunch of bitches. When it is revealed that Candy and Boa can still communicate somhow, the Kalifee kick Candy out of their super secret meeting. Gazza, of course, comes to comfort Candy after her friends reject her and then the Stormwalker shows up and all hell (literally) breaks loose.
Okay. Despite all of the negatives, there were a few really positive things about Absolute Midnight.
I've always been fond of Christopher Carrion, so it was nice to see him redeem himself. FINALLY. I really liked seeing Carrion turn into an anti-hero from the villain of the first book and a half.
I liked the character of Zephario, Christopher Carrion's long lost father, former ruler of the island of Midnight. After being horribly disfigured in the fire that Mater Motley set to kill her entire family, Zephario, apparently, became a mad man and eventually settled down on the island of Idjit to read fortunes. Of course, he and Candy eventually meet and Candy promises him to get him a meeting with Carrion. Blah blah blah. Father/Son reunion. Blah blah blah.
To sum up: Book Three is not nearly as good as the first two Abarat books. Like others, I'm hoping that this book is just suffering from trying to set too much up for the final two books that'll be released god knows when. This series is still one of my favorites, mostly because of the promise of the first book. I'll read the next one when it comes out, but probably not the day it comes out.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Okay. So I'm used to disappointment. It happens. And it's very easy to be hurt by something that you've been waiting for for .... I could look up the exact amount of time between the last book and this one, but I don't feel like it. Five years? Seven? Three? Enough that hope and expectation became so inflated that it would be almost impossible for this book to live up to it.
So, apparently, Clive Barker didn't even try.
It's not the same world. It’s not the same mood or tone. No: it doesn't bother me when something gory or horrible or gross or evil happens in this book. I was expecting people to die and water to boil. It's a Clive Barker book, for chrissakes. I'm not simple. What I didn't expect was lazy storytelling, illogical plot gaps, sudden introduction of IMPORTANT characters (eye roll here, please), a disregard for the established internal logic of the world and the characters that lived in it ... et cetera.
To be honest, i didn't quite finish it. I got about a hundred pages from the end and gave up. So maybe the ending makes it all worthwhile? I can't imagine that. So sad. So irritating.
Well, the artwork was pretty good. So it's got that going for it.
This third book of the Abarat series is even darker than the second, with Barker channeling his inner Lovecraft. There's even a ladleful of Pratchett here (although that's the slightly less dark part of the story, as you'd probably guessed.)
So that's me done with Abarat for now, what with this being all that Mr. Barker has written so far. Now to sit back and wait for book four; it's only been seven years since part three came out so it must be out soon, surely. Right? Right, Clive? Right?
Either my memory of the first two books is really faulty, or my personality changed, or Barker's writing did, or something. I remember really liking Abarat, and thinking the second one was not as great but still good. For sure I don't remember them having this weird misogyny, or religious elements. And while I remember the whole setting being pretty crazy (in a good way) I don't remember the characters' behavior not making sense. I'm thinking particularly of the section with the witch on the island -- why is this evil-or-at-least-definitely-not-good person risking her and her sons' lives to help a stranger? For free? When it seems to be actually a bad idea for, you know, the safety of the world? Maybe I missed something or forgot something from an earlier book. Maybe it would've all made sense later had I kept reading, but I just wasn't enjoying this book.
I can't tell you how painful it is to give this book only 3 stars. I love the previous books in the series, but after waiting SEVEN YEARS for this one, I'm disappointed. The plot is ok, the developments fine, but it doesn't really feel like that much happened, especially considering the relative length of this book. Plus, there's one story in the first half regarding one villain, that then TOTALLY disappears for the rest of the book while a second plot and villain take over. I'll admit that I'm prejudiced in that my main interest in this series is Christopher Carrion and his relationship with Candy. There are some interesting Carrion revelations and moments, but not enough for my tastes. Also, Candy has a new romantic interest who randomly shows up. He has no particular personality that I can discover, but somehow, by looking into each other's eyes once, Candy and him are now in LOVE. This annoys me SO MUCH. Finally, not even the art is particularly good in this one. By the long break in publication, I assume Mr. Barker has lacked for inspiration, and to be honest, that kinda comes through in the art. Oh, well, I retain hope for the final book, but I'm side-eying the whole thing really hard.
I was both excited and terrified to read this book. Excited because I’m invested in this series now and I couldn’t wait to see how it all ended. Terrified because I’ve become so invested in this series and these characters and I want nothing but good for my precious babies. I’m glad to say that it was everything I could have hoped for and more as an ending to what’s become a new favourite series. It had it all; it made me laugh and sob and want to throw the book across the room and hug it to my chest and just hold it close. There’s just one thing that spoiled it a teeny bit, “Lordy Lou” was repeated so many times that it became quite aggravating and I rolled my eyes every time it came up. Which was A LOT. Other than that detail it was an absolutely brilliant conclusion to an amazing series and I couldn’t have loved it more.
I was very disappointed with this book. I loved the first two, and I was very excited to read this one, but it just did not hold my interest. If it were not for the fact that I am curious to see what happens to Candy and all her friends from the previous books, I would have stopped reading it about half-way through.
I have three major issues with this book. The first is that it was hard for me to relate to Candy. I think that in the first two books, she was still somewhat connected with the Hereafter and her family, which made it easier for the reader to connect with her.
The second issue I have is that this book is really like two separate books. Things happen in the first half () that are not even touched upon in the second half of the book. As a reader, I want to know what is going on with all these pieces of the plot, even if they do not have to do with the main plot of Mater Motley trying to take over the islands. These plot points were apparently important enough to be included in the beginning of the story, but the fact that they are never mentioned again is really confusing.
The third issue:
There are a few things that I enjoyed about this book. The first is the fact that we get to learn more about Carrion's past I also appreciate how the artwork has gotten darker along with the story (I know the artwork usually comes first, so maybe that's why they work so well together.
After seven years of anticipation, I wish I could say it was completely worth the wait. From cover to cover, the book was not that impressive. Of course there was the same stylish string of inconsistencies throughout this book as there has been for the last two, as expected, but this time, it was as if each chapter, instead of adding to the existing chronology, lost it altogether and forced an entirely new one. There is no flow to any of the chapters, as if they had been written occasionally on a whim over the last seven years and the editor refused to comment because it's just been so long. Dialogue was inappropriately placed for every character, and character introductions were splotchy, as were most of the descriptions. There are huge gaps in the descriptions of plot developments.
One thing I have to admit that was well done was the presentation of Mater Motley. She has always been a creepy character, but this book really allowed her to wallow in the impending darkness. If the focus had been more on her, despite her lack of development as a character, the build-up alone of her ideologies made her the character to watch.
The beginning, most especially left me wondering who was there to be trusted. This would have been a fine plot development, and I looked forward to it from the off. It just led into confusion and a disappointing follow-through. Intent was muddled for each character, in a way that made it look as if Barker had trouble working character development out for himself. And what's worse, is that it's apparent in the dialogue over the entire chapter. The wrap up was more concise than the rest of it, but nowhere near as beautifully done as the ending as Days of Magic, Nights of War.
There is little to like about this except the addition to the storyline of the Abarat of fables. I would not recommend this book unless you are a positively voracious Abarat fan, and for those Abarat fans, prepare for a poor collaboration of the fantastic storytelling of The Hours.
As overjoyed I was to finally get a chance to read this, I was also incredibly apprehensive. On one hand, darkness taking over is something Barker does well. On the other, I wasn't sure really what could possibly happen to Candy or Abarat to warrant three more books. Happily, re-reading the first two books assuaged most of my fears and Absolute Midnight itself was more than worth the wait.
Wow. I am still reeling from the emotions, the darkness, the characters, the diverse settings, the amazing writing, and the events that took place. While Absolute Midnight obviously was in the same spirit as Abarat and Days of Magic, Night of War, this new third book was darker, more profound, and more brilliant than I could have ever anticipated. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, I didn't really and thank goodness because what happened not only to Candy but to Boa, Carrion, Pixler, Motley, Malingo, and everyone else in Abarat or Chickentown made for a thoroughly engaging read.
The direction everything and everyone got taken in were really some of the more refreshing changes, particularly for a YA book, that I've come across in awhile. There is a lot going on in the Abarat series that deals with love, life, death, friendship, good, evil, finding one's true self, and choices. I still don't know if I would say this was a book strictly targeted towards teens, but all of the topics I've mentioned are definitely what teens are starting to become aware of if not to terms with. What makes this book and its prequels work so well is that the subjects are handled in really thought-provoking ways that aren't in the least bit heavy-handed.
I could go on and on about the wonderfully terrible and terribly wonderful parts of Absolute Midnight, but needless to say there are a wealth of spoilers involved. Without giving too much away, I will tell you that there were so many monsters, so many story-lines, and so many amazingly unexpected developments that I found myself absolutely miserable and frustrated when I couldn't just sit still to read this book all the way through. While reading, I cried, I laughed, and I was moved by the scope of Barker's vision, imagination, and depth he gave to each of his characters. I was occasionally horrified by some of what happened, of course. But over all I was impressed, enthralled, and keenly pleased by the uniquely Barker but somewhat Lovecraftian-tinged elements that were introduced as well as how much the stakes get raised for everyone.
One of the strongest elements of the first two books were the art, and the paintings in Absolute Midnight were pretty amazing too. The words themselves held their own a bit more firmly this time around, but I still loved the pairing of images and text. Since I was reading an ARC not a finished book, I had to make do with black and white reproductions. That worked for about half of the paintings. With the other half it just turned everything into one shade of gray on top of the other, which was pretty awful in terms of catching any small details. Again, this is also not something I would hold against the book itself. Instead I will definitely be hunting down a finished copy of Absolute Midnight as soon as it is out in order to see the oil-paintings properly because I am positive that they will look awesome in color. Somehow I suspect re-reading won't be a hardship either.
As far as complaints go, I can't really think of any. Yes, there are a lot of cliffhangers, but I think that's sort of par for the course since this is the third book in a five book series. I could have done without the new love interest for Candy, but I will reserve any real judgment until I see how it all plays out. Besides, Barker did so many things so well that it is difficult to hold anything so trivial against him.
In conclusion, awesome and not to be missed! Throughout the Abarat series, Barker has been able to strike a remarkable balance between the use of words and images, and he is really gifted at expressing himself through both mediums. Even just in terms of words, Absolute Midnight is the sort of work of fiction that readers need and that I sometimes forget even exists. It is such a shame that so few authors are wielding their imagination so freely or in such successful abandon as Barker. Just like the first two books of Abarat, I can see Absolute Midnight appealing to a wide range of people. Particularly to readers who are sick and tired of the same old thing, readers who are tired of authors refusing to go into the dark with their stories, and to fans of really good, fantastical horror.
Lordy Lou! This is what is said throughout the whole book and has just become so annoying! I think I may have left this too long between books, maybe? I just didn’t enjoy this book really. The writing just didn’t seem to engage me, I just found this one boring. I don’t know if I wasn’t reading this correctly, but everything Candy and her friends were talking, the next character would suddenly appear, it was never clear to me as how all these characters would just appear, along those lines, there were so many characters. I just found there was too much non relevant stuff going on. I think the first 300 pages could go in the bin. I wont name names, but it does annoy me when a character dies and then gets bought back to life. Don’t do it! It’s pointless, and I have committed to them being dead. Once you are dead that’s it, don’t mess around with it, it was just so silly, and I didn’t like it, they should have stayed dead. Not a fan. I am tired of Candy now I don’t think the next 2 books will ever get written, and I am ok with that
I was tempted to go 2 stars on this one out of sheer disappointment. The book is okay, but after the first two and the six year hiatus, I was expecting mind-melting awesomeness. But this was a really fragmented work, where two plots evaportate mid-way and another takes over (dad? Boa and Finn?). Old characters come back, but briefly and for many of them without a real purpose within this work, more just as reminders. New characters are introduced, and I have to agree that the love interest one lacks any depth which was strikingly odd given that Barker typically gives real nuance even to small side characters - it is a real strength of his writing. The vivid imagination is still there however, this is still a hugely unique work that has Barker's stamp all over it. In summary my takeaway was that this was more of a Clive Barker bestiary than a fully realized novel due to the fragmented plotting. Enjoyable, but ultimately disappointing within the series.
I've always loved this series for the fantastic and grotesque creatures and the amazing oil paintings that help to bring everything to life. I've no doubt that Clive Barker's imagination is endless and that was still apparent with this volume, however, towards the end I found the plot dragging a bit and I became confused with the concepts that were being presented. I can imagine that it's difficult to author large-scale war in a fantasy novel, especially from so many viewpoints, but I found that Days of Magic, Nights of War was much easier to follow in that respect. The ending, as John Serpent stated himself "was anticlimactic" for such an epic book. In the middle of a battle everyone pretty much got frustrated and left... It seemed hastily strung together, and so many subplots were just dropped and forgotten. It makes me think that there has to be another book, which is fine by me, but I hope that the same magic and captivation of the first two volumes is present in the next.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
As much as I love the Abarat books, I was so, so disappointed in Absolute Midnight. Barker's fantastic sense of world-building is there, and the Abarat is more fleshed out (and darkly terrifying) than ever.
There is, however, precious little plot continuity. I found myself wondering, not once, but multiple times, if an entire section had been left out between "Days of Magic, Nights of War," and "Absolute Midnight." The characters make references to events that have never before been mentioned. Characters make a sudden and swift departure from everything previously described of them. Princess Boa's behavior, in particular, is completely inexplicable in the context of the rest of the series.
It seems like some of these flaws could have been caught by an editor; for instance, the fact that the name of Mater Motley's ship changes within three chapters.
I was thrilled to receive this advance copy from the publisher as a part of the Goodreads / Firstreads program. Perhaps my expectations were a bit high..but i was rather disappointed with this book. I liked the first in the series alot - tho it seemed to be a bit all over the place, and loved the 2nd which was more focused and fun..and was glad to see the series was to have its big ending. But - sad to say, this one was a mess. Characters change or show up for no reason, things happen too fast with little development or reason. I still enjoy Barker's talent and skill but it's not on the best of show here...where the art is better than the book. :(
Oh, I was so very disappointed in this effort, #3 of the Abarat series. I love the first two offerings, but this was so lacking in continuity and adequate or logical characterization (both in new characters and ones we thought we knew) that I came close to setting it aside before I finished it. It is hard to go into greater detail without giving away spoilers, but needless to say I'm hoping that numbers 4 & 5 both come sooner than this did and also return to the quality of the charming and quirky first books of the Abarat.
Why, it's like listening to a child unwind the very innards of his imagination into the willing ear he's been waiting for.
I had an on-going internal battle while reading over weather I liked being pelted with so much CONTENT. The layers upon layers of unspeakably catastrophic events I found a tad over-dramatic at times....and then downright ridiculous!! It felt like being soaked in endless color of the strange, stranger, and grotesque in order to distract from his worst nightmare: stillness. I wish it wasn't always so over-the-top~ the first book gripped me so much because less is more~ the world was fantastical yet STEADY enough to believe.
I really liked Candy in the first book.... but now her unnerving coolness in every situation, and the fact that she seems to know everything drives me a bit batty. She never eats, losing at least one shoe doesn't pose as an obstacle~ she can't even sleep without some alternative and yet real desperate adventure unfolding in her subconscious.
But WAIT. When you think about it, these are all very dream-like qualities. Always being in that deam-like calm state of mind, without need for sustenance or proper attire, and because it's your dream, you're the one in control, and therefore you inherently know everything without realizing you do....maybe you don't even want to. At times I felt there were information gaps, just like dreams often have upon waking......if Candy wakes up in an insane asylum after all this is said and done, this will be my favorite series ever, hahaha.
I think it best to read it more slowly than I did, in order to better grasp the scale of his creations, and let their enormity soak in. Because his imagery is enough to send your brain into overdrive, when imagined as he imagines.....I still trust that he knows exactly what he's doing.
After the first two books, I found this one slightly disappointing. The art so beautifully strewn through out the first two now appears disorganized. Pictures would appear two pages before the scene/item/character the described appeared, and sometimes the pictures would have no relevance what so ever to what was going on. And then, Candy fell in love! Now, don't get me wrong. I believe that love at first sight can happen, especially in books. But Candy isn't a Bella Swan, and even love at first sight (Or in this case, love at first fight), should take more then 3 pages. Until she meets Gazza. Suddenly, her life and the future of the islands no longer matter unless Gazza is Safe. Did I mention that Gazza is also the first main character to not have a portrait? We have, up until this point had a portrait for many characters, both main and background. But the one that Candy falls in love with doesn't get one. Al we know id that he has white and purple marble skin, golden eyes, and is the same height as Candy. We don't even know what hair color her has. And then we have the fact that in the middle of the biggest fight to ever hit the Abarat, only 1 character dies. And the other two main characters that die don't actually die. Geneva actually dies, and her death is written of almost like a side note, Where Malingo, who is beheaded, and Christopher, who had drowned at the end of the last book, are both completely fine. Because apparently, his nightmares can suck life force out of crabs to give to their master, and Geshrats are born with out bodies, so he can just grow a new one.
Now, I'm not saying to give up on this series. I'm just saying that for a book that took 7 years to write, it simply didn't show that much effort.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
“Hopelessness is reasonable. But nothing of worth in my life came of reason. Not my love, not my art, not my heaven. So I am hopeful..”
Absolute Darkness by Clive Barker is the third volume in the series of The Abarat story and it takes us through the devastating destruction that is being planned by Mater Motely. She wants to envelope Abarat in complete darkness getting rid of the sun, moon and stars. She starts the end of the world and the only obstacle in her way is Candy Quackenbush, the heroine from Chickentown, USA.
This has to be the darkest of the three books. Abarat is a magical world which brings fantasy and horrors to reality and both scares and pleases the reader. Barker has managed to bring about the end of this world for all the residents and the hereafter in a very visceral way. You are left surprised at the development of the characters and don’t expect it to be such an emotional war.
Mater Motely unveils even more evil upon everybody and her past is revealed. Candy is persistent in protecting her friends even though it means the end for her too. Barker excels the relationships between characters through his expressive way of writing and illustrations. The undoing of this diverse world is written in a disturbing, imaginative, unsettling, magical and horrific manner.
The journey the reader takes from the first book to the second is one which is beautiful and fun but when you get to Absolute Midnight like the title suggests the tone of it is a lot darker and disturbing. It’s sad to see adventures coming to an end and I never want this story to come to a stop and need a fourth book 😩
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I have been waiting for this book FOR. EVER. Will be putting this on the "to purchase" list since I own the first two, and they are gorgeous! ********* I waffled on 3 and 4 stars for what I consider the final book in the Abarat series. This was a good solid conclusion as far as I am concerned, though the end of the book seems to indicate there are more to follow. Not sure I feel the need to pursue the further adventures of Candy and her band of friends and warriors. Beautiful language, terrific images, but the storytelling finally fell a little flat for me. Villainy eventually reaches a point where it just gets dull, as does the miracle of discovery by the heroine who seems to wield powers she can't explain. I had to drag myself through the final 5 chapters or so.
The gorgeous (yet decidedly creepy) illustrations Barker provides throughout pushed the book to the 4 star rating.
Allahuakbar! Setelah berjuang keras menelan 628 halamannya, akhirnya aku berhasil selesai membaca buku ketiga dari pentalogi Abarat ini. Huah!
Edan! Buku ini beneran edan! Kalau visualisasi imajinasi Clive Barker pada buku 1 dan 2 bisa dibilang "aneh", maka di buku ketiga yang sampul terjemahannya semerah darah ini Clive Barker seolah menuangkan segala mimpi buruk yang pernah ia hadapi selama beberapa dekade. Lukisan-lukisannya suerem naudzubillah. Tiap kali melewati halaman-halaman menyeramkan itu rasanya aku pingin cepat-cepat menghabiskan narasi dan dialognya biar segera terbebas dari ilustrasi horor itu. Dulu waktu aku pertama kali baca Abarat 1 waktu SMP mana kutahu kalau Clive aslinya penulis cerita horor.
Sepanjang membacanya aku terus bertanya-tanya kekuatan macam apa yang sudah menginspirasi dan menggerakkan Clive untuk menuangkan segala ilustrasi dan imaji sedahsyat ini dalam bukunya. Bener-bener nggak terpikirkan dan nggak terbayangkan. Sayangnya, beberapa ilustrasi di sini agak kurang nyambung sama narasi yang ditampilkan. Udah serem-serem tapi nggak bikin pembaca ngeh itu gambar apaan dari tokoh apa dan adegan apa kan ya gimana tho ya.
Segala perspektif yang sudah terbentuk dari buku pertama dan buku kedua diputarbalikkan di buku ketiga. Yaitu:
1. Putri Boa ternyata entitas licik dan tengik luar biasa. Kukira Lord Christopher Carrion dan Mater Motley udah pasti jadi duo most-hate di serial ini (kalau Worsfunkel dan Criss Cross Half nggak dihitung). Tapi ternyata malah orang ini jadi tokoh yang paling kubenci. Setelah topengnya terkuak, aku malah jadi kasian banget sama Christopher Carrion huhuhu.
Terus aku bingung. Kalau dia ternyata sejahat dan semanipulatif itu, kenapa pula Trio Perempuan Fantomaya sampai harus repot-repot nembus dimensi buat nyelamatkan jiwa Putri??? Mereka ketipu juga? Luar binasa!
2. Mater Motley bukan satu-satunya Final Boss. Ternyata ada kekuatan yang jauh lebih dahsyat dan gelap lagi di belakangnya. Sebuah peradaban yang tampaknya jauh lebih kuno dari Abarat: Neupharee.
Requieax yang keberadaannya sudah digembar-gemborkan dari buku kedua malah kayaknya jadi kalah wibawa di sini.
Tujuan Neupharee di sini juga belum dikuak. Artinya, udah setebal ini pun rahasia Abarat yang dikasih tahu ke para pembaca tampaknya nggak nyampe seujung kukunya.
3. Semua pertemuan acak Candy dengan orang-orang Abarat selama ini ternyata sudah direncanakan! Kejutan lagi, mereka semua ternyata satu kelompok! Nah loh!
4. Geshrat seperti Malingo tampaknya sejenis makhluk immortal? Dipenggal nggak bisa mati loh!
5. Dunia Abarat tampaknya menganut konsep Flat Earth??? Ada konsep Tepi Dunia segala. Jadi di luar lingkaran kepulauan 25 Jam itu diceritakan "tidak ada dunia dan kehidupan lain". Yang ada hanyalah Kekosongan dan nggak ada satu pun yang paham apa yang berada di sana. Plus digambarinnya Laut Izabella ternyata ya gitu ada tepiannya, bisa mentok dan akhirnya jatuh ke bawah macam air terjun. Apa yang ada di bawah "air terjun" itu masih belum diketahui. Yang jelas keajaiban Abarat tampaknya tak berakhir di situ begitu saja..
6. Oh ya. Ayah Candy tiba-tiba punya kekuatan sihir di sini dan jadi pemimpin gereja!
Belum lagi ada rahasia keluarga Carrion yang disembunyikan Mater Motley dan itu juga sangat mengejutkan!
Tapi yang paling nggak disangka di sini adalah.... Candy punya love crush! Dan dia bukan Finnegan Hobb. Melainkan seorang pemuda nelayan random yang sempat menyerang rombongan Candy di dalam perahu saat Yebba Dim Day menemui kehancurannya: Gazza.
Dia di sini tuh kayak jatuh dari langit dan fast-forward setelah berhari-hari berlayar bersama Candy, dia langsung dapat jatah peran penting sebagai love interestnya Candy (padahal aku udah takut aja Candy bakal dipasangin ama Malingo huahauahuahau). Mungkin karena selama di Abarat Candy ketemunya sama makhluk-makhluk nonhuman yang wujud fisiknya absurd kali, ya. Jadi begitu ketemu Gazza, mata dan hatinya Candy langsung berasa bening.
Bingung sih. Chemistry-nya nggak kerasa kebangun, tahu-tahu dua orang ini langsung "love you love you-an" sampai saling rela berkorban nyawa segala. Astaga. Moga di buku-buku berikutnya ada sedikit flashback kenapa kok dua orang ini bisa jatuh cinta.
Dan setelah ending yang beneran kerasa seperti akhir dari film fantasi yang masih ada sekuelnya, aku jadi bertanya-tanya, harus nunggu sampai umur berapa buat bisa baca Kry Rising (buku keempat) dan Until The End of Time (buku kelima)??? Huaaaaaa...
Khawatir, nih. Soalnya Clive Barker kayaknya udah mayan tua juga usianya. Semoga dia tetap hidup sampai "utang Abarat"nya terbayar tuntas! Nunggunya sampai lebih dari satu dekade loh biar bisa sampai ke titik ini. Huhuhu.
I think Clive Barker must have been the sort of child who spent hours building castles. Sand, Legos, blocks, whatever. I can see him adding tower upon tower, with dozens of little architectural intricacies. At last, his work completed, he would step back to survey the whole for a moment. And with a triumphant gleam of pleasure in his eye...he would knock the whole thing over.
That's what reading this book feels like.
True, the title doesn't exactly promise sunshine and roses. And yes, one look at Barker's adult work should prepare one for excesses of horror. But there is no respite from the darkness and destruction here. It's like Barker read The Last Battle and said, "Pfft. I'll show you how you call Armageddon down on a pleasant little piece of escapist fantasy real estate." The only moments that are possibly intended to provide hope aren't earned, because they aren't built up in the previous volumes. And in his zeal to bring down ruin on everything joyful and beautiful about the Abarat that we do already know, Barker creates more loose ends than he ties up.
There's ample imagination on display, and Candy is still someone worth watching the end of the world with, which saves this book from one star. But one wishes the journey of the first book could have gone on far, far longer, if this was its ultimate destination.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The long awaited third in this wonderful series absolutely repays fans' patience. Barker does something that I'm not sure I've ever noticed a YA series do, and that is to grow in complexity as the original readers grow in age. The first book was a fun imaginative whimsical ride through the land of Abarat. The second continued the fantastic journey of Candy Quackenbush, but the storm clouds of war begin rolling in and the tone becomes much darker. Now with the third installment, Barker's writing has almost matched that of his adult books. The dark and disturbing tone and the detailed descriptions of the horrors unleashed by Mater Motley are in deep contrast to the bright colors and whimsey of the first book. Being a long time fan of Barker's, this just made the series even that much more appealing to me.
The first chapter is great - intriguing, new and in keeping with my expectations.
After that...well, either I kept falling asleep and all my memories of the book are really weird dreams, or that first chapter was the only one actually written by Barker and the rest was written by an alien or something. I was distressed by some plot twists, and befuddled by others. Candy was barely recognizable as the cool young woman discovering who she is. Even Mater Motley's evilness was less interesting. Disappointed and confused.