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Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker

Oh… Clive Barker, you had me fooled, you tricksy devil! Here I was sitting around, waiting for years for the third and FINAL installment in the Abarat series to come out, and what do you know? You leave a freaking cliff hanger at the end! A clear opening for another book! *sigh* And now I get to wait some more… 

I’ve been following this series for about six years now, and I believe that Barker’s work is one of the most sprawling fantasy epics produced in a long time. Plus he paints all of the art work for his books himself, which I really respect. Not quite as magical as Harry Potter (which has pretty much achieved classics status at the point) but pretty amazing nonetheless. I can picture this as a great CGI movie in a few years.

Absolute Midnight is the third and heftiest book in the series thus far. The tension between Candy Quakenbush and co, Christopher Carrion, and Mater Motley has reached an all time high and war has erupted over the 25 islands of their world. (One island for every hour of the day–set up like a clock face–with an ocean in between. Plus one hour to grow on, duh.) Carrion has disappeared, and is presumed dead and Mater Motley has risen to power. She intends to blot out the sun, the moon, and every star in the sky, imposing Absolute Midnight on all of Abarat and thus achieving total domination. Pretty intense stuff.

I really enjoyed this book, although I will say I didn’t get to read it properly. I had to consume it in 15 minute time blocks a few times a week during lunch break. Because of this, it took a looooong time to read. Plus, I made the executive decision not to re-read the other two simply because I don’t like to repeat myself and I didn’t want to eat up time on something I’d already read. Oh well. I still appreciated the story.

However, as is typical in any series, I still feel like the first book was the best. There were parts of Absolute Midnight that seemed to drag a bit, and some scenes I felt weren’t needed at all. I also didn’t like how quickly and randomly a love interest was thrown in the mix for Candy–especially directly after a conversation with Carrion about love. It just seemed too convenient.

Everyone should give Abarat a whirl at least once, maybe twice if you liked it. And any die-hard fan should definitely read book three. It wasn’t my favorite, but we’ll just have to see what Clive Barker has left up his sleeve in another three years…

3 of 5 stars

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