Thursday, March 22, 2012

Abarat: Absolute Midnight

Barker, Clive. 2011. Abarat: Absolute Midnight. New York: Harper Collins.

I don't read many YA books, so I'm not typically searching the YA stacks to see what's new.  That's how Abarat: Absolute Midnight 's September 2011, release slipped right past me. Of course, I'm one of the lucky ones.  I read the second book in the Abarat series, Days of Magic, Nights of War, back in 2008.  I've only been waiting 4 years for the sequel.  True fans have been waiting seven years for Clive Barker's latest tale of the Abarat. The original Abarat appeared in 2002, with the second in the series showing up two years later in 2004.  Since then, nothing.  Nothing but rumors - two more books! no, three books -  A movie! - no, no movie ...

But now, after 7 years of rumors and waiting, book 3 of a planned 5 book series is here, and it is as massive a project (582 pages and a hundred paintings, or thereabouts) as the first two books in the series.  With the fate of Christopher Carrion in question (did he perish in Chickentown?) and Mater Motley poised to deliver darkness to all of the Hours, Candy returns to the Abarat to meet her destiny, which, though cloudy at first, becomes clearer with each passing day.  Candy Quackenbush, of Chickentown, Minnesota has a role to play in determining the fate of the Abarat. With her devoted and trusting companion, Malingo, the geshrat, Candy will follow her destiny wherever it leads - even to Gargossium, midnight, the 24th hour. 

Although this book may be darker in tone, the reader never has the feeling that the politely indomitable Candy will fail. In fact, while other readers may revel in the Abarat's more horrific and macabre characters, it is Candy (and Malingo) that have ensured my return.  Coming from a sadly dysfunctional home in a boring Midwest town, traveling to the Abarat, and then back to Chickentown in a showdown between the two worlds, Candy emerges not broken, but steady, independent and resourceful - sure of her convictions, whatever the cost.  Malingo senses this in Candy, as well as the magic that resides in her.  She may not understand or see her true potential, but Malingo sees it, protects it, and relies upon it.  Together they are a perfect pair.  It remains to be seen how Candy's newest admirer will change the dynamics in this touching human/geshrat friendship.

The fate of the Abarat still hangs in the balance.  Perhaps all of the answers may be found on the 25th hour, Odom's Spire.  Based on past history, we may have to wait some time to find out!

Click here for the latest news from Clive Barker's website on the future of the Abarat series.

An Absolute Midnight Review from the LA Times

Previous reviews:
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War

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