Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2. A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

Instead of doing this week's TTT, I decided to do a post to fulfill one of my challenges instead (although I can tell you the only books I care about coming out this fall - In the Age of Love and Chocolate, Untold, and Shadows).  

The second prompt for this challenge asks what book/series I wish more people were reading/talking about.  And this is so easy, and if you know me at all there is no question in your mind what I'm going to pick.  (Well ok, you probably have a couple books in mind, but I'm going to pretend you are all psychic)

I mean how could I not pick this series?  People talk about how amazing the world building is, or how original characters in a certain series are, or the plot twists.  Why are these books not at the top of everyone's list then?

The world building...don't even get me started.  You have NEVER seen world building like it is done here.  It is completely unique - there are 25 islands, all with their own culture, religion, and the people on all these islands are unlike anything you have ever heard described before.  Even better - there are paintings.  And I don't think it takes away from your imagination - it really enhances it.  I mean look at those paintings...can you even imagine a world with artwork like that?  All of these books have around 200 paintings that Clive Barker does himself and they are AMAZING.  I mean just look at those covers - that's ALL Clive Barker.  And it's a big part of the reason that the books have such huge gaps between them (and that gap is a big part of why I think it doesn't have a huge following).  These paintings are huge in real life - if you go to his site he shows a bunch of his artwork, some for this, some for general other things.  My picture on this blog?  That is a Clive Barker painting.  As is the picture for those who don't have a Disqus profile.

Many of you won't know Clive Barker's name, and that's because he's not usually a YA (although I would call this NA) author.  You will recognize him from other things though - he's the creator of Hellraiser for one.  He works in film, video games, comics, and he has a billion other series he works on.  Any of you who are fans of Neil Gaiman or Stephen King should check him out.  He writes horror/fantasy, and warning it can get quite graphic (and btw, Stephen King is a fan of his).

Depth of characters?  Incredible.  Christopher Carrion (pictured below with a painting of John Mischief and with Clive Barker himself)  is a villain that actually repulses you to your very core...and yet you pity him.  He's so lonely, and all he wants is to be loved.  Yet he's also truly evil.  He actually reminds me quite a bit of The Phantom, from Phantom of the Opera now that I think about it.  His mother (pictured in the dress made out of people's skins with the dead creatures following her) - now THERE'S a terrifying villain.  She is to Cora what Carrion is to Regina, if you watch Once Upon a Time.  Then there's the good guys, and they are as varied as you can get.  John Mischief, who has...7? 10?  brothers living on his head, Candy who is an ordinary girl (or so she seems from the beginning) from Minnesota, Malingo is like a leathery monkey... the list goes on and on.  Each character is really a person, not just good/bad character, etc.  They all have their own moral compasses, their own history.  And the diversity...clearly there's not an issue.  And falling in love isn't restricted to certain species or gender.  It's amazing and I love this world so much.  Speaking of - this world isn't fluffy and sparkly.  It's not like stepping into Hogwarts.  It's dangerous, and much of it is eat or be eaten. 
Honestly, it would be impossible to describe all the intricacies of the characters, let alone much about Abarat.  It's something you have to experience for yourself, and it is well worth it.  I guarantee you there it is nothing like anything you've read before.

Hopefully I've convinced at least one person out there to go pick up this series (in hardcover so you can get all the artwork...my not so subtle hints with all the artwork here should have convinced you!).  I NEED SOMEONE TO COMMISERATE WITH ME ON HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE BOOK! And how awesome everything is.  Go.  Buy.  This.  Book.  Series.


  1. Wow, you have MORE than won me over with the artwork alone! It reminds of, like you said, Neil Gaiman, and also sounds like it might be a little like The Magicians by Lev Grossman. BRB, for real gonna go buy this book now.

  2. YES mission accomplished! Seriously though, I've only known one person who read the books (and in fact was the person who introduced me to them if I recall correctly), and I've only seen one blogger mention them, which I really think is a shame. Let me know when you read them, I'd love to know what you think! (Especially about a particularly large plot twist in the third book. Man I really want to reread these now and I just don't have time!)

  3. Hmmm, I've heard of this one, but I wasn't sure if it was really my thing. However, you've convinced me to give it a try. That are is crazy and fascinating. You might like Walter Moers if you enjoy the blending of art and story.

  4. Yay! I really think this series deserves more recognition than it gets (and not just because I'm obsessed with the artwork haha)

    I just looked up Walter Moers and his Zamoniem series looks hilarious! I'll definitely check it out


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