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Days of magic, nights of war
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-12. The whimsy is back in full force in the sequel to Abarat (2002), but this story is quirkier, much darker, and laced with real horror. Candy Quakenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota, and the geshrat Malingo are traveling the islands of Abarat, taking in all the fantastic sights. Unfortunately, the Lord of Midnight and his evil minions are in hot pursuit. He is obsessed with Candy, but he knows she must die to prevent her thwarting his gruesome plans. The mystery of her birth haunts her as she gradually finds herself remembering things she shouldn't know, including magic, and she begins to wonder if the struggle between the Night-world and the Day-world is at the heart of why she is in the strange land. Barker lovingly and graphically describes the wonders of a magical world, and his vivid scenes of near captures, deaths, and a climactic sea battle that ends in Chickentown will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Once again, more than 100 unusual, full-color paintings by Barker enhance the story. --Sally Estes Copyright 2004 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Picaresque digression yields to plot development in this second entry about the archipelago of the Abarat, where each island is ruled by a different hour of the day. Candy Quackenbush and her loyal geshrat pal Malingo are on the run from Christopher Carrion, Lord of Midnight, still scheming to conquer the forces of Day. As Candy begins to uncover her hidden powers, Malingo joins allies old and new in searching for the lost hero Finnegan Hob. Meanwhile, back in our reality, the inhabitants of quotidian Chickentown are troubled by ominous portents. It's all fantastically complicated and dreamlike, sensations intensified by the elaborate sonorous imagery, constant abrupt transitions, and Barker's hallucinogenic jewel-like illustrations. Unfortunately, rather than trust his descriptive powers, he repeatedly tells readers how to feel, with a peculiarly flattening impact. Candy's personality is particularly drab, when contrasted with the frenzied phantasmagoria all around her. Scenes of chilling abuse and gruesome death cast dark, macabre shadows over the adventure. Yet when all the threads are pulled together in a splendidly apocalyptic finale of cinematic scope (film rights have been optioned by Disney), the satisfying resolution leaves plenty of room for sequels. Expect heavy demand. (Fantasy. 12+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
<p>Candy Quackenbush's adventures in the amazing world of the Abarat are getting more strange by the hour. Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight, has sent his henchman to capture her. Why? she wonders. What would Carrion want with a girl from Minnesota? And why is Candy beginning to feel that the world of Abarat is familiar to her? Why can she speak words of magic she doesn't even remember learning?</p> <p>There is a mystery here. And Carrion, along with his fiendish grandmother Mater Motley, suspects that whatever Candy is, she could spoil their plans to take control of the Abarat.</p> <p>Now Candy's companions must race against time to save her from the clutches of Carrion, and she must solve the mystery of her past before the forces of Night and Day clash and Absolute Midnight descends upon the islands.</p> <p>A final war is about to begin. And Candy is going to need to make some choices that will change her life forever ...</p>
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