Barker has created an interesting world but I found that the whole story was overshadowed by the ending. But that is only because I didn’t realise that it was book 1 of a series.
The characters and world that Barker introduces us to is quite fantastic, in both senses of the word
The main character, Candy Quackenbrush (isn’t that a great name), lives in the small boring Chickentown. As you may have guessed from the town’s name, it revolves around chickens, in particular the slaughtering and processing of chickens.
Once she meets with John Mischief, and his seven brothers (all of who’s heads are attached to his body), her life begins to change and she travels across the sea of Izabella; the grass. Once she arrives in Abarat we are introduced to a fantastic land made up of 24 islands, each representing an hour of the day; and another island which is the mysterious 25th hour.
The wonderful story is brought to life by the magnificent illustrations in the book. And if you take a look at the spine of the book you will notice that the title can be read from top to bottom, or bottom to top. Or at least with the version I read it could be