Wasn't sure where to put this, so since it's a new millennium publication figured it should go here.
Barker weaves a fantastical tale of a young girl, Cindy, who is inadvertently spirited away to the Abarat - a magical kingdom peopled by strange and unusual inhabitants. There are many islands that make up the Abarat, each island representing a separate hour of the day, and remains transfixed within that hour. But strange things are afoot here, as black magician Christopher Carrion is seeking ultimate rule through magic and conceit, whereas Rojo Pixler is conspiring conquest of a commercial kind.
This is the first in a series and as such finishing it was always going to be a bit like leaving a story halfway through. But that's not the main problem here - the main stumbling block is that it's nowhere near as potent or brilliant as Barker's earlier work. It's as if he's trying to create his own Harry Potter-esque series and it just doesn't quite work. I found it a bit of a chore get through, if I'm honest, and it's doubtful whether I'll proceed with the rest of the series - it just didn't captivate me enough, unfortunately.