Several recent fantasy novels are even now being touted as classics in children's and young adult fiction. The Harry Potter books come first to mind, followed by Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. With the release of Clive Barker's second volume in the Abarat quartet, there is another contender for the title of children's classic. In <B>Days of Magic, Nights of War</B>, Barker continues the adventures of Candy Quackenbush with a style that is full of wonder, both dark and light.
Candy and her friend Malingo are still traveling through the 25 islands that make up Abarat, exploring the different isles while trying to avoid the minions of Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight. Carrion seeks Candy because he senses she is more than just a young girl who accidentally came from Hereafter into Abarat. Candy begins to wonder herself, especially after she displays an ability with magic unusual for a girl from Chickentown, Minnesota. As more disasters follow her, Candy becomes concerned for those around her, fearing that she is a magnet for ill luck. Meanwhile, in Candy's hometown, ghosts warn of an impending disaster. Through it all, the schemes of Carrion and his twisted grandmother, Mater Motley, leave no doubt that Abarat is facing dark days. Readers of the first volume will not be disappointed by the second entry in the series. This is a work of many colors and shadows, with strong characters and intriguing shifts. While this series might be written for younger readers, it is a treasure for adults, too. Take another trip to the islands of hours and enjoy the magic of Abarat.
<I>Colleen Cahill is Recommending Officer of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the Library of Congress.</I>