This is my favorite book series of all time. Clive Barker writes the books and does all of the artwork for this series, and even adds in poems that are "written" by the inhabitants of the Abarat. This gives the reader a beautifully detailed three-dimensional world to explore by following the adventures of a girl from our world who goes there. Points of interest of the book are as follows:
Good first for a series (lays the ground for more development in later books)
Uncommon magical concepts (Example: Speaking a glyph into creation. A glyph is a flying machine made from words and air.)
Diverse character races (From Sea-Skippers(pictured below) to Skizmut to Geshrats(also below), Abarat has it all.)
Diverse setting (There are 25 islands or Hours of the Abarat, each representing an Hour of the day, and the 25th hour, also known as Odom's Spire or the Time out of Time. Each Hour also has a theme, if you will, of things we associate with that Hour. Example: Gorgossium, the Hour of Midnight, is the heart of darkness in the Abarat.)
Klepp's Almanac (If you buy the hardcover version, in the back there is Klepp's Almanac, the "time-honored guide to the islands" which explains all the Hours and details the main attractions or features of each island.)
Long wait between book publishings (This is only a complaint for fans however.)
Ideas of the themes of the Hours might not line up with yours. (Example: The Nonce, Three o'clock in the Afternoon, has the theme of evolution and creation. To some, Three o'clock should be a resting time, not a period of great activity.)
I hope this review has encouraged someone to read Abarat. It is one of the most epic unsung books I know. But if you need more encouragement to read, Abarat is summarized in a poem by Clive Barker himself, and it details why this book is amazing:
I dreamed a limitless book, A book unbound, Its leaves scattered in fantasic abundance.
On every line there was a new horizon drawn, New heavens supposed; New states, new souls.
One of those souls, Dozing through some imagined afternoon, Dreamed these words. And needing a hand to set them down, Made mine.