Weaveworld – Clive Barker

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Remember this book? I posted back in November about how I paid fifty cents for it in an op shop and how I fully intended to read it. Well guess what? I’ve just finished.

A paradise called the Fugue is woven into a carpet, and it’s up to an insurance clerk and a potter to ensure that this Eden remains protected from those who would destroy it. Along the way these two unlikely heroes are threatened by a trio of three witches lead by the celibate Immacolata, her sidekick the sinister salesman Shadwell, and a terrifying entity known only as the Scourge.

Published four years before Imajica, Weaveworld feels like an earlier draft of that later work, as well as Abarat. I don’t have a problem with Barker being fascinated by people from our world traveling in fantastic lands, but it does lead to some of his novels feeling similar. Take the climactic episode when civil unrest explodes in the Fugue as the clerk goes to confront Shadwell in that world’s holiest place. It reminded me a lot of the bit in Imajica when John Furie Zacharias first meets his double as the capital city of Yzordderrex breaks out into civil war. I’d recommend reading Weaveworld before reading Imajica.

More generally, I’d recommend this book to people who enjoyed Barker’s other works, The Labyrinth, or anyone in the mood for some seriously unconventional fantasy. The squeamish, the easily horrified, and those under eighteen should proceed with caution.

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