I recently finished the 3rd in the Abarat trilogy by Clive Barker - Absolute Midnight - which was published earlier this year. Barker is best known for his horror, but the Abarat series is young adult fantasy, though still quite dark.
The Abarat trilogy follows the adventures of Candy Quackenbush, a young woman from Chickentown who is swept into the Abarat by a mysterious wave that overtakes the town one day. She is taken to the Abarat - a world where each hour of the day is an island unto itself. In the first two books her journeys take her all around the islands, to Chickentown, and back again. She makes both friends and enemies, all of which play a part in Absolute Midnight.
In this final book, Candy and her friends must defend the islands against a darkness that would envelop the Abarat, brought about by a wicked sorceress and her mysterious allies. Candy has mastered some magic in her journeys; it enables her to fight not only the enemies of the Abarat but also her abusive, alcoholic father who (with the help of some washed-up Abarat magic) attacks Candy as she dreams.
One of the very interesting aspects of the series is how Barker creates many paintings for each one, showing pictorially the places and persons that can be somewhat difficult to imagine as they are so out of this world.
I have to say, I found the ending of Absolute Midnight somewhat dissatisfying... but maybe that's because I sound the story so fascinating that I just didn't want it to end. Seems like he's gearing up for a sequel? As if waiting for THIS to come out wasn't torture enough!
This trailer for Absolute Midnight shows some of the imagery from it - though the first part gets kinds boring so you might want to skip forward:
(Click here for embedded video)
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