Imajica is the fourth novel written by Clive Barker and it's one of the more incredible pieces I've ever read. The story is often classified as a fantasy novel, but there are no dwarves, elves or any of the other trappings of your standard fantasy environment. It's called fantasy, because of the fantastic environment, and because there's magic and sorcery and other fantasy-like elements, but I would venture to say that the book defies cataloguing.

The title of the book comes from the name of the "universe" in which the book is set, which is somewhat difficult to describe . The Imajica is made up of five dominions (or dimensions, or realms), of which Earth is one - the fifth dominion - and for centuries, Earth has been cut off from the rest of the Imajica, separated by the In Ovo which is a chasm the likes of which are incomprehensible to the mind. The four dominions that are not earth, are called the "Reconciled Dominions", and travellers can and do move between them freely. To travel between the four reconciled dominions and earth, however, one must possess magical talent. Since magical talent on earth has dwindled over the past several hundred years - thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group called the Tabula Rasa - knowledge of the other dominions and the Imajica has been lost.

The Imajica is rediscovered by three characters, who also discover that a reconciliation period occurs every two hundred years, and that time is at hand. I really can't say much more about the plot without spoilers.

One of the strong points of this book is the characterization. The characters in the story are very well realized, even if they seem two-dimensional and bland at first. This is actually intentional because at first these people are two-dimensional and unrealized. John Furie Zacharius, a.k.a. "Gentle" is a forger who duplicates art by famous artists. He is also a player. Pie 'oh' Pah is an assassin - but that's about all I can say about Pie without giving away major plot details. And Judith Odell. She used to be one of Gentle's old conquests.

Another strong point - if you can consider it a point at all - is the names that Barker gives to things. There's a city - actually the biggest city in the Imajica - called Yzordderrex, and another called Patashoqua, a goddess named Uma Umagammagi and God's real name, as we find out in the book, is Hapexamendios. Barker describes how he came up with this name:

The name Hapexamendios has three roots. Dios is obviously God; Amen speaks for itself; and Hapax means an event that only happens once. Just thought you'd like to know.

I should mention that God is not portrayed in a very positive light, (although Jesus is - go figure), so Christians and other religious types need to suspend disbelief while reading this one or pass it by.

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