Imajica - damn strange
"Damn strange" is how one of the characters in Imajica responds when he hears an odd tale recounted to him and that phrase is certainly applicable to Imajica itself. This story is ambitious, complex, and bizarre on many levels. Within this tale our world is known as the fifth dominion and it is the only one of the five dominions that remains unreconciled. For centuries, the Tabula Rasa has kept the powers of the other four dominions at bay but the time for another possible reconciliation approaches. The Tabula Rasa will go to any extreme to prevent such a reconciliation as the other dominions are full of strange and powerful creatures that are not welcome here.
Imajica covers the long series of events that lead up to this possible reconciliation attempt on a journey across all five dominions. It is a story that slowly, and I do mean slowly, peels back the onion to uncover one secret after another. Almost every character is more than they seem at first and each step of the way there is guaranteed to be a sexual encounter of some kind between some or all of them. Sexuality is core to this story and it is ever present throughout and sometimes it gets as bizarre as everything else. What would you do if you met a new creature that was humanoid but neither male nor female? Of course you would have sex with it. How about a strange being with many tentacles? You get the idea...
Despite the fact that this was a New York Times Bestseller, for me this story definitely outstayed its welcome and I was ready for it to be over long before it was. The characters never grabbed me nor did I ultimately care if they succeeded in their endeavors. In fact, the reader does not know if reconciliation of the fifth dominion is a better outcome or not until the very end so it is hard to know who to root for. For many people and reviewers this is a classic book that has achieved legendary status as a masterwork of Clive Barker; however, I am not one of them. If you want a long, strange, bizarre adventure and you don't mind a lot of sexual encounters along the way then go ahead and pick this up; however, I can think of many other works of Fantasy that I would rather spend my time with than this one.
For audiobook fans Simon Vance did his usual excellent job on the narration but he isn't enough to carry the day here. I do think his reading makes the story better but the audiobook clocks in at 37 hours, which is perhaps twice as long as the story deserves.