The Thief of Always Paperback – Nov 11 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
When a 10-year-old boy wishes to be delivered from a boring afternoon, a creature takes him to the Holiday House. "Barker masterfully embroiders this fantasy world with a mounting number of grim, even gruesome details," wrote PW, "in a tale that manages to be both cute and horrifying." Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
YA-- What teens could resist an opening line like "The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive"? Harvey succumbs to the lure of instant pleasure, and lives to battle his way back to the real world twice , in order to regain all that he has lost. Lots of white space and full-page black-and-white illustrations invite readers to harken back to their younger days and the pleasures of folk and fairy tale collections. A candidate for reading aloud, this new twist on the fable genre may lead to independent writings or a new appreciation of the form. Layered with both supernatural elements and a large dose of horror, this one will entice fantasy fans to broaden their reading interests.
- Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel is about a young boy named Harvey Swick, bored and entrapped in the torpor of a dreary February. He gets a visit from an unlikely character named Rictus who proposes he take a much needed vacation at The Holiday House, a place where children can have all the fun they want. Harvey agrees and leaves behind his world into the magical fantasy world of The Holiday House, which seemingly appears to have all that a child could ask for: presents, delicious foods, ever-changing seasons--Halloween and Christmas every night! But behind this pretty facade lurks a sinister plot that tests the fortitude of Harvey and his friends, challenging him to fight back for his very soul.
I highly recommend this story. Albeit it could be classified as a children's story, it is apt for all ages. Another treat about this book (at least the first edition, anyway) are the wonderful illustrations drawn by Clive Barker himself, which really evince the remarkable genius that he possesses. I urge parents to go buy this book and read it with their children, or read it for themselves! It is truly a great story.
It turns out that I had nothing to worry about. The Thief of Always is a classic fable with enough originality to make it fresh. I was hooked as soon as I read the first paragraph.
Mr. Barker shows an insight into the mind of a child that I don't think I expected from a man who made his mark with tales of gruesome horror. Then again, I probably should have known better given the amazing insight into the human psyche that was apparent in many of his short stories. (Take, for instance, his commentary on mob mentality in "In the Hills, the Cities.")
Like many children in such tales, Harvey's downfall is his boredom and his desire for something different, something fun. He finds himself drawn into a world of wonders that quickly becomes a world of horrors. Barker's supporting cast, the good and the evil, are flawlessly executed with just enough surreal charm to make you fear what might really be going on in Holiday House.
The evil in the story is horrifying (without going too far for a younger reader) and Barker's message is clear. Harvey learns that nothing comes without a price and that time is precious. He learns to appreciate each moment he has with his family and friends, no matter how dull those moments may sometimes seem. In the process of making these discoveries, he also proves himself to be a hero as he overcomes his own weakness to defeat Mr. Hood.
I highly recommend this book for young and old alike ... I've recommended it to my husband, since he's been looking for a light read and this one is well worth the time.
Most recent customer reviews
I started reading this book when i was 13. There was a copy of it in my library at school funny enough. Anyways i had to return it before i finished it much to my dismay. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2003 by Victoria
Don't make the mistake in thinking this is ANOTHER cliché haunted house story, which is what I thought it would be when I first picked it up. It really isn't.Published on Oct. 11 2003
Someone who is only familiar with Clive Barker's more graphic adult horror novels and stories may be surprised by the lighter tone of this book. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2003 by Babytoxie
The diction is written like a child's faerie tale, completely descriptive and abundant in lush similes, metaphors, colors, sounds, smells, shapes, sizes, feelings, textures,... Read morePublished on May 27 2003
I am an adult, and during procrastination time I read this book. It is great. It talks exactly about a boy who wants it to be holiday season all the time. Read morePublished on April 28 2003 by Amazon Customer
This book is a decent book for those 14 and under. I'm 16 and read it as it was recomended to me by my brother. I found the plot to be predictable and somewhat boring. Read morePublished on April 1 2003
that's exactly what this book is. the vivid detail from the setting to the characters feelings is astounding. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2003 by ThrashDemon