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The Thief of Always Paperback – Nov 11 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Nov. 11 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061684260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061684265
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #290,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read Clive Barker's enchanting story, "The Thief of Always," in sixth grade. I loved it so much that it never left my mind, and I found myself often thinking about it in highschool, though I unfortunately couldn't remember the title. I was recently lucky to come across the exact same paperback edition at a bookstore brand new, and bought it with joyous whoops of exultation. The story has got it all: fantasy, horror, memorable characters, and deeper meanings.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Prior to this novel, I had only read Mr. Barker's short stories in the combined volume of his Books of Blood. Many of those stories were pure genius, with riveting plot twists and original premises, but I must admit that I wasn't sure how that would translate into a novel suitable for all ages...
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.
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Format: Paperback
I encountered this book in the 6th grade as part of a class reading project and fell in love with it. 'Thief' is an incredible tale laced with Barker's one-of-a-kind imagery and craft. This book is both memorable and instantly re-readable. Fans of Barker's other masterpieces ('The Great and Secret Show,' 'Everville,' etc) will not be disappointed by the attention he lavishes on his characters, who are all completely fleshed out and believable. The evil menace of the story, Mr. Hood, is described in chilling detail, but the story never wavers from its intended audience: children. Though not what you might expect in a children's book (mild profanity, isolated scenes resembling a horror movie), the story is at once powerful and memorable, and the evil force at work here, Mr. Hood, ranks with some of the greatest villians in literary history. The book has a "movie" feel in that the plot moves swiftly to its conclusion--almost leaving you trying to catch your breath. In short, a tour de force! Lovers of Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth" will find much to appreciate here.
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Format: Paperback
I have always been a fan of horror, and this was the book I actually read to my son that finally started him on his own road of reading for pleasure. A young boy is unhappy with his life; he doesn't like school and doesn't like his parents, and wishes for a place where he can play all day long and have no responsibilities. He finds that place when creepy Rictus leads him through the mists to a place he has always dreamed of. Kindly old Mrs. Griffin runs a quaint little house, cooking marvelous meals for the boys and girls with her cats. Harvey soon finds that this place is magical, every morning is Spring, every afternoon Summer, every evening is Autumn, and every night Winter. The children play in the warmth of summer, have Halloween every evening, and Christmas every night. He makes friends with Wendell and Lulu, and meets some freakish inhabitants. But when he finally finds the lake with the strange fish, and witnesses Lulu changing, that he realizes this wonderful place is a trap and he cannot leave. He seeks a way out, and with the help of Mrs. Griffin's cats he makes it through the misty barrier, only to find that for every day that passes in the House, a year passed in the outside world. Harvey must set things to right again, and that means returning across the misty barrier and confronting the dreaded Mr. Hood. A very enjoyable read, and surprisingly good to read to older children, especially those who may be unhappy with school. Sometimes, you get what you wish for, only to find out its not what you really wanted....
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