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The Thief of Always
The Thief of Always
Author: Clive Barker
Mr. Hood's Holiday House has stood for a thousand years, welcoming countless children into its embrace. It is a place of miracles, a blissful rounds of treats and seasons, where every childhood whim may be satisfied...There is a price to be paid, of course, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by Mr. Hood's wonders, does not ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780061091469
ISBN-10: 0061091464
Publication Date: 10/1/1993
Pages: 288
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 146 ratings
Publisher: HarperTorch
Book Type: Paperback
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reviewed The Thief of Always on
Helpful Score: 7
Although I have not been able to bring myself to read more than a bit of Barker's other works, this one is beautifully plotted and beautifully written. I have read it twice. It reads like a modern fairy tale, and I feel that it is mistakenly classified as horror. Granted, horror is an element in many fairy tales, but the fear in this one is nothing like what you find, for instance, in a Stephen King story. It is the delicious fear of a fairy tale, when you know that the bad thing could never really happen to anybody, but the writer has gotten you to suspend disbelief. There is a sort of moral to the story, too, which is another frequent element in fairy tales, but I must leave the reader to discover for himself what that it, because I don't want to give away the ending.
reviewed The Thief of Always on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
What a great story. I literally read this in about two hours. It was so good I couldn't put it down. I've read some of Barker's work in the past and they've been pretty heavy works. This was different. I almost want to say it was written with the teen or young adult in mind, as it was a very quick and easy read. Despite that, the story was great.

Mr. Hood's house had stood for a thousand years tempting children bored with their lives and looking for excitement. There is a price to pay for the bliss that the children receive. Harvey is different however, he sees through the charade and eventually sees the dark side of the house. He was the will power and courage to fight back against the house.

Some things seemed a bit stretched, but I'll forgive these minor issues because of the quality of this novel. I wish Clive would write more novels like this one. Great stuff.
reviewed The Thief of Always on + 219 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Read this from cover to cover in 2 days-suspenseful. But the big surprise was when I was describing it to my 8 yr old daughter, she wanted to read it. We ended up reading it aloud on a car trip, and everytime we stopped (dry mouth-LOL), my husband who was driving, begged us to keep going! I don't re-read many books, but would definitely read this again, and I'm not usually a fan of science-fiction or suspense
reviewed The Thief of Always on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was an excellent book, every bit as imaginative (and disturbing) as I've come to expect from the works of Clive Barker. While not especially gory like some of his other films and novels, there is a distinct sense of menace and suspense throughout the novel, that really keeps the reader entranced. NOT recommended for young readers, though - there's an earlier version of this book that's formatted to look like a childrens story book, which it is most definitely not. Teens and up however, particularly those who are fans of fantasy/horror, will love it.
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reviewed The Thief of Always on + 22 more book reviews
This was my first Clive Barker book. It was very off my path of reading which I am trying to accomplish this year. I enjoyed this tale of a boy who is shown a way to a house where a day is a year in your life. Your wishes are granted, except the wish to leave. An entertaining quick read.
reviewed The Thief of Always on + 45 more book reviews
Harvey is 10 years old and bored. School is boring, the weather is boring and there is nothing to look forward to in the middle of boring old February. So when a stranger invites Harvey to visit Holiday House, he is suspicious but eventually gives in to his longing for something fun and different.
At first, Holiday House is everything the stranger promised: the weather is beautiful, every day is Christmas and there is food and treats aplenty. Plus, Harvey enjoys the company of two other children at Holiday House, Wendell and Lulu. Of course, Holiday House is not the wonderful paradise it pretends to be. All those presents and toys and treats have to be paid for. And the price is very steep, indeed.

This was an OK story, rather predictable with what I felt was a weak ending. I mean, why would a creature as old and experienced as Mr. Hood, the power behind the house, fall for the very obvious trick that Harvey pulled on him?
The blurbs in the front of the book claim it is intended for teens and adults but I think most adults would find it as predictable as I did. It was not a surprise that Holiday House turns out to be a snare and a trap and that Mr. Hood is feeding on the souls of all the lost children that end up there. Or that Harvey is the hero who will rise to the occasion and rescue not only himself but all the lost children. Or even that each day at Holiday House is a year in the real world. I can't recommend this book for adults but kids would probably enjoy it.
reviewed The Thief of Always on + 404 more book reviews
For readers aged 10 and up... a moral tale of evil and what it takes to overcome it. Great book!