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Thief of Always by Clive Barker

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This is a guest post by Sarah Rexman.

Thief of Always is an older book by famed horror aficionado Clive Barker, and it could be considered a type of children’s book. Written for those between the ages of 10-13, the story is fantastic for any age and is easily one of my favorite books by this particular author. Your typical premise; boy gets bored, creepy man takes him away, boy is no longer bored.

The Plot:

Harvey Swick is a 12 year old boy who is feeling rather depressed one dreary February day. Feeling depressed and on the verge of giving up, a strange man bursts through his bedroom windows. The man tells Harvey about a magical place known as the Holiday House; in this magical place all the holidays play on a loop in the course of one day, every day. Intrigued, he follows the man to the magical place. Once there, he finds that it’s more than he could hope for and is taken in by the magic of the house. After a while he starts to get home sick and attempts to go home; it’s at this time he begins to realize that there is a price for happiness.

Why It Qualifies:

This really short book deals with the “Paradox Twins” premise when Harvey finds out that one day inside the Holiday House is equivalent to 1 year in the real world. It also incorporates golems, a sentient home, a vampire, memory extraction, and a force field.

The Reason I like It:

It’s really dark, especially for the intended age group. It deals with the concepts of kidnapping and murder and captures the impatience of a child and counters it with very harsh consequences. The illustrations are typical Barker, creepy and well-drawn fitting perfectly with the theme of the book. I also think that this is his best work ever and I’ve read a few of his other works, the reason being is that it’s short and concise unlike his adult works that seem to be rather long winded and somewhat more difficult to get into.

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fable, Young Adults, Horror
Word Count: 38,592 (with title and chapter names included) ; 38,478 (without title and chapter names)
Original Publishing Date: January 1st, 1992
Original Publisher: Harper Collins

Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for bedbugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a degree in environmental science.  Her current focus for the site involves researching how to eliminate bed bugs and the top bed bug medications.