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Friday, 30 March 2018

Book Review: The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Harvey Swick is a 10-year-old boy who is bored with his life - he's tired of school, homework and the winter months. That is, until a creature tells him all about a place called the Holiday House, where you can have anything you wish for and it is Christmas every evening.


"The great grey beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive."

It's not very often that I read a book that completely changes my outlook on life. It happens once in a blue moon, but when I do find these books they are extra special. Recently I've found myself to be one of those people who  are always waiting for and looking towards something in the future, whether that is the weekend or the Easter holidays or my next vacation away somewhere exotic. I'm waiting for "better" days and "better" times. However, once I closed this book I was left with an overwhelming realisation that THESE are those days. Life is now, time is finite. Something exciting and enjoyable can be found in each day, even if it's something small. It can be that the barista made your latte JUST the way you like it, or it could be getting to spend quality time with your parents, or even be something as minuscule as getting bookmail (who am I kidding, getting bookmail is THE BEST). These are the books that burrow into your heart and leave their mark on you. The books that you lend or recommend to a friend, feeling as if you're sharing some innermost part of yourself.

Now that I've got the sentimental part out of the way... THE FANGIRLING CAN COMMENCE. I can wholeheartedly say that I have loved everything Barker that I have devoured so far. He is right up there in my top 3 authors now. His writing, his world-building, his imagination... it all blows me away. I'm a huge fan of his horror - I love the fucked-up shit he thinks up, I love the gore, the way he manages to make it terrifying and fucking weird, yet beautiful. And then he comes along and knocks me out with this stunningly beautiful, touching CHILDREN'S book. I had a number of messages from people on instagram not knowing that Barker wrote anything beyond horror. Well, he does, and if you are put off by his horror, he has other sights to show you... *smug face* Like this book - THIS ONE! Get it!

The illustrations are gorgeous and they are, of course, done by Barker himself, enhancing the entire reading experience. It's such a magical, wonderful story and I want everyone to experience it (but don't tell me if you hate it, cos I don't think my heart could take it!). Upon starting the book there were so many comments from people who said this book changed their life or that it was the gateway book into the wonderful world of reading... I GOT YOU, GUYS. I get it. I wish I had experienced this book when I was young, but I am equally happy to find it in adulthood where I could maybe appreciate the different themes a bit more. However I look forward to reading this to my kids someday - or any kids - hell, maybe I'll just start reading it to random kids on the street.

It's so amazing to me that children's books are often the ones that teach you the most valuable lessons. My other favourite childhood book is The Hobbit, which taught me to not be afraid to step outside your front door and go on an adventure - it really could be the making of you!

So I implore anyone and everyone to pick up this book. There's so much to found within this story and the last paragraph alone had me in tears. AMAZING. 5 stars from me!

Johann
x

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