Until a couple of years ago, I'd never heard of Clive Barker. That changed when I met my husband. He'd originally made me watch all the Hellraiser movies (he coughed up an eel!), and then got me some Barker books to read. I loved Weaveworld and The Great and Secret Show. So, when I found this book, I figured it would be something special. And boy, was it.
Thief of Always is a fairy tale. I don't mean like Snow White or Cinderella. I'm talking about a REAL fairy tale - the "you go in, and a hundred years have passed when you leave" kind of fairy tale. The "don't eat the food or you'll be stuck there forever" kind of fairy tale.
It's not *just* a fairy tale, though. It's also a vampire story.
Harvey is bored with his life - we've all been there. But he gets an invitation to a magical house from a creepy flying man who broke into his room. I know we've all been there, too! Harvey accpets the offer, and goes with the flying man (Rictis) to the Holiday House, where it's spring in the morning, summer in the afternoon, autumn in the evening, and winter at night. They celebrate Halloween and Christmas every day, and the children are fed anything they could possibly wish for. Harvey quickly realizes, though, that everything isn't quite what it seems.
The book appears to end about halfway through, when Harvey manages to escape. But, you knew from the second he first sets foot into the Holiday House that that can't be the end of the story. He has to go back and kill the House.
I love the timeless quality of this book. Even though it was written back in 1992, there's nothing to make it feel dated. It's a story of a boy who learns to appreciate the time he has.
...this book made me think a lot of The Phantom Tollbooth in that regard. But without the puns and wordplay, and for more of a young adult audience.