Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Thief of Always” as Want to Read:
The Thief of Always
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Thief of Always

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  18,112 ratings  ·  918 reviews
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 stop to consider the consequ
...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published October 1993 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1992)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Thief of Always, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Andre Stackhouse Well I'm not sure of anything specific, but I'd say it qualifies as a modern fairy tale. Hansel and Gretel comes to mind. It's also sometimes compared…moreWell I'm not sure of anything specific, but I'd say it qualifies as a modern fairy tale. Hansel and Gretel comes to mind. It's also sometimes compared to Coraline by Neil Gaimen, though that was a decade later. Coraline was influenced by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, so I'd say it's fair to say there's a bit of that in there too. Anyway, this is all speculation about one of my favorite authors and books!(less)
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchThe Thief by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienArtemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Thieves
100th out of 434 books — 843 voters
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldWe Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley JacksonThe Last Unicorn by Peter S. BeagleThe Witches by Roald DahlMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Books you NEVER see on lists but are AWESOME
68th out of 173 books — 88 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Laurel
Edit 4: My love for this book knows no bounds because I managed to get this hard copy of the graphic novel. Signed and hand-numbered (there were only 500 of these going out).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Edit 3: Did I just buy the ebook of this? Yes I did. Gotta be safe in case I lose the paperback copy. <3333

The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.

The most fabulous opening line I’ve ever read. In all seriousness. It shows that there will be beautiful writing in future pages. It is inevitable.

I’ve pra
...more
Zoeytron
Harvey Swick is ten years old and bored out of his skull. It's that dreary month of February, Christmas is over and summer is too far in the future for a small boy to contemplate. He just wants to have some fun. Through an open window flies a man in black by the name of Rictus. His smile is all sharp teeth and is as wide as his face, but he has a glib tongue and promises Harvey all kinds of fun. Plenty of playmates, the coolest treehouse ever, and a house that is almost too good to be true await ...more
Chris
So, when I reviewed Coraline, I mentioned that, in terms of "Young-person-casts-off-illusions-and-outwits-a-vastly-more-powerful-otherworldly-entity-and-comes-to-appreciate-the-realities-of-life" stories, I thought this book was vastly superior. So I jumped onto Bookmooch to see if anyone had a copy. Lo and behold, a nice person in Israel was giving his copy away, so I snagged it. And I stand by my judgment.

Plus, this book has one of the best opening lines I have ever read:

"The great, gray beas
...more
Stepheny
Oh, you’re a horror fan? Read Clive Barker.

Steph, check out Clive Barker. You’ll love him.

Have you read any Barker? He’s brilliant!

These are all things that were being said to me for the last few years. I took note. Then I saw Stephen King saying that Clive Barker is the future of the horror genre. Well, if I am going to listen to anyone I am going to listen to Stephen King.

Everyone knows this.

I took the encouragement of some of my goodreads friends and went with it. I decided to go with the Th
...more
Choco
This was beautiful! I loved it.

"You're real," he said, as he stood panting on the porch. "You are, aren't you?"
He started to laugh at the foolishness of talking to a House, but the smile went from his face as a voice, so soft he was barely certain he heard it, said: "What do you think, child?"

I wish I had read this when I was younger. I know my younger self would've absolutely gone nuts over it. That's all right though, I got to read it now, and anytime I come across a ten year old and they as
...more
Robert Bickers
Read Synopsis
Wow! This is a book that stays with you, if you let it. Harvey Swick, as normal a kid as you'll find, is trapped in paradise. The holiday House is a place where dreams come true - so long as you're willing to play by it's rules. Try to break free, and swim with the fishes.

Clive Barker's prose is brilliant; I can think of no other word that clearly conveys my thoughts on The Thief of Always. From the first line-one of the best ever written, rivaled only by the opening to Gibson's Neu
...more
Lazy Seagull
Alright, well, here I go!

So, I was going along my merry way reading this book, and I found myself being drawn almost completely in. A seemingly childish story, The Thief of Always managed to be both chilling and unbearably cute.

Now people were asking me when they saw me with the book in hand: "Do you like it? Why?"



The characters were well fleshed out and well-thought out. I loved Harvey. Wendell could be irritating, but, hey, that was him.

I loved the House. Hood House. That motherfucking monste
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Fun story! Ten-year-old Harvey Swick is bored with life until he is lured by a stranger to the Holiday House. There, you can have all of your desires fulfilled. Every season happens every day, and you get to celebrate Halloween and Christmas every day. You get to eat all of your most favorite foods and just have fun all day. But there's a trade-off, and you don't find out about it until it's too late. Evil lurks in the Holiday House in the form of an unseen "vampire" thief. He's a different sort ...more
Amber
This is a great book by clive barker. It's about this boy who goes to this house of seasons. It's a story worth checking out and one of the first Clive Barker books I checked out that got me started on his books. I hope one day that thief of always becomes a film because it is a pretty good story.
Qt
A good, interesting, spooky book--just right for October, although it certainly could be read at any time of the year. There are plenty of scary and creepy scenes, but also some thought-provoking bits; it made me feel more appreciative of what I have when I'd finished it.

Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)
I highly recommend this book! I is such a compelling story, written so well. It has a clever plot and keeps you interested till the very end!
Erin (*is in a reviewing slump*)
Clive Barker brings readers this delightful fairy tale, surrounding the main character of young Harvey, a bright adventurous young boy with a stubborn streak. I advise not being put off by its seemingly childlike innocence; this one features monstrous beings, cruel twists of fate, and genuinely frightening outcomes. All ages can enjoy Thief of Always, for it stirs up the imagination and brings back that child in all of us.

Starting off with the basics (Harvey is bored), we are quickly whirled int
...more
Emeraldia Ayakashi
I was surprised.
It’s weird to call a Clive Barker book cute, right? But that’s what The Thief of Always is. Even with demons and soul-stealing and a cat falling into a pot of boiling water and dying, it’s a really cute and deep , like the " soul of Me " who recommmand me this book .
The way that Clive Barkerweave a story that incorporates adventure and horror within a tale suitable for a child is amazing.
This book while being fun and horrific also has a great meaning behind it, one that every c
...more
Alexis
I read this for the first time when I was 12 and I remember my mother being disturbed by some of the scenes I described to her, so much that she decided to read it as well. Ultimately she had to admit that it was a good book. Since then I think I've read it over again two or three times. I adore the story. There are so many intricacies that have fed my imagination that I can still see the images that this book made me conjure up 16 years ago!
Brian Steele
Now that Young Adult+Fantasy+Horror = sales, everyone needs to go back and pick up this slim novel. I'm not a huge fan of Barker's "Abarat" stuff, but this book is the real deal. It's the perfect balance of dread and magic, terror and wonder.
Matthew Hunter
The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive. Here he was, buried in the belly of that smothering month, wondering if he would ever find his way out through the cold coils that lay between here and Easter.

That's an awesome opening to a story on ennui, and the desire to live only for holidays and good times. What would happen if we fast-forwarded through all the ordinary times and lived for holidays, birthdays, and vacations? Life would be very short. And we'd miss out on those qui
...more
M.G. Mason
If somebody would have asked me which contemporary horror writer I would choose to write a dark fantasy largely aimed at children, I must admit that Clive Barker would not be top of the list. Most of his work is sexual often with themes of homosexuality and usually BDSM. Not that I have a problem with this but for those reasons Clive Barker would never jump out at me as being the ideal writer for a children’s dark fantasy. Therefore I was surprised when I opened The Thief of Always and not only ...more
Ceecee
I remember browsing through Booksale, sorting through a lot of books, then looking down at what I'm holding (which were books I was considering to buy), and wondering how on earth "The Thief of Always" got there. Seriously, I felt this book had magical powers or something, and I still suspect that, after almost 5 years. Funny how I only remembered this book just now, since I think it's one of the most amazingly written and illustrated books I've read (and that was just by chance).

I'll have to po
...more
Laura
I loved everything about this book. From the first line; "The great grey beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive" to the crazy/creepy illustrations (which were also done by Clive Barker).Just scary enough for most 10 and older readers but with a story that anyone can enjoy. If you already love Clive Barker keep in mind that this not one of his gory stories. It is an adventure/mystery/fantasy and is perfect for a rainy afternoon with or without the kids.
Karen
Oh me oh my. I don't know how on earth I'm going to review this... but I WILL.

Clive Barker, I LOVE YOU!
Brandon
A friend recommended this to me, and the very next day ANOTHER friend recommended Barker's Abarat, so it seemed like too big of a coincidence to put off reading him any longer. This was a very quick read, and you know a book is good when you lose all sense of time. I read straight through without stopping. The opening sentence, which is, perhaps, the most crucial part of any book, is definitely one of the best I've ever read, and I enjoyed how Barker kept referencing it throughout. I've said it ...more
Fox
Oct 07, 2013 Fox rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sean, Krissy
Recommended to Fox by: Townes v. Z.
I received this book in the mail in early March and began reading it the day I got it. After having read the first few chapters I put it down and did not pick it up again until today -- this was not for lack of enjoyment or want of reading it, life simply got into the way.

The only other Clive Barker book I had read prior to this was Abarat which I thoroughly enjoyed; due to this fact I was expecting The Thief of Always to be akin to that -- it was not. I was pleasantly surprised.

This book weave
...more
Sen
May 29, 2012 Sen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sen by: Laurel
TERRIFIC.

I've just finished this book five minutes ago; now typing out my thoughts of admiration!

If you are reading this review and not know what The Thief of Always is about, please read the synopsis here. I'm afraid I'd spoil when I summarize. Besides, I want to write down my thoughts, RIGHT. NOW.

But wait!!! Allow me to rewind to
/Why I picked up this book:
I was bored, like Harvey. I was tired of all the recent, sucky not-so-good YA's that I read. So, I needed to read something good; goo
...more
Raquel Leite
Dec 04, 2011 Raquel Leite rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vania Silva
Recommended to Raquel by: Segredo Dos Livro
Em O ladrão da eternidade é contada a história do pequeno Harvey Swick que tem o desejo que algo aconteça na “grandiosa e parda fera que Fevereiro era”.
E assim é visitado por Rictus, uma pessoa estranha que o visita e lhe faz uma proposta em que ele, indo com Rictus, fosse para a casa de Férias, onde teria diversão nunca acaba, mesmo nos dias cinzentos e tristes. Estando ele completamente aborrecido com os dias, decide aceitar o convite, descobrindo assim uma casa onde tudo era possível, e onde
...more
Auracat
Goodness gracious, this book was amazing. Thanks to that special someone for letting me read it (aka Ghirardelli).

Seriously, Mr. Clive Barker knows where it's at in terms of thrilling scares. He is the force behind "Hellraiser" and "Candyman", which, if you haven't seen those films, are pretty damn good.

This is a fast read too. Once you start, you won't want to stop. And the ending. That ending. It's such a great payoff. It really leaves you with that warm feeling on the inside.

Not to mention, t
...more
David
I thoroughly enjoyed this fable from the great Clive Barker! If you've never read Barker, start here. While his earlier horror short stories (Books of Blood) and similar books can test just about any stomach and emotional tolerance level, this novel can be enjoyed by all ages from probably age 10 through adult. At some point in his career, Barker ventured into fantasy rather than straight horror, and it was a brilliant move. Barker's style of prose is still distinctive, and he still infuses horr ...more
Geert Daelemans
A touching fable for the young at heart

The Great Grey Beast of February has imprisoned Harvey Swick and the young boy is bored to death. How will he ever survive that dreadfully dull period between New Year and Easter? Contemplating his misery, Harvey discovers that he is not alone in his room. Indeed a somewhat strange and scrawny figure is standing in the corner. The man makes himself known as Mr. Rictus and invites Harvey to the Holiday House. And true, Harvey does not believe his eyes: the h
...more
Joana
O Ladrão da Eternidade é um livro que contém nas suas páginas a descrição do local perfeito para todas as crianças, onde não há preocupações, complicações e se pode fazer o que se quiser. No entanto desde cedo que o nosso pequeno protagonista percebe que nem tudo é assim tão perfeito e algo sombrio se esconde por trás de tanta maravilha.

Gostei bastante da personagem principal que mostra ter uma mente aguçada que consegue ver para lá das ilusões e que consegue tomar decisões e lutar por aquilo qu
...more
Aya Wali
لن تسمعَ وقع أقدامه، ولا همساته، ولا ضحكاته !
لكن وجوده آسرٌ، و ستحصل على كل أمنياتكَ في منزلِ العُطلة [ منزل الأحلام ]
حيثُ تمّر فصول السنة كلها في يومٍ واحد ،
تتكاسل تحت شمس الصيف مخططـًا للهالوين القادم بَعد ساعات ،
و ستحصل على هدية كريسماس كل يومٍ ، كلَّ يوم !
يعرفُ السيد هود كل ما تحلم به . . و حياة المرح و السرور لا تنتهي في منزله ،
لكن حاذر فهو يكرهُ مِن الضيوف كثيرُ الأسئلة ،
لا تدقق كثيرًا فيما حولك . . حتى لو بدا لكَ مريبــًا غريبــًا ،
أو تكترث بشكل خَدمه الأربعة غرباء الأطوار و الشكل ،
يَغويك
...more
Vanessa
Absolutely superb. This is my first Clive Barker and I am HOOKED. I can't wait to read more!!

I've read a lot of fiction and I feel its hard to find truly imaginative story-lines unlike others you've read or heard about. This one is absolutely in a league of it's own and went really quickly. I couldn't wait to return to the story of Harvey's battle again the evil Holiday House and all its devious servants.

It almost reminded me a bit of Miyazaki's Spirited Away. It's a kind of dark, fantastical a
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Santa's Twin
  • Clive Barker's The Great And Secret Show, Volume 2
  • The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
  • Clive Barker's The Thief of Always
  • Clive Barker's A - Z of Horror
  • The Night Boat
  • Shadowland
  • Hellbound Hearts
  • Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories
  • Vampire World I: Blood Brothers (Necroscope, #6)
  • Clive Barker's Hellraiser: Collected Best, Vol. 1
  • Ghoul  (Special X, #2)
  • Clive Barker's Night Breed: Genesis
  • Lovedeath
  • Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic: The Authorized Biography
10366
Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more
More about Clive Barker...
The Great and Secret Show (Book of the Art, #1) The Hellbound Heart Books of Blood, Volumes One to Three Abarat (Abarat, #1) Weaveworld

Share This Book

“Wherever I go, I will speak of you with love.” 91 likes
“Evil, however powerful it seemed,could be undone by its own appetite” 31 likes
More quotes…