The Toymaker
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The Toymaker

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  255 ratings  ·  66 reviews
What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could give a toy a heart? A real heart. One that beat and beat and didn't stop. What couldn't you do if you could make a toy like that?

From the moment that the circus boy, Mathias, takes a small roll of paper from the dying conjuror, his fate is sealed. For on it is the key to a terrifying secret, and there are those who...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by David Fickling Books (first published October 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 598)
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Janet
Wow. Every so often a book comes along that blows one away. This (for me, anyway) is one of those books. The idea of it was conceived in 2005 when the author visited a primary school and made up a story for the pupils he was visiting. The result is this dark, chilling tale of a secret and a race to discover what that secret is.

Mathias is 12 years old. Orphaned at a young age he lives with his Grandfather, Gustav, who is the conjurer for a travelling circus show. Mathias’ life is not a happy one,...more
Sharon
This book is one of those mysteries to me. On paper, it sounds like it would be my favorite book ever. One of the book's characters is a sinister toymaker who animates dead objects with hearts borrowed from birds and other living things. Another character is Mathias, a boy from a traveling circus who was cared for by a conjuror who dies in the beginning of the story, starting a wild chase for a secret piece of paper Mathias finds stitched into his coat. Yet another character is a mysterious scar...more
Darcy Bizich
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J.
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Karen
Dark, disturbing fantasy with horror elements. Our story begins with an eerie prologue about The Toymaker of the title. Unlike most toy-makers,he does not make happy toys to bring joy to the hearts of children. Instead, he seeks to create a knife so sharp it can cut the heart from a living being, so he can transplant it, along with its life force, into one of his tiny mechanical dolls.
Mathias is a helper to Gustav his grandfather, a conjurer and magician in a traveling circus. But why would suc...more
Katherine Hetzel
Sorry, but I didn't like this one at all. Perhaps it's 'cos I'm not a big fan of horror - though it wasn't 'horror' in the true sense of the word...more relentless unpleasantness. Also surprised that it began life as a story for junior school children - it's listed (rightly so, I feel) as teenage fiction in my library, because the content is sometimes very dark indeed...

It's well written, a novel concept, and if you like your stories dark you may well enjoy it, but it's not one for me. Particula...more
Melanie Au
For as long as he could remember, Matthias was the assistant in the traveling Lutsman circus where his grandfather worked as a conjuror. The rest of his family was long dead and, having no where else to go, Matthias lived a miserable life of helping the circus performers with their costumes and props, abused and neglected by both his grandfather and the rest of the company.
But as the days go by, Matthias' grandfather seems to become distracted and distraught, waking up in the middle of the nigh...more
Ms. Library
I need to think about this one a little more, because I feel confused. It was really bleak and violent, but it is aimed towards middle grade readers. But there is a lot of violence, and the ending is not the most hopeful, and the characters can act in spiteful ways. The enemies are creepy and they torture the children, and there are like three stabbings and two shootings, which is a little surprising. So I will definitely have to mull on this one a bit.

ETA full review:

So, that was my first reac...more
Janeen-san
Jan 09, 2011 Janeen-san rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eric
The Toymaker was a totally unexpected find at my library; I hadn't yet made it my goal of 2011 to read 36 books, but I wanted to find something to busy myself with until a book actually on my to-read list came in. Well, forget that book, whatever it was, because The Toymaker was a scary, icy blast of adventure, a refreshing slap in the face!

Jeremy De Quidt brings a new meaning to the idea of a toy dolly coming to life, and instead of being your play mate, these dolls try to kill you.

Mathias is a...more
Rea
This book is for younger readers really. It might be a bit too gory for under 10's, but certainly young teens will enjoy it. The story is relatively dark with some creepy moments and some stomach-churning violence.

I enjoyed the story itself and the interactions between the characters but I felt that the ending was very open, perhaps too open. We don't know the fates of the three main characters (and without wanting to say too much, two of the three are left in very precarious positions), the toy...more
Charlotte Phillips
I'm sure that as small children we all wished that our toys would come to life. In fact I am pretty sure that many of us imagined that they did actually come to life. But how alive would you want them to be, alive in the sense that within their very pastel and plastic like chest they had an actual human beating heart? Now that's a scary thought and thats exactly what the book touches on. I think every parent in the world, and police officer for that matter, would love a doll that would be able t...more
Angela Oliver
For all its beautiful illustrations, charming hardback size and general appearance, this book left me feeling uncomfortable. It just strikes me as being a little bit too dark, a little bit too bleak, for the intended age group of 10-12. Also, the Toymaker of the prologue seems to have only a tenuous relationship to the plot, meaning that he does not even appear again until the final chapters. Overall, it kept me reading but is not the sort of book I would recommend to most middle-grade readers.

T...more
Carly
Wow! I loved The Toymaker, it is bone chillingly good, nail bitingly brilliant and wonderfully edgy! I am a bit of a thrill seeker so this carefully paced thrill ride was the perfect book for me! Jeremy de Quidt writes compellingly, you will be riveted to this un-put-downable book and it will definitely have you holding your breath in places! The characters are awesome but I found my favourite was Valter, a cold, cruel and dangerous dwarf with only one thing on his mind! He will easily give you...more
Kathy
This book opens with a completely different tangent to the protagonist that it follows. this is all revealed toward the end. I suggest you do not let young children read this for it is no where near a happy story. That beging said; if you enjoy spine chilling delectible villians who make reading this book at night extremely difficult then this book is yours. Quidt seems to write very bluntly, he does not water things down and so the creepyness and fear created from Toymaker is enhanced. I cannot...more
Ed
de Quidt, Jeremy. (2010). The Toymaker. Illus. by Gary Blythe. New York: Random House/David Fickling. 359 pp. ISBN 978-0-385-75180-3 (Hard Cover); $16.99.

Last year, when reviewing The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, I stated that it is a book that will have teachers running away from it screaming and teens screaming for more. The Toymaker is another such book. Horror rarely finds allies among adults and it is a very popular genre among young readers. This is a book that I hope libraries will add...more
Noeleen
I chose this book as I have a fear of dolls but mostly toys having a sinister agenda (too much exposure to Chucky as a child) but in saying that I love a good scare through reading (not through TV) and I hoped this book would do that. It didn't I am afraid. It is a good story with a good premise but half way through it feels rushed and not enough about the characters. I wanted more back story and explanation how these characters came to be as well as the source of the whole scenario Gustav and h...more
Dauntless Firebending Shadowhunting Glittery Mango Fangirling Warlock (Ealee)
This is more of a 4.5 star review, I would give it five stars, but the book isn't AMAZING. I really, really loved it though, I would have given it five stars but I was looking for something more creepier in this story than gruesome. But this was an awesome, brilliant book and I am putting it on my favorite bookshelf. The ending, eh, it could've been better but I was still satisfied by it. But this book is definitely not for the faint-hearted, it is stalker creepy, it's the kind of story that mak...more
Alice Radwell
Some books are weird, and some books are disturbing, but I have never yet read one either as weird or as disturbing in this particular way. The writing is eerie, the characters are morally ambiguous, and the finale is unusual, but what is most perplexing is the demographic of this title – The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt is a children’s book. It’s a good one too, with a similar, if less sympathetic, texture to Gaiman’s Coraline. Except where Gaiman’s work follows are more fantastical and adventur...more
Cindy
The first chapter was really sorta freaky. For a ya book this was really "out" there as far as the creep factor. There is no way as a child I would have read this, and a part of me was a little creeped out about what happened in the book the more I think about it. Okay being honest I'm really creeped out by it but I try not to think of it.

I would have loved to see more about the toys and have that a little more expanded upon. Which it's sort of a mystery.

There is a lot of violence and really b...more
Kelly
When Mathias receives a piece of paper that is quite clearly a clue to something, he finds himself on a dangerous mission to uncover a sinister secret.

I think my main problem with this book was that I was expecting something completely different. From the synopsis on the back of the book, I had imagined something very different to how the story actually was, and that for me was very disappointing. The plot in itself is not bad, but this was just not the book for me. I really struggled to get thr...more
Caitlin
this book is way too creepy. lol I really hate dolls let alone dolls that kill you. Valter is so horrible. and this book in general is awful( I mean the writing is good but the stuff that happens ew). but in a way it stands out. the end isn't really resolved, a lot of people die and Katta becomes one of the dolls. at least Dr Leiter dies but the Menschenmacher is still alive to keep making these awful doll people. I think I might have nightmares about evil little doll people coming to kill me
Creative A
This was one of the creepiest MG books I've read in a while, except perhaps CORALINE, which was supposed to be creepy. This was more than creepy. It was dark. And I think, not necessarily in a good way? I kept having to put it down and walk around in the sunshine for a bit, because it simply wasn't pleasant to read about.

The ending really nailed that coffin shut for me. We never learn what happens to the Toymaker. Dr. Leiter is stopped, but what about the Duke? Matthias doesn't get any good answ...more
Littlejen2001
This book is a type of book that I can sit and enjoy it challenges the mind the imagination and is very well written. I couldn't ask for a better character set. Though of course there are some things that. Drag on and don't completely make sense but all round a good book. I recommend it to any one who likes dark stories and cruel plots
Erin Sterling
A creepy book where I'm not really sure of the age range. I would say grades 3-7 for the writing style, but there are a lot of horrifyingly cruel moments (fingers getting broken, a man burning up, ribs getting cracked) that I'm not sure I would want my third-grader to read. However, the book is fast-paced and exciting and had me tearing through the end to find out--like usual--there's a sequel coming and not much is resolved. Basic story: Mathias has lived with his grandfather Gustav, a conjurer...more
Linda
Wow! This is an example of not judging a book by its cover. I almost passed by it because of the cartoonish cover.

Set in England in about the 18th or 19th century, it's not a book I'd recommend for young readers. I found some of it to be distasteful in a horror sort of way. And I was rather upset with the ending. Very upset. It's not a happily-ever-after sort of book. But it kept me on edge and it deserves 5 stars.

Mathias lives with his grandfather, Gustav, who is a conjurer in a mean little ci...more
Ashika Manu
This book is deliciously scary. I loved it from the minute I first started it. It's not the sort of book I would usually read, and I didn't read it as soon as I saw it. Rather I looked at it everyday when I walked past it at the library, before finally picking it up. Even though I don't (or try not to anyway) judge books by their covers, there was something about the cover of 'The Toymaker' that intrigued me and I had to pick it up and read it eventually. It really does beg to be read, and is we...more
Rene
Page turner. I couldn't stop reading this book and fortunately, I was able to read it very quickly without too many interruptions. I would recommend it for middle school age children and up. It's quite violent for a children's book. I agree with other people's comments that the prologue was fabulous--and after reading it I thought the book would make a good read-aloud. I wish that the level of writing found in the prologue had continued throughout (though the rest of the book was well written to...more
Neetenerd2020
This book was AMAZING to me. If you are not a fan of scary books, this probably isn't the book for you. However, I think scary books are rather exciting. The Toymaker had me looking over my shoulder occasionally to make sure no one was following me with a knife.
Robyn
This book is dark, maybe a bit too dark and violent for young children to read. I did enjoy reading it, though I had to gloss over a few vivid parts. Abusive of children mostly made me turn my eyes away. Several times I had to set the book down and look around to connect with this world. I suppose that is a hallmark of a good story. I wont lie this book is a bit intense, and the ending made me want to cry. I suppose the loose ends are there for the reader to fill in what would happen to the char...more
Lily
This book is not like it will give you nightmares but still has some people you don't want to meet, even in your imaginations!
I like this book because it has suspenseful ends in each chapters that a good book should have.
but I am not satisfied with the ending because I think Author is trying to finish this book as if he is fed up by writing it. I mean that it does not have to much details like, is Kara going to stay as a doll for her whole life? and where are they both going to live? because Kar...more
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