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The Toymaker

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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  449 ratings  ·  90 reviews
What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could put a heart in one? 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 Mathias becomes the owner of a mysterious piece of paper, he is in terrible danger. Entangled in devious plots and pursued by the sinister Doctor Leiter and his devilish
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Paperback, 357 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by David Fickling Books (PB) (first published October 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  449 ratings  ·  90 reviews


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Tahera
Reading this book was an experience in itself. It is a dark piece of fiction which has unique and mysterious characters being part of an equally unique and mysterious story line. The plot is DARK! The story DOES NOT have a happy ending (more like into the wind and with a very bleak prospect). In most places it did leave me feeling very, very disturbed. Most of the characters like the Toymaker and Dr. Leiter (who has a creepy and sadistic dwarf and a lie detector doll with needle shaped teeth as ...more
Matt
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book! This was such a dark and grim piece of fiction. I don’t know if I’d call it children’s literature and I loved it for that. I like to see literature like this that pushes the boundaries of what is appropriate for kids. The writing was superb and bleak while the characters were humanistic. I was impressed with the characterization of the secondary characters who actually had more depth than the main protagonist Mathias. The antagonist is pure evil and the book is a wonderful mix of ...more
Conan Tigard
The Toymaker is a very dark piece of fiction. Sure, I have read some of the books in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and those books are dark and gloomy too, but they also have a sense of silliness to them that make them a little light-hearted and fun to read. It is not so with this book. Let's take a look at some of the things that make this book so dark.

The Toymaker is a man who really isn't in the story much. He appears in the Prologue and you learn how he was able to make really beautiful
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J.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sonja P.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 ...more
Carl Waluconis
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Looking for something dark in a different sort of way
Shelves: novel
This novel is filled with surprises and almost never a ray of light. It is a kind of "coming of age" allegory, with a very dark premise. Would you want to "come of age" in this world? The position of the Toymaker in the novel creates an even darker allegory. At the same time, it has events and places often associated with storybooks. In the end these leave it even more grim, though it is never trying to be ironic. It has a mystery with a McGuffin to solve. I would say noir except for the fairy ...more
Soho_Black
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
Looking back, it always seems like the books and TV shows available for younger people are so much better than what was available to me. Maybe some of them just seem that way to me and it's not actually the case. But I do know that I never had anything quite like Jeremy de Quidt's "The Toymaker" available to me back then because, believe me, I would have remembered.

There is a toymaker who, frustrated with toys that run down, is attempting to put a real heart into a doll, so that it would keep
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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 ...more
Karen
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adventure, horror
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
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Janet
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Cassie
As a kid who was into books with a dark, almost gothic feel to them when I picked this up at the age of thirteen I really loved it. What wasn't to like? Very creepy cover, exciting concepts, dark scenes and mortal peril - it had all of those boxes ticked. Yes, I can safely say that teenage me thought this book was excellent. So when I found this book under my bed a few weeks ago, I decided to give the book another read to see if it was as good as I remembered.

Sadly it wasn't. Don't get me wrong,
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Erin Britton
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s fairly common knowledge that Frankenstein didn’t end well for the Monster. In fact, tinkering about with nature is rarely seen as a force for good in literature. It’s no surprise then that the brooding, gothic atmosphere that haunts the pages from the very beginning of Jeremy De Quidt’s debut novel The Toymaker is an ominous foreshadowing of the doom that will follow any attempt to give life to the inanimate object, even when the object in question is something as initially benign as a ...more
Jeanna Kunce
* Vague spoilers ahead
Lots of action kept things moving, but there was something I didn't really care for in this story. There was something cold about it, like in an unfeeling, harsh way. In addition, I found it hard to believe the motivations of many of the main characters; it seemed like they were so bound together, yet they had no history together or reason to help one another, even if they were looking for the "mystery" object(s). I felt there was a huge gap left by Mathias's background.
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Kieran Harris
This book repeats itself a few times whereby (spoilers) Mathias will find himself captured by multiple people and then chased. I found the climax not worth the build up of the secret and while it has quite a unique and interesting writing style, the story didn't quite get me excited ot interested enough to stick with me. Not a bad read but I won't be reading it again.
Anthony
Sep 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scholz-2018
people always told me "don't judge a book by its cover" but in this book, I wish I did but if you don't understand what I mean, I'm just saying the book is bad.
Janeen-san
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Charlotte Phillips
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...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.

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Lauren
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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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
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Carly
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
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
Zora Amarille
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meeehh
This book had a lot of potential but I think that I didn't like it that much because when I saw the title and the plot summary, I thought it would be about the secret of the Toymaker but in reality, the Toymaker was only seen in the prologue and at the last few chapters and at those last few chapters, he was one of the bad guys when there's no indication in the prologue that he was one. Sure, the guy was taking sparrows' hearts to bring his toys to life but how did he evolved from that to using ...more
Kathy
May 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rea
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, horror, childrens
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
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Holly
In a lot of ways I enjoyed The Toymaker. It is definitely not perfect, however. Its main problem is that it struggles to find a target audience. The packaging of the book, the writing style, the main characters' ages, etc. say this is a middle grade book (upper elementary/middle school) but the story is pretty bleak and there is a lot of violence. I wouldn't classify it as young adult though, because I think most older teenagers would find it to be too young for them. In the end, I probably ...more
Banrion Cruimh Leabhar
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 ...more
Trisha
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My little sister, Chrissy, knows that I like weird, creepy books.So when she brought The Toymaker home from her school's library, she said that I could read it first. I sat down with it while she was doing her homework and the farther I got in the story, the more I realized that this is one messed up book.

Obviously I loved The Toymaker , because I rated it five stars. But that book is one of the darkest things I've ever read from an elementary school library. It's full of heartless

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Cindy
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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