Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The 2012 Summer Reading Spectacular #5

I was feeling like I'm not getting as much reading done as usual, but as I typed the '#5' above, I realized I must be doing alright despite not having a hermitage to which I can escape.

Clive Barker's The Thief of Always is part Coraline and part Flight of the Navigator (though it predates the former and follows the latter), another variation on "be careful what you wish for" narratives that's done well.  In short, Harvey Swick, bored with life, is lured to a mysterious and magical house that offers to supply his every wish and whim, but he soon discovers the darker side of those delights.

It's a short, well-plotted, and quickly moving novel with just enough darkness and grotesquery to give kids the willies but not nightmares.    If there's a complaint, it's in the fact that a major turning point in the protagonist's journey seems to be based on an assumption that's a bit of a leap.  Not a big criticism, and unlikely to be one noted by the young intended audience.  In the novel, one can almost see the seeds of Barker's Abarat series as he experiments with how creepy he can go with the imagery in young people's literature.

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