Read The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt Gary Blythe Online

the-toymaker

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 tWhat 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 toys, Mathias finds himself on a quest to uncover a deadly secret....

Title : The Toymaker
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781849920049
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 357 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Toymaker Reviews

  • Tahera
    2018-09-25 09:52

    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! In most places it did leave me feeling really disturbed! Most of the characters like the Toymaker and Dr. Leiter (who has a creepy and sadistic dwarf and a doll with needle shaped teeth as companions) are pure evil; those who are not, like Koenig and Katta, are equally shrouded in mystery and have their own motives in helping Matthias, the circus boy, to discover the sinister truth behind a piece of paper left by his grand father...the kind of truth for which Dr. Leiter and the Toymaker can kill so that it stays hidden! But even though it was dark and disturbing I enjoyed reading the book...the writing was really good!

  • Conan Tigard
    2018-10-08 07:41

    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 dolls. But he wanted more out of them and performed many experiments to make them live. He finally perfected cutting the heart out of a living bird and hooking it up to one of his dolls while it was still beating to make the doll come alive. These living dolls turn out to be quite evil, like Marguerite. The Toymaker appears later in the story, but since I don't want to give too much away, I really cannot discuss him anymore.Every adult in this book is either greedy, mean or evil. The only two good people in this story are Mathias and Katta, and Mathias is injured throughout the entire book while Katta is firmly set on blinding the boy that caused her to have seizures. Now that I think about it, maybe Mathias is the only good person in this story. Katta is just set on revenge, rather than forgiveness.There is quite a bit of killing in this story. Not everyone dies, but almost everyone. Is this really a story that eight year olds should be reading? I wouldn't think so. This book should definitely be aimed at an older audience, let's say like 12 and older. Eight year olds don't need to read such a dark and depressing story as The Toymaker.Now, for the good parts. The story is well-written. I did enjoy reading it, but kept waiting for something good to happen to these kids. I waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. I was not so lucky, or maybe I should say that Mathias and Katta were not so lucky. The story kept me involved, but I was left feeling bad for all the rotten things that happened to the main characters. I cannot go into too much detail because that would reveal too much about the story. I just wish the book could have been a little lighter. There wasn't much fun to be had while reading this book, which is something that young reader really look for in a story. I felt like I should be wearing all black while I read this story and should only be listening to Goth Rock. Bring on the darkness.The ten or so images by Gary Blythe are beautifully drawn. I do wish that the cover would have been drawn by the same artist as the images in the book.Overall, The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt is a decent story that should have been a lot lighter. It is pretty heavy stuff for a kid in second or third grade to read. I would not recommend this book for young readers that young. This is a middle school book, not an elementary school book. If there is another book, I just hope the next book is a lot lighter.I rated this book a 6 out of 10.

  • Sonja P.
    2018-09-27 03:36

    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 reaction, and after thinking about it for a while, I think I will stay with it. The issue is that this is a really interesting book, and there's some fascinating world building, and it definitely goes towards the darker side of the fantasy spectrum. I also think that there were a couple of too-convenient escapes and turn-arounds for characters. However, let's talk about the audience for this, shall we, because that is where am I really struggling. The writing suggest lower middle grade, but the content does not. I read portions aloud to my husband, and he was shocked by how violent it was. There were several stabbings, shootings, and torturing sessions. There isn't really a happy ending. It feels like a series of unfortunate events written in a more serious tone, and without the humor. There's also the issue of the girl character being put in jeopardy by a creepy male in an alley at night, and it just made me really...uncomfortable? I am definitely not the sort to mark content as too "adult" for certain audiences lightly. I mean, I really believe that children's literature and YA literature should address love and sexuality and death and bad things, because kids need to know. They need the terms, and keeping them in the dark won't help them. But the issue is here-I'm not sure what the help is?Perhaps if it was written in a little more adult way, it could be conceived as older middle grade, but it just seemed to fall right in the middle. So, I think this falls under what you think the child in your life can handle, but I don't know, I didn't enjoy that much to really think it is worth it. If you are looking for something dark, I would check out Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls or Splendors and Glooms.

  • Sharon
    2018-09-26 07:41

    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 scarred girl named Katta, prone to seizures and violent revenge fantasies. And there is also a very creepy dwarf and a few other very interesting contraptions like a doll who is also a lie detector.Somehow, the story itself just fell really short for me. It was very heavy on action and even violence at times, but I felt like the characters were running so fast so much of the time that I never really felt engaged with any of them. I also felt like the author kind of was just thinking, what else can I put into this book that's cool and creepy---a grave-digging scene, oh yeah. There were so many elements like that, and though it did tie in together in the end it was a little overwhelming and I had a hard time sticking with it and didn't care that much anymore. An interesting debut, but I think a little character development and pacing really would have knocked this out of the ballpark and made it one of the best, creepiest children's books ever, which is perhaps what is so very disappointing about it.

  • Soho_Black
    2018-09-24 08:48

    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 going constantly. Far away, there is a conjuror called Gustav, who hides in a travelling circus because he hides a secret that some people would happily kill him for. His grandson, Mathias, with no-one else to care for him, hides too, wondering what this secret may be.One day, just after a mysterious stranger appears at the show, Gustav has a fatal accident. This stranger, Dr Leiter, verifies that Gustav is who he suspects, but after failing to find what he seeks, he buys Mathias from Lustmann in the hope that the secret may have been transferred across from Gustav to Mathias and he can find out what it is.However, Leiter hadn't counted on the greed of Lustmann's wife, Anna Maria nor on the tenacity of Mathias and the servant girl Katta, who manage to evade his dwarf servant Valter and escape. The two children find their way into the hands of a man called Koenig who, intrigued by the secret and by the amount of money Leiter is willing to spend to find it, takes Mathias along to help him unravel the secret.This is a beautifully dark story, very much in the Neil Gaiman mode, although missing some of his fantastical twists. Many of the characters are hiding secrets, which blurs the disctinction between good and evil and it's only the innocence of Mathias that really gives much of a clue to which side we should be on. Even then, his companions do things that you wouldn't associate with the traditional hero behaviour, which makes it a little tougher to sympathise with their aims and blurs the line between the supposed good and bad a little more.However, this does give the characters far more realistic behaviour than in many books. Even Katta and Stefan, characters supposedly on the side of good, harbour thoughts of revenge which they even sometimes act upon, which isn't often the case in a story such as this. As is usual in books and films though, it's the bad characters who are the most fun and Marguerite, Leiter's lie detector doll, whilst a very minor character, was a wonderful touch and despite never speaking a word, she had the best line in the book.Whilst I enjoyed the dark, gothic feel of the story, I did find it a little slow paced. The journey to seek the secret seemed to be dragged out, with it taking longer to get to the required place than it did to work through the clues. However, when the clues did finally arrive, they were at least not easy to predict, so the ending came as a surprise to me. But after so long reaching the point where the ending of the book could come about, the actual ending itself was a little quick and a touch disappointing, although the basic idea was deliciously dark.What does help keep the story moving along is the quality of the writing. Along with the great ideas, the book is aimed at a slightly younger audience, so it's a simply written tale. Whilst the pacing itself may be slow, the language flows very well and this helps keep the pages turning, even when the story itself isn't as exciting as it could be.As a horror fan, I particularly enjoyed the darker nature of the book, although the pacing wasn't always conducive to an easy read. It may be that younger readers, who this story is aimed at, may become a little bored, although more confident or teenage readers will be more inclined to battle through it. Those that do, especially those with a liking for darker tales, will be rewarded with an enjoyable story which is well worth working through.This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk

  • Alice Radwell
    2018-10-12 04:57

    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 adventurous path, Quidt takes his plot down a much more realistic and twisted route.The book has no hero, and arguably, only one antagonist. Mathias begins a string of surreal events by stealing a piece of paper from his dead grandfather, and meets several interesting personalities along the way, varying from the downright immoral, to those who intentions are as opaque as a concrete door. This adds an edge to the storyline that is rare in most fiction let alone children’s fiction, because characters act on reasoning the audience is often unaware of. For instance, Koenig, whose identity and background are masked through most of the story, has intentions which are up for interpretation, and a formidable force of fear is brought to a new light at the introduction of another. Although it’s never overtly stated, the emotional responses of the characters are built realistically on the foundations of their own personal pasts and tribulations, which is exactly how it should be. Unfortunately, character dialogue is scarce, and the interplay between there different characteristics is sorely lacking as a result.Fast paced and interlocking events keep the story focused. A piece of paper leads to a man, who leads to a clue and so on and so forth, until the pain of not knowing the devices at work is almost painful. However, de Quidt leaves many strands ignored, and hanging, and many random interludes don’t catch-up with the rest of the story. Margerite, for example, whose introduction into the story is deemed as significant, never gets an explanation. And considering the book is titled The Toymaker there isn’t a lot of him either. If some of the chaff had been removed, the centre could have been on the aspects which appear more interesting – the knife for example, and the functioning of the dolls, but these things linger in the background with little else to do. I’m not sure if there will be a sequel, but if so I hope de Quidt reveals more of his Toymaker and the products of his making.As previously stated, the fact that the book is marketed to children is slightly unnerving. Not only are the descriptions of pain and anguish very well-written to the point where I couldn’t bare to read on at moments, but pictures have been provided to ensure maximum comprehension is taken. There are torture scenes that made my skin-crawl, and horrifically realistic seizures. People are shot, broken and cut in every chapter. While the style of the text is most definitely perfect for pre-teens the content feels like something from a teen horror flick.Atmosphere is perfectly maintained. As a reader I felt even I was fending for myself in the nightmarish world de Quidt elaborates around his desuetude bunch, and I felt alone as I journeyed with them fearing inevitable betrayal, or capture, or worse. The experience of reading left a bleak feeling in my head. The conclusion is haunting, but unsatisfactory, and I expect the author either left a means with which to continue or he wanted the ending to be open for interpretation. The epilogue required a read over to fully understand what had transpired; it’s clever, but considering how far I had come to understand the events detailed, I was disappointed. There is so much more that could be done with the concepts created.Great characters, great concepts, great atmosphere, and definitely a creepy tale, mystery and mild-horror lovers will enjoy.

  • J.
    2018-09-28 09:36

    This book is much like Treasure Island in plot, but with the atmosphere of hopelessness of The Road. In other words, this book is not your average children's story.The grandchild of a magician in a traveling entertainment show is suddenly orphaned, and steals a piece of paper his mysterious grandfather kept hidden. Then his ordeal starts when a dangerous man with a creepy doll and a murderous dwarf start following in order to recover the piece of paper.The atmosphere of intrigue, mystery, and despair are the most salient characteristics of this book. The story starts long before the book. The book already starts in the middle of it, when fantastic and unexplained events worthy of elaborating have already passed, events which are hinted by the story of the book, but never revealed. Similarly, the book leaves the story long before the end. Will the protagonists survive? For one of them this seems very doubtful. But we are not told. At the end of the story we are left literally on the road, with little if any hope. A small measure of good has been achieved at the end, but it is uncertain just how much good has been achieved. And the price for this hint of goodness is extremely high! Neither do we know how it will all end.And yet the book is self-contained.One gets the feeling that this incompleteness is part of the story --- much like life. When we wake up from childhood the stories we join (or simply witness) have already started, with very many triumphs and defeats which we might have wanted to witness having already taken place, sometimes eons before we were even born. And when we finally exit the stage, at the end of our days, the stories will be left incomplete. What will happen to those stories after we leave? How much we will want to see the turn of events on some of those stories! And yet we will have to exit, having done what little measure of good --- oh, how so very little! --- we could while we remained; and having endured much sorrow.Yes, more books could be written with the same characters. Some even continuing the events narrated in this one book. Some perhaps even digging backwards in time to an earlier time such that the story in this book is a consequence of the earlier one. And yet, those other books will be different stories. Yes, they may involve the same characters, but they will be other stories about the same beings. This story --- as it stands --- is quite self-contained, even if we are left at the end craving for more knowledge about the people whom we have just left in the middle of crisis.But ultimately, such is life.

  • Karen
    2018-10-19 08:54

    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 such a supernaturally skilled, high-level magician be hiding out in a tiny, broken-down little circus? One night Gustav gets unpleasantly drunk and boasts that he knows a very big secret. He is overheard. On-stage during his next show he suffers an attack and as he lies dying, Mathias pulls a tiny wad of paper from Gustav's mouth. Is this the great and mysterious secret? Clearly others think so because now the evil Dr. Leiter appears, and pursues Mathias through the countryside and captures him with the help of Marguerite, a mechanical doll who can detect lies; and Valter, a superhumanly strong, malevolent dwarf. When Mathias is badly injured trying to escape from them, Katta, a kitchen maid at the inn where he is hurt helps him. But she has her own motives for helping and so does Koenig, a mysterious gentleman-robber; and Stefan, a youth from a charcoal burner's camp hidden deep in the forest--and none of them can be fully trusted! The chase is on, through the forest, the countryside and the city of the noble duke. And eventually Dr. Leiter corners them in a ruined monastery in the capital city, where the terrible secret is revealed at last: one that involves the Toymaker and that could shake the dukedom to its foundations. Lot of fights, damaged bodies, flowing blood, and cliff-hanging chapter endings, if you like nonstop dark action this is your story.

  • Janet
    2018-10-16 07:38

    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, but it is the only life he remembers.One day when he is drunk, Mathias’ Grandfather tells him that he knows a secret that men would kill for. But before he can reveal this secret, he is involved in an altercation with a mysterious man, and dies. Mathias flees, taking with him a scrap of paper that his Grandfather had hidden in the lining of his coat.With the help of a servant girl called Katta, and a man called Koenig, Mathias sets out to solve the mystery - but there are people who want to prevent the secret from being revealed, and who will stop at nothing to ensure it stays secret.It’s a children’s book, but I’m not sure exactly what age it’s aimed at. It’s a dark tale, and at times it is quite gruesome, but it’s very fast paced and, despite the goriness, it’s an easy read.I won’t say any more about it as I don’t want to spoil it, but I think this is a fantastic debut, and I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next!

  • Erin Britton
    2018-10-10 03:41

    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 child’s toy.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?The events of The Toymaker take place in an unspecified European country, during some time in the past, where popular elements of children’s fantasy fiction like mysterious circuses, plucky orphans and gentlemen villains, exist side by side with more unusual creatures like automatons. The Toymaker begins with an introduction to Menschenmacher, a toymaker extraordinaire, who created wonderful creatures that moved and functioned like no other. The great and the good bought their toys from Menschenmacher for they were great status symbols; each toy was uniquely crafted and the tiny key that wound each toy would work for no other. Not even the most diligent toy connoisseur could comprehend just how unusual Menschenmacher’s toys were since he guarded his secret so well. His toys were no mere novelties; they were true automatons, fitted out with hearts removed from birds and small animals. But however magical these toys may sound, each one was tinged with sadness since “even little dolls with sparrows’ hearts sometimes remember they were sparrows once”.Mathias was working as a conjurer’s assistant with a travelling circus until the death of his grandfather, the conjurer known as Gustav, and the inheritance of a mysterious piece of paper plunged him into a dark world of intrigue and danger. Mathias finds himself entangled in a sinister plot that he can’t begin to comprehend as he races across the icy countryside trying to discover the deadly secret that assorted enemies believe he already knows. His journey becomes a race against time as Mathias is pursued by the evil Doctor Leiter and his devilish toys, including Marguerite, a courtly automaton who serves Leiter as sinister sort of lie-detector.The Toymaker is a pacy thriller with just the right amount of intrigue and horror to make the reader want to finish it in one sitting. Essentially a story of good versus evil, Mathias’ adventure to discover his own identity as well as the truth behind the toymaker’s creations forms a compelling chase towards a horrifying truth. Often, the object of a quest can be more of a contrivance to drive the story forward rather than a important story facet in itself, but this is certainly not the case with The Toymaker. The secret that Mathias is searching for is the truth at the very heart of the story and the action that takes place during the chase scenes leading towards this ultimate understanding are fitting reflections of the importance that its discovery will have for Mathias and the other characters in the story. While clues to what the secret might be are offered in both the story and the illustrations, the plot is more complex than that of many children’s novels and so the final reveal might well come as a surprise.The Toymaker is a delightfully dark and intriguing children’s adventure that should have younger readers on the edge of their seats and keep them guessing until the last.

  • Jeanna Kunce
    2018-10-04 09:57

    * Vague spoilers aheadLots 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. *And I found Valter, coming back again and again...and again, to be tedious, predictable, and unrealistic, even if he was a creation rather than a "real" person.

  • Kieran Harris
    2018-10-11 04:41

    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.

  • Janeen-san
    2018-09-30 04:38

    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 lonely boy in a traveling circus with his grandfather, the only person within the rickety caravans who doesn't tease and overburden him with laborious tasks. The circus is under the rule of a tyrannical woman named Anna-Maria and her husband, Lutsmann. Lutsmann's Traveling Circus, as it is called, rolls around the country preforming tricks by "a strong-man, a fire-eater, a tight-rope walker, a juggler and dancer, a lady who could bend her body in quite impossible ways, a conjurer and a boy."Now--the conjurer and the boy are the important ones. Pay attention closely because the next sentence is very important.THE CONJURER DIES.See, I told you. The conjurer, Mathias's grandfather, drops dead in the middle of trying to remember his performance. For you see, the grandfather had been stumbling in between reality and a drunken state lately. The boy would've run away, but love for his grandfather kept him there, hidden under the wagon. He could do nothing as the man keeling over, lifeless. However, there is someone who could do something...and did.The man claims to be a Dr. Leiter, but instead of burying the dead conjurer, or at least comforting the boy, he beginnings frantically searching through the grandfather's belongings.The boy Mathias knows what he is searching for.Before he died, his grandfather told him he knew a secret--but knowing a secret and having one are entirely different things.Leiter leaves in disgust, not having found what he is looking for. He grabs Mathias and is going to bring him away from the circus, and soon they leave.However, Mathias has a secret of his own now.He doesn't know what the grandfather's secret was, but his secret is that he has the grandfather's secret clutched in his pocket--and Leiter is unaware.Mathias's mind whirls; what could be worth dying for? The paper, crumpled in his pocket, is unread. What could possibly be on it that cost his grandfather his life?Leiter suddenly betrays Mathias, and the wounded Mathias flees in terror after a creepy, living doll tries to force the truth out of him.Thus Mathias, plus two strange brothers and a girl with secret revenge on her mind, journey across the land, trying to discover the grandfather's real secret and why Leiter wants it so bad.The Toymaker is a wonderfully creepy adventure book and for me, the pages flew as fast as the character's feet as they tried to escape many dangers, including a doll assassin. I flipped through pages after page,eager to find out what happened next. Unlike The Last Words of Will Wolfkin, this book had an excellent ending, but it wasn't rushed or too happy. The ending fit the book's scary, dark feel and left me feeling extremely satisfied. I loved the characters, although I can't decide on a favorite, and the plot wrapped up very nicely. Also, the illustrations by Gary Blythe were incredible. This was a very exciting book and I enjoyed every letter of it. I'd recommend it as a read aloud, but you might want to read it yourself first because some parts are scary, and you'll want to wait until your kids are eleven or twelve until you present this to them, but if you do that they'll probably enjoy it. I thought it was a fantastic book and the writing style reminded me of Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Despereaux. This book was a great read and I'm glad I picked it up!

  • Charlotte Phillips
    2018-10-02 07:54

    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 to tell you if what the person was saying was truth or lies, but this could also place many people in dangerous situations if the wrong people had control of it that is. I loved the detail and depth of the plot in which this book had for it was different and unique, engaging and mysterious. There was nothing about this book that was predictable in any sort of way.The whole dark and daunting concept of the book meant that the reader was pulled into a whirlwind sort of ride where many things would perhaps be considered as taboo topics, things that just should not happen and yet seem to happen anyway. The whole adventure about the secret note did seem to have a very pirate like feel to it, and yet there were also aspects of the book that made me think of Oliver Twist, in that the reader was able to get this clear image in their mind of the characters looks, but also the vision of the town settings and working conditions. It meant that the book was able to come alive and that this was a huge advantage because it drew the reader in far more, making them want to live that experience.The book for me resembled that sometimes the people you don't want to trust, are the people that you should trust the most for they are the ones more likely to help you and be there for you. I do feel that the book has left me with many questions, as to who the little boy's real family were, and what became of the toys with the human hearts after everything was solved? I just loved the whole adventure of the novel because it is unlike anything that I have ever read before. I felt that the right amount of detail and depth was placed into it to get the readers addicted and make them want to read and not put it down. There was just something about this book that was taboo and yet addictive, like a sour sweet that you hate the taste of but also love at the same time. It was adventurous, mysterious and witty. It was well written and everything flowed together perfectly without giving away the ending in a predictable like manner, which many other books seem to do.

  • Angela Oliver
    2018-10-12 07:03

    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.The plot centers of Mathias, a young boy that lives with his grandfather in a travelling circus. When his grandfather dies, he finds a scrap of paper, which he takes and hides. This paper seems to be well desired, as he is soon purchased by a foul doctor and his even more despicable dwarf. Matthias runs away, befriending a young servant girl, and eventually finding aid in the most unlikely of places. Katta, the servent girl, is an interesting character - she's a little spitfire who suffered a brain injury when she was young that causes her to have seizures. Her intereaction with the boy that caused the injury, when she discovers him later on, left me cold with its brutality. Towards Mathias she is compassionate and caring - towards her "enemy", a blood-thirsty little beast. There is also the plot - coincidence becomes a plot device used all too commonly. The PoV jumps from character to character, sometimes within the same paragraph which can be a little disorientating. The atmosphere is deliciously creepy, but it is spiced with a little too much violence which made my skin crawl - Mathias is terribly injured and brutalised all through the book (including torture) and left with crippling injuries. This may seem to make the book more realistic - but it also makes it ultra-bleak. The only person that helps him for unselfish, compassionate reasons is Katta. And her seizures are quite terrifying, even on paper. The other characters are only in it for themselves. Until the end when the motives of Koenig suddenly switchs from being in it for the imagined profit to wanting to help Katta. This somewhat jarred with me, because there had been no apparent reason for this switch. The ending itself was abrupt and bleak. Although, at least you did learn why the dwarf just would not die. In all, a bit too violent, a bit too dark and the plot a little too erratic and clumsy.

  • Lauren
    2018-09-26 08:45

    This book is definitely not for children!! I am amazed that this book actually got published. It is full of vile, evil and heartless characters whose only mission in life is cruelty to others.I will say the story is well written; however, the plot really let it down. For approx 95% of the book we follow Mathias, Katta and Koenig, as well as Dr Leiter, Valter, Lutsmann and his horrible and vindictive wife Anna-Maria try to ascertain a secret. This secret is only revealed about 20 pages from the end!!!And then there is a murderous thirst by pretty much everyone in the book to kill each other!! It's just ridiculous! Where is The Toymaker and toys in all of this? He features in less than 5% of the book, and the toys don't appear at all (excepting Margaurite) who again, is only in the book for a couple of pages. If you only read the title and the blurb you will sorely be disappointed by this! I went through the book determined to stumble across a fantastic secret but we only find out (what has already been hinted at in the prologue) right at the last minute! The denouement is far-fetched and again ridiculously dark and sinister for a book supposedly aimed at children. Most of the characters are tarred with the same sadistic brush - there's corruption, treachery and murder on their minds which makes it hard to relate to and build a connection with any character. The only ones I really liked were Mathias and Katta (the former having had his ribs broken and the latter unable to control her fits - thanks to a Burner child who threw a stone at her head). But what I disliked most of all was the absence of hope throughout - every time someone had a bright idea, they were foiled and ensnared again by one of the evil characters out to get them. At times it felt as though everything was going around and around in circles. If you want a book for children, then I definitely do not recommend The Toymaker; if you want a tale full of cruelty, lack of hope and sadistic unlikeable characters then this will probably appeal to you.Not a book I would read again! :(

  • Ed
    2018-10-21 07:42

    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 to their collections because it is horror that features lyrical, almost poetic writing of the most bleak and grim nature:“With fierce coal-black eyes the woman stepped towards her, the blade of the knife held flat between her thumb and finger. Koenig put his hand out and touched the woman’s arm. She stopped at once. Still holding onto her, he lifted his other hand to Katta and slowly, so there could be no misunderstanding what he meant, he said, ‘Don’t ever do that to her again, or she will kill you and there will be nothing I can do to stop her. She will wait until I am gone and then, if you are still here, she will kill you. Do you understand?’” (pp. 128-129).Mathias’ grandfather is a gifted conjuror traveling with a second-rate circus run by greedy dumb people. The grandfather has a secret, a secret so huge that telling it risks the life of Mathias despite being a secret worth vast sums of money. Mathias’ grandfather is performing one day when he sees someone in the audience that scares him so badly that he falls and eventually dies. Mathias watches his grandfather place a small piece of paper in his mouth in an attempt to swallow it, but dies with the paper in his mouth. Dr. Leiter is looking for this very piece of paper that may be the secret promised to Mathias. Mathias rescues the piece of paper and, of course, Dr. Leiter discovers that he has it (thanks to a very evil doll, Marguerite). With the help of a servant girl, Mathias escapes and the chase begins! Horror at each turn of this fast-paced dark and twisted tale.

  • Melanie Au
    2018-10-02 03:45

    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 night, afraid that someone has come to steal something from him. Then at one performance, he sees someone in the audience and tumbles over the side of the stage. A mysterious Dr. Leiter immediately comes to his assistance but instead of helping him, searches Matthias' grandfather's coat and possessions. But it is Matthias who discovers a rolled up piece of paper hidden in grandfather's coat collar and hides it in his pocket. From that moment on, he is hunted by Lutsman, the owner of the circus, and Dr. Leiter -- but he doesn't know why. His grandfather had once spoken about a secret but Matthias never found out what it was. All he knows is that he has to find a way to stay alive...This was definitely a darker read -- Dr. Leiter's creepy, murderous dwarf that tracks Matthias is pretty scary and the ending is quite gloomy (and not entirely resolved). Matthias finds some companions to help him along the way but the atmosphere remains bleak and lonely. There's no comic relief that's for sure. I liked the first 3/4 of the book -- it had plenty of suspense and tension between the characters, but by the end I felt that there were some holes in the plot that should have been filled and wished some of the characters could have been developed a bit more. You don't find out much about Matthias' past and his real connection to his grandfather, nor does the book spend much time on the Toymaker (which is a key part of the plot and -- I thought -- the more intriguing part). The language and mood feels a bit like Coraline by Neil Gaiman or Clockwork by Pullman. Creepy, but no gore.

  • Carly
    2018-10-06 08:51

    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 the creeps and you will always be wondering where he is and if he is watching.... The storyline is so inventive, wonderfully imagined and brought together so well by the author that you will eagerly be searching for your next thrilling fix!Mathais' world is turned upside-down when his grandfather dies while preforming his conjuring act on stage. Suddenly everyone is interested in his grandfather and his possessions but the thing they are all seeking Mathias holds in his possession, but he has no idea what it is or how much trouble it will cause him. Mathias is sold to a man who takes him on a coach through the woods and that's the start of his highly adventurous and shockingly dangerous tale! He will be thrown into dark and dangerous paths and meet some wicked people but still he holds the secret that everyone is desperately searching, but for how long for?It is so hard not to give anything away so I won't say too much more. The ending is fantastic, satisfying and left off with a creepy little tid-bit just to keep you wondering! I could easily recommend The Toymaker, it is highly memorable and one that I will enjoy reading again and again!fictionfascination.blogspot.co.uk

  • Zora Amarille
    2018-10-09 07:59

    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 human hearts? I'm disappointed that that wasn't included in the story. It would've been cooler too if toys other than Marguerite the lie detector was included as well.As for the characters, I didn't find them likable, they were realistic but not likable. Especially Katta! Girl, if you're being chased by a killer dwarf man with nine lives now is not the time for revenge! At least do it after you've finish your mission. Whenever she makes a move I'd either have to momentarily close the book and sigh or skip the whole page. The girl was stupid and reckless. I swear, there's no character development with her, or with the other characters.Other than what I just wrote about, I think the rest was okay. The writing style was pretty good. You'd expect it to be scary but I thought it was pretty tame. I think the ending was fantastic but it was something that I wasn't surprised about in a book that's entitled "The Toymaker"

  • Kathy
    2018-10-08 03:46

    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 prove this with an example but I can say that i was reading this book on the bus and something so thrilling happened at one stage I clamped it shut so hard that everyone jumped. The protagonist is a child and so you cross your fingers that he stays safe, the book follows his journey to seek out one single truth and yes, many people are in his way. It is not a simple read, the plot extends far beyond its protagonist as it unfolds. Some aspects of this story are confronting which is why I wouldn't let younger children read this novel. I stress again that this is not a happy book to the point where death is involved. It is a dark thriller but very grasping at the same time. It is original and creative in its depiction of perhaps an unfortunate series of event which fall upon its male protagonist.

  • Holly
    2018-10-17 05:01

    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 wouldn't recommend this to any actual young person - just adults who like reading children's fiction.And perhaps this is too nitpicky, but I didn't understand why this was set in a fantasy world. The fictional location was obviously based on historical Germany, but wasn't actually set there. Perhaps I'm uncharitable, but whenever I see this in a children's fantasy where a fictional location isn't really necessary, I have to wonder if the author just didn't want to bother doing the research to write real historical fantasy.I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but thought it dragged in the middle. And the ending left too many questions unanswered and was pretty depressing. Too bad, because I thought the writing was actually very decent.

  • Rea
    2018-10-21 10:35

    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 toymaker himself and more importantly the toys are still on the loose. This makes me wonder whether there'll be a sequel. I certainly hope so, as I'd like to visit these characters again and would jump at the chance to find out what happens to them. If there is no sequel then it is possible that the book leaves far too many questions unanswered for a children's book.My biggest qualm with the story: the first person narrator intervenes a couple of times in the beginning but never intervenes again, which makes me wonder whether it was really necessary. Personally I would have either used it more or done away with it entirely.(and if that's my biggest qualm then obviously there's a lot to be enjoyed!)

  • Noeleen
    2018-10-17 11:47

    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 how he became the mean old man before he dies and also how he really got mixed up with Dr Leiter. I think this story had more to offer and Mathias being constantly injured made feel him inconsequential to the storyline apart from coming across the clue. What else did he do? Get injured, saved, injured, saved, injured oh yeah and saved by all the other characters. I also wanted more from the ending. To summarise without giving too much away I felt in essence would have been a great bone chilling, creepy story overcoming adversity and throw in some Romany tribe like back stories and I would have loved it but to be honest it lacked substance and was too rushed, shame!

  • Glittery Mango (Ealee)
    2018-09-29 10:53

    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 makes you turn around to look behind your shoulder when you're walking and makes you want to start carrying a weapon around. But it has affected me to a degree that I will NEVER look at people the same way again nor circus people nor people who make toys or robots. The illustrations were brilliant though, I loved them. There was also one character who just annoyed the heck out of me, I feel pity for what happened to her in the end (no spoilers). But I would definitely recommend this book to other people, the entire idea of this story is wonderful as well as the dark imagination behind it. :D

  • Trisha
    2018-09-26 07:03

    My little sister, Chrissy, knows that I like weird, creepy books.So when she broughtThe Toymakerhome 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 lovedThe 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 murderers, remorseless acts of revenge way out of proportion to the original affront, and completely messed up characters. It started off vaguely sinister and slowly turned into something that resembled a nightmare. I thought it was great, but at the same time I was reeling from how horrifying it was. In conclusion,The Toymakerwas awesome and I'm definitely going to read De Quidt's other book,The Feathered Man . I'm also probably going to have nightmares about murderous clockwork robots for the rest of my life, but I'm willing to take that trade-off.

  • Cindy
    2018-10-06 10:42

    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 bad things that happen to the kids which makes it not that suitable for the younger readers. The ending is unexpected and just not what I was expecting or rooting for. The style of the story is a little different. Instead of the storyplaying out for you instead the author is more likely telling you the story as a story teller would. There's very little dialogue instead you're told what happened instead of it being set in front of you. Oh and if you ever encounter a doll with sharp teeth make sure you tell the truth :)

  • Kelly
    2018-10-06 08:00

    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 through it and seriously considered giving up on it numerous times. It was only the fact I hate to give up on books that made me carry on, just in case it turned out to be great. Sadly, in this case, it didn't. I didn't like any of the characters, the ending was pretty rubbish and didn't even fully wrap up the story and I'm surprised that a childrens book has so much violence in it. This should teach me a lesson that cool covers do not equal cool books!

  • Linda
    2018-10-15 11:59

    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 circus that travels by wagon around small towns to perform for coins. Gustav says that he knows a secret. When he dies Mathias takes a scrap of paper from his coat and from then on it's a race to discover the secret- always being chased by some pretty horrible people. Very good book! If only the ending were different....

  • Creative A
    2018-09-23 03:57

    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 answers about his past. And what happens to poor Katta--or at way the author leaves it off--gives me the impression that she's going to suffer the rest of his life. Our only rays of hope are the fire and Matthias' idea of returning to the Burners. It's just a dark, bizarre story, and while it was okay, I'm not sure that darkness was worth it.