The Toymaker – Jeremy De Quidt

“Do you know Frausisstrasse?
You must.
The street named after that fine Duke who, seeing his army beaten before him, rode his great high-stepping white horse down onto the battlefield, and taking off his hat in one majestic sweep, dismounted before the enemy prince, drew his sword as though to surrender it, and drove it instead straight through the man’s heart, so the lost battle was won and the city saved.”

Mathias only ever knew his grandfather, Gustav, and the circus they rode with. Gustav kept himself to himself but, the conjuror would frequently tell Mathias that he knew a secret, one that should never be told. When Gustav sees a face in the crowd that he recognises, he knows it is time, and throws himself off the stage. The man, claiming to be a doctor, searches the body, but he misses a scrap of paper that Mathias finds within the lining of the conjurors coat. What Mathias doesn’t know is that some things are best left hidden, and that little scrap of paper is going to get him in more trouble than he could ever know. 

***
I was all set for a terrifying read with The Toymaker, with that cover and the fascinating blurb I thought I’d be hooked, and to be honest, I was. However The Toymaker isn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be and felt more like a crime thriller than a horror.
The story is great but I felt it might have dragged out a little bit, I found myself wanting the story to move on, there are long parts of the story where we are just watching Mathias and Katta inside rooms, not doing anything. I did enjoy it and wanted to know what the secret was, what Gustav knew and why he was pretty much in hiding. I liked that the book was full of characters who you weren’t sure whether or not to trust and I loved the wondering that it made you do. 
My favourite parts of the book included the use of Marguerite, who was suitably creepy and worrying in Dr Leiters hands. I loved the idea of what was going on and the secret but I thought the uncovering of it was a little rushed. I would have liked to have seen more of The Toymaker and found out a bit about his background too, about how he came about the idea of making these types of toys and such. 
The illustrations in The Toymaker were a wonder to behold and they were scary! They weren’t what I was expecting at all but worked so well with the story. The writing was beautiful and I really can’t wait to check out more Jeremy De Quidt because I think my experience of his work can only get better. Overall I did enjoy The Toymaker, maybe not as much as I’d hoped but I will definitely be reading more! 
The Toymaker was released in January 2010 by David Fickling Books. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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  • I was under the impression this was scary too! The Feathered Man was creepy. Not sure I want to read this one though.

  • It’s a pity this isn’t that scary, I was looking forward to a scary read with this! Oh well, I’m sure I’ll still enjoy it 🙂

    I love when books have illustrations that go well with the story! 😀

  • I really liked the idea of this, but I didn’t end up finishing it. Like you, I enjoyed the illustrations though.

  • This sounds intriguing – in a way it not being as scary as it looks attracts me even more to it! Fab review 🙂