Something Wicked This Way Comes


Something Wicked This Way Comes
By:  Ray Bradbury
Published:  1962
# of pages:  289
Challenge: R.I.P., Full House (Published pre-2000), Monthly Motif (September)




Goodreads description:

Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and mind as has this one-Ray Bradbury’s incomparable masterwork of the dark fantastic. A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes — and the stuff of nightmare.

My opinion:  

This has been on my TBR list for a long time, but my book club finally gave me the motivation I needed to actually read it.  The story is about two boys on the verge of turning 14.  Jim Nightshade can’t wait to grow up and is already curious about adult themed things.  Will Halloway is content to hang out with his best friend, race back and forth to the library where his father works, and everything else boys find to do with their time.  Will’s father, a janitor at the local library, spends much of his time contemplating his life and how he ended up in his mid-50s as a father of an active son with whom he doesn’t have anything in common.

One night a very creepy carnival rolls into town.  Weird things start happening, including a few of the town’s residents disappearing.  Jim, Will, and Mr. Halloway find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous situation and must work together (and against their own desires) to save themselves and the town.

Bradbury’s descriptions in this book are very poetic.  At times it assists the reader in entering the setting and understanding the characters.  At other times, it’s overly poetic and breaks up the action.  Also, I didn’t like how the narrative is poetic, the way Mr. Halloway speaks is the same, and then his quotes of books/pamphlets is, once again, the exact same.  It isn’t natural and I found myself spacing out while reading entire paragraphs.  There often isn’t anything to distinguish between the dialogue and the narrative.

However, I did enjoy the overall story and there were a couple of points where I felt the suspense so strongly.  This book is technically the second in a series, but I never would have known that and it isn’t necessary to read the first book.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars:  Suspenseful and interesting story, characters are easy to relate to, but the poetic descriptions were often over the top and the action was disjointed.

Other reviews:

Have you reviewed this book?  Let me know and I’d be happy to post a link.

6 thoughts on “Something Wicked This Way Comes

    1. I’ve heard that the movie is good! I’d like to see it because the story is great and I bet that comes across better in the movie.


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