Sunday, 30 October 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

Two boys have lived their lives side by side having been born just minutes apart. The two are so completely different and yet in sync. Jim is always racing ahead and Will is always trying to catch up. One day the carnival comes to town and the boys sneak out to watch it set up. Instinctively they know that there is something wrong with this carnival. Something about it worries them as they watch the tents going up at 3am in the morning. In the daylight all looks normal and many people are enticed in to have their dreams and wants come true. Jim and Will discover that there is more to this than there seems and set out to stop anyone else getting hurt. However, they are discovered by the owners of the carnival and now their own lives are in danger as the carnival hunts them down.

I love Ray Bradbury. I have read a number of his books and I always forget just how wonderful they are. With this one it was the writing style of the book. It was almost as if the words wanted to take a poetic format. I seriously think this could easily have been read out in a performance. Possibly not surprising since Bradbury intended the original of this book to be brought to life on screen.

The boys themselves were fantastic characters. Each so very different and yet sharing that strong bond of friendship. Their characters almost complimented each other. I also loved Will's dad who looked over the boys longing for the freedom and youth they have. A desire the carnival picks up on and tries to use to sway him. Little does her realise that his son doesn't see him as the old man he sees himself as.

As well as being a fantastic piece of writing the book has confirmed something to me. Carnivals are creepy places. I have never really liked them and now I know why. They are scary and bad things can happen. I've actually came across a few stories about carnivals which have added to this hypothesis. These boys are certainly braver than me. I would never leave my house at 3am just to watch one being set up. I certainly wouldn't wonder around it alone after hours.

A great Halloween read. I highly recommend it. Oh, and the next time you go to a carnival maybe think twice about going into the hall of mirrors or going onto the carousel.


  1. I have yet to read any of his books, though I have Dandelion Wine on my shelves. One of these days I will get to it.

  2. Oh, they are fantastic. I highly recommend Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man.

  3. I am not crazy about the cover because as soon as I saw it I found it too derivative.

    But I am so thrilled that you found the novel as creepy as I did. Reading it didn't stop me from loving a ride on the carousel even though I don't think it will ever be removed from my top ten "scary" books, especially given that right now there are only two books there. And one is long out of print.

  4. Ryan, I have to add my two cents worth and say that I loved Dandelion Wine, which is perhaps the first book I read that had elements of magic in it but was clearly contextualized in a familiar reality. When the protagonist wakes up in a cupola and orchestrates . . . or when he gets a new pair of . . . and then how . . . ummmm . . . I am trying not to spoil anything but there are these wonderful, magical moments that make the ordinary transcendent. So wonderful.

  5. Thanks Satia, you have convinced me I need to get to the book as soon as possible.

    Karen, I think, thanks to Satia, Dandelion Wine will be the first one. But thanks to both of you, I will probably move onto others as well.

  6. Sorry Ryan, I meant after Dandelion Wine not instead of. ;)

    Satia, I am sure I had a copy of that book. Sounds good, I think I am going to have to hunt for it.

  7. What a creepy book! I'm never going to feel quite comfortable going to a fairground or carnival after dark again - nor a mirror maze. Brilliant writing, only 260 pages but Bradbury works his words hard and makes them perform magic.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I never really like fairgrounds anyway but this didn't exactly endear me to them. Fabulous book though.