Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Narrator: Christian Rummel
Series: Green Town #2
Published by Audible Studios on October 21, 2014
Source: Purchased
Genres: Horror
Length: 9 hrs 5 mins
Format: Audiobook
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three-stars

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.

I finished Something Wicked This Way Comes several days ago, but have been putting off writing about it. Usually I put my thoughts down as soon as I can after finishing a book – I’m notoriously forgetful and if I wait too long I lose a lot of most books. It has to make a major impression to stay with me longer than a week or two. But I don’t know how I feel about this one.

I listened to Something Wicked This Way Comes for the read along hosted by Michelle at Castle Macabre. It’s not something I would have picked up on my own. First, I’m not a huge horror fan. Second, I tend to avoid books that have children/teenagers as the main characters.

The good:

  • The writing is gorgeous! It makes even the small everyday things seem magical.
  • The hero is a middle-aged library janitor who loves books.
  • The carnival and Dark are downright spooky.

The bad:

  • The writing made everything seem special, even the sidewalk, which in turn means nothing was really special. It’s too easy to lose the plot in all the descriptions and metaphors.
  • I didn’t really care about Jim or Will. They were stereotypical kids and yes, they learned a lot during the carnival’s stay, but I wasn’t really attached to them.

I listened to the audio and the narrator did a wonderful job, but maybe reading it in print would have been better. A little skimming over descriptions might have improved it. I like the plot and it was appropriately creepy. I didn’t care about the musings on youth and old age, good versus evil. They were a bit heavy-handed.

I didn’t love it. It was good and maybe if I had read it 20 years ago I’d feel different. Of course, it doesn’t help that I just read We Have Always Lived in the Castle too, and it was just so much better. On the one hand they’re similar – unsettling, main characters who are teenagers. On the other hand, Jackson’s is so much tighter, each phrase matters, while Bradbury’s words just keep going and going.

About Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American author and screenwriter. He worked in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery fiction.

Widely known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953), and his science-fiction and horror-story collections, The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), and I Sing the Body Electric (1969), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American writers. While most of his best known work is in speculative fiction, he also wrote in other genres, such as the coming-of-age novel Dandelion Wine (1957) and the fictionalized memoir Green Shadows, White Whale (1992).

Recipient of numerous awards, including a 2007 Pulitzer Citation, Bradbury also wrote and consulted on screenplays and television scripts, including Moby Dick and It Came from Outer Space. Many of his works were adapted to comic book, television, and film formats.

Upon his death in 2012, The New York Times called Bradbury “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.”

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

2 Comments

  1. Yeah, Bradbury’s strength is *not* characterization. And in comparison, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is so much the better book. I’ve been having a similar everything-special problem with Peter S. Beagle’s writing. Nothing is gets to be mundane!

    • This is the first Bradbury I’ve read and to be honest, I’m not sure that I’ll search out any more. Sometimes if I read a really good book – like We Have Always Lived in the Castle – other books that normally I would enjoy thoroughly pale in comparison.

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