Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I love the feeling of picking up a book, getting lost in its pages, and actually being transported into it’s world; smelling it’s smells, feeling the weather, seeing the sights, feeling the goosebumps. I felt like a child again when I was reading Something Wicked This Way Comes. Remember the creepiness of October as a child? Can you recall the strange attraction to a house of mirrors? There aren’t many freak shows around these days, but as a child the unknown and the bizarre was always a little scary because it was new…We still weren’t convinced that monsters didn’t exist. And while we grow out of that as we grow older, we remember those feelings which allows for the pleasure of October and allows for a little bit of fear to become fun as an adult. Something Wicked This Way Comes was fun!

This is Ray Bradbury’s telling of the tale of two young boys who are the best of friends, Jim and Will. Jim and Will have always done everything together and have shared a wonderful friendship. They are next door neighbors and are known to sneak out together to go on adventures. Will’s father is another character that we get to know throughout the book. Will’s father is a janitor at the local library and fathered Will at an older age and is bothered by that now that he is an older parent.

One night in October, Jim, Will, and Will’s father hear carnival music playing. Carnivals usually come in the summer and it’s odd that one should be coming now. But there are pieces of paper that are found that advertise that a carnival is in fact arriving. Jim and Will sneak out to investigate and discover one of the oddest and creepiest carnivals they have seen and it’s proprietor is a man called Mr. Dark aka The Illustrated Man, who is covered in tattoos. Jim and Will first witness something strange in the carnival when one of their teachers goes through a bizarre hall of mirrors and comes out of it in a different state. Things really take a turn for the worst when they witness the calliope in the center of the carnival…the source of the strange music that beckoned them to the carnival. What they witness is a horrific scene that catapults them into a game of cat and mouse against the sinister Mr. Dark and his band of carnival freaks.

This was a perfect October read, perfect for the RIP challenge, and my first read for the Seconds Challenge! My first Bradbury was Fahrenheit 451, which I loved, but this one was so much better! There will definitely be a third Bradbury reading for me…thinking about Dandelion Wine as I’ve heard great things about that one. Bradbury’s writing was just beautiful in this book. I thought to myself, you could just turn to any page in this book and find a perfect passage, so I did just that…flipped to a random page and found the first sentence. Here it is: “The night was sweet with the dust of autumn leaves that smelled as if the fine sands of ancient Egypt were drifting to dunes beyond the town.” Now come on…how many books can you open to a random page and find a quote like that!


36 Responses

  1. Glad that you enjoyed this one as well!

  2. A great review of a great book! Bradbury’s writing really is absolutely perfect in this book. I really need to read more of his work.

  3. Oh! This is one of my favorite Bradbury books. Thanks for the great review. It reminds me that I need to read some of the books I read in HS again.


  4. hey! I may know a few folks that should go through that hall of mirrors!

  5. I absolutely love this novel. Short but it is just as long as it needs to be to tell the story. and you’re right, bradbury does write beautiful prose.

  6. This looks like one I’ll need to add at some point. I’m trying to read more Bradbury as I have time. πŸ™‚ I’ve only read Fahrenheit 451.

  7. I have sooooo anxious to start this one…it’s next up in my pile. Now you’ve gone and made the torture of waiting so much worse!

    That is just so cool that you randomly opened the book and found that passage…you’ve tempted me to go try that…

  8. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!!! I cannot figure out a way to read more than one book simultaneously!!! And I need to in order to read all the R.I.P. books I want to read in the next 3 weeks!!! πŸ˜‰

  9. I’m reading The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury right now.

  10. Eva, It was great! Plenty to enjoy πŸ™‚

    Nymeth, Wasn’t it great! I agree that his writing is perfect here. Have you read anything more of his?

    CJ, What else have you read of his? I’m curious to know where I should go next!

    Deslily, yeah, I know a few myself πŸ˜‰ Let’s get our lists together and find that carnival, LOL!

    Melanie, You’re absolutely right, it’s just the perfect length…a perfect book really!

    Becky, oh, you definitely have to add this one to your TBR pile!! This one is a pretty quick read and with the speed you read you could finish it in no time!

    Debi, Sorry πŸ™‚ It’s fun to open up books to random pages sometimes and see what you find. There was a meme floating around not too long ago that had something to do with that and it was really cool. Wish I could remember where that was.

    Carl, No shit! Lol! I still have like 13 books left on my bonus reads list and I keep finding more!! It’s not gonna happen. There’s just too many good ones out there. Let me know if you figure that one out πŸ˜‰

    Ladytink, Oooh, you may have just given me my next Bradbury book….that title alone makes me want to go out and read it!

  11. I loved Dandelion Wine! I need to reread Something Wicked because it has been so long, but all I can really remember is the chilling feeling of the dark carnival.

  12. Jenclair, The carnival will indeed stick with me for a long time. I have a very vivid picture of it in my head. Ok, you have me excited about Dandelion Wine now πŸ˜‰

  13. I’ve only read good reviews for this one, but you just tipped the meter onto “put on TBR list”! I really think I’d like to give it a try. But…when??? πŸ™‚

  14. Joy, There’s no time better than now πŸ˜‰ It’s a perfect read for this season. Guaranteed to get you in the Halloween mood!

  15. Yes, I was thinking as I read your post that you MUST read The Halloween Tree next – I know you will LOVE it, and it is the perfect time of year for it. Bradbury is such an amazing writer. He has the effect of making me want to do nothing but write while despairing that I could ever put together a single sentence as beautiful as one of his. Sigh.

  16. Darla, I know exactly how you feel. I wanted to grab a notebook and write the whole time I was reading this one..but at the same time you can’t help but feel intimidated by Bradbury’s amazing writing! OK, The Halloween Tree and Dandelion Wine will be bought next trip to the I need more books :p

  17. Darla (again)…or should I finally learn to USE THE LIBRARY!!! LOL!

  18. I’m still looking forward to my first Bradbury book. Really nice review, Chris.

  19. Great review, Chris! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed this book. πŸ™‚ Sadly, I don’t think I’m going to get around to reading it for the challenge, but I will definitely read it at some point in the future. πŸ™‚

  20. Ha! My persistent marketing campaign might actually pay off! πŸ™‚

  21. Booklogged, Very cool! Which one are you thinking of starting with?

    Court, There are SO many books that I want to read for the challenge that I’m not going to get to read. There’s just not enough time. Glad to hear you’ll read this one eventually though!

    Darla, Indeed it may πŸ˜‰

  22. Yay!!! Good to hear you enjoyed it. Guess I need to read Dandelion Wine soon.

  23. Suzi, It sounds that way πŸ˜‰ I’m going to add it somewhere in my pile. I went and read a synopsis of it and it sounds like it’s a great book!

  24. Suzi warned me that I should read Something Wicked, etc., during the daylight hours and avoid carnivals while reading. Agreed? I really must get to this one. When, I can’t say. Life is getting all boggy with stressed-out teenagers and never enough chocolate in the house.

    Did I tell you I really enjoyed your review? I love your reviews.

  25. Thanks Bookfool πŸ™‚ Definitely stay away from carnivals while reading this one πŸ˜‰ I didn’t find it all that scary, but then again I don’t scare all that easy. But it definitely has some creepy imagery in it and a spooky atmosphere. Great book!

    Stressed out teenagers certainly make things boggy! I’m learning that quickly with the new job. I don’t envy those kids. I absolutely loved my teenage years, but there’s alot of stress that goes with them…but a lot of it is good stress. Then you grow up and there’s still stress…It never goes away really, huh? I guess we just learn to live with it. If it’s not ours, it’s someone else’s that becomes ours. OK, I’m rambling now, LOL! My point is…when YOUR stress levels level out, you should definitely give this one a read. It’s quick and fun πŸ™‚

  26. Okay, I think I’ve got it – save that one for when it’s not quite so wild. πŸ™‚

    Kiddo is just having a rough year. He’s usually stunningly self-confident, but he did a bad job of scheduling and ended up in some very tough classes that he should have avoided (Latin, for example – people who hate English should definitely avoid Latin). With all his activities on top of a rough school workload, he’s really frustrated and feeling kind of stupid for the first time in his life. He’s also noticing that everyone else is beginning to couple up and he’s afraid the girls will all say “no”. He needs lots of hugs, support and guidance. I know he’ll be fine, but this is an angst year and it will require a good bit of patience, ya know?

  27. Bookfool, Ugh! I did that to myself a few times in high school too. God bless him with getting through Latin. I never even attempted that one…he’s much braver than me :p

    He seems to be getting to “that age”. I was there too. From what I know of him, he seems like a really great kid! I was always used to doing really well in school too and I remember getting my butt kicked for the first time in high school and seeing my first D on a report card…I felt horrible! But he seems FAR from stupid. We tend to be overly harsh on ourselves. I remember thinking I was stupid too when I was having problems in all of my honors classes…If only I would’ve taken the time to think that I was actually IN honors classes. It’s all about perspective. Tell him to take a look at what he’s trying to juggle right now. Not just school, but he has band and swimming too! That’s a big workload for anyone! You can use me as an example. Tell him that I had a few semesters in high school where I got a 2.0 on my report card (not to encourage that :p) but ended up graduating a master’s program with a 3.86. It’s all about where you are and what’s going on.

    As far as girls go, they’ll come along soon enough! Though I remember all too easily how rough it is to see your friends and their girlfriends. But he’s a good looking guy and seems to have a great personality. He’ll have no problem. Tell him to enjoy saving money while he can (or I should say that you can enjoy saving the money πŸ˜‰ I promise him he won’t be single all his life! It just doesn’t work that way!

    phew! That was like a whole post! Tell him to hang in there πŸ˜‰ It gets better.

  28. Chris,

    It was a long note, but very much appreciated!!! You really hit the nail on the head. He’s in honors classes and he’s a sharp kid – it’s just that he’s got a lot to juggle. I’ll tell him about your rough year; I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. Will actually doesn’t roll his eyes when I tell him such things (nice, eh?).

    The reason he decided to take Latin is so funny – you’ll love it. He found out they were going to be studying mythology and he’s an avid mythology reader; that’s one of his obsessions, really. He’s kind of a walking mythology encyclopedia. So, he just *had* to take Latin for the mythology section. And, naturally, that portion only lasted a few weeks. He had a blast, but now they’re doing a lot of translation. Yurgh.

    You know what’s really funny about the girl thing is that people really, really like my youngest. All of his life, we’ve found that wherever we go, there’s usually someone around who wants to stop him to chat. At last week’s band contest, we were walking along and some girl who *used* to go to school with him ran over and gave him a hug. So, as shy as he is, his upbeat personality obviously is a plus. It can take a while for a timid person to summon the courage to ask someone out, so I’ll just keep encouraging him. I told him about his father, the other day, and he really loved that. My husband wanted to ask me out, but apparently several other guys did also (ask me if he told me this . . . no, not till we’d been married 20 years!) and he was afraid I’d say ‘no’ if one of the others called first. So, he wasn’t going to call me at all. One of his friends took pity on him and actually dialed my number then said, “Here, ask her out!” LOL Gotta love it!

  29. Bookfool, Yeah, Will will be ok. This year will be over soon enough and Latin will be behind him! I’m a mythology fan myself, so I can understand that!

    That’s a sweet story with you and your husband πŸ™‚ I’e always been the same way…Mr. Shy. Me and Megan worked at the same coffee shop and she knew that I liked her but I was so nervous about asking her out. So I came in one day and had a piece of tape on my timecard that said “If I’m not your girlfriend within the next 24 hours, I’m going to scream!” So, I had to ask her out :p Us guys are something else, huh? lol…

  30. Ha! I love it!! What a great story. You’re proving me right, here. There’s no sense being shy – often the female is just dying to be asked. πŸ™‚

  31. I loved loved loved this book! I remember they made a movie version, which I HATED. I may be due for a reread of it, though.

    I also loved Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” and “The Illustrated Man”. Great stuff.

    Loved how evocative your review was, too. πŸ™‚

  32. J, I was wondering about the movie version…I was considering checking it out, but it sounds like it’s not worth it. I was doubting that any movie could live up to the book. The book was just amazing! Thanks for stopping by!

  33. 98DVW4 Thanks to author.

  34. o12dZu Good job!

  35. QyVoSz Nice Article.

  36. actually, that’s brilliant. Thank you. I’m going to pass that on to a couple of people.

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