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Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray…
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Something Wicked this Way Comes (1962)

by Ray Bradbury

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Green Town (3)

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6,470157592 (3.99)4 / 350
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English (154)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (156)
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
Another example of my piss poor reading tastes. Everyone loves Ray Bradbury's classic novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and I was bored stiff. Everyone raves about the gothic horror and the dark suspense, and I found a novel that comes in a close second for Best Insomnia Cure (A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens claims the top spot).

I don't know if it was Bradbury's haphazard and disjointed writing style, or the storyline itself, but I could not get on board with this. Something Wicked is the story of two small town teenagers and one middle-aged father who come together to battle an evil carnival that pulls into town one dark and frightful night the week before Halloween. Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are your typical 13-year-olds in small town middle America, always up to no good and always on the search for adventure. When they both hear the carnival train pull into the station in the wee hours of the morning, they do what any self-respecting teenaged boy would do: they sneak out their bedroom windows and rush off to get a closer look at the new visitors. As they watch the carnival magically unfold in front of them, the whispers of evil stir, and the boys soon find themselves on the quest to bring down the carnival's evil proprietors.

Enter Will's dad, Charles Halloway, a janitor for the city library and one who is lamenting his rapid descent into old age. An insomniac, Charles is awake himself when the carnival train pulls into town, and he can tell from the tinkling calliope music that all is not at it seems. When he notices the boys' odd behavior, and some strange happenings with others in town, Charles also starts nosing around the carnival, finding much more than he bargained for.

It could have been a great book. It could have been a spectacular book. But for me, it fell way below the mark. I did have a hard time falling into the rhythm of the syntax. So many repeated sentences and then so many vague phrases. Sometimes I felt like a particular thought or moment was getting smashed in my face, and other times, I had to re-read whole sections because I was sure I missed something. This constant groping around in the text took away from any emotional draw of the story. I didn't care about the characters. I wanted to hit Charles Halloway in the face a few times and yell, "54 is not old! And quit feeling sorry for yourself you slobbering bag of bones!" I didn't find any of the carnival proprietors scary, or even that interesting. I just felt blah about the whole thing.

Sigh. So on to something that I'm sure everyone else is going to give 2 or 3 stars, but I will undoubtedly love... ( )
  parhamj | Nov 16, 2014 |
ABR's full Something Wicked This Way Comes audiobook review can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

I've never read Ray Bradbury before. I don't even know why. I just never got around to him. I'm so excited that I was finally able to listen to this one because it is fantastic from beginning to end!

This story is about two boys and one of them is intriuged by the carnival and all that a carnival brings while the other is able to see through the glimmer. It's so creepy that I honestly wasn't sure when I should absolutely feel creep-ed out because I was just thinking everyone was a part of the carnival. That is easily recognizable about halfway through the story though. The boys, who are so much alike, start to really differ in what they want also.

The audio was really pleasing. I loved the narrator, Christian Rummel. He has a way of making you want to listen. Although between the fabulous narration and fantastic writing there is no way I wanted this to come to a stop! The audio was very well done and I think this is definitely one where the audio enhanced the book. I could easily tell the characters apart but Christian Rummel just made the very eerie world come to life. There were times when over emphasizing was needed and Christian nailed it. There were also a lot of really strange parts, where one of the dads is just cracking up like he's mad and that scene was done so well. As were all of them really.

The characters in both the narration and the book were very well developed. These are not villains that I grew to love. Ray Bradbury had a way of really emphasizing the evil behind the mask, and he does it so well here. I also really enjoyed the story's progression. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

This was my first but definitely not my last Ray Bradbury. I now see why so many are in love with his writing.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Nov 14, 2014 |
This was the very first Ray Bradbury book I read, though certainly not the last. This novel is an excellent blend of fantasy and horror.

As a kid, I was quite familiar with the idea of charlatans and crooks and traveling salesmen, so the idea of this book struck a chord with me.
It gave my child-self nightmares, which is saying something considering that I saw my first horror movie at age seven.

The detailed descriptions and Bradbury’s word choice painted scenes much more vivid than any film studio, and coupled with my own imagination, my mind raced at the horrors in that novel.

After this book, I went back to Half-Price and bought five more Bradbury books. He was well read and enjoyed by my middle-school self (and now my adult self).
Read the full review here: www.ravenoak.net ( )
  kaonevar | Nov 12, 2014 |
I really liked this book, but there were several things that detracted quite severely from what would have been a five-star book.

First, the writing is so purple it put me in mind of H.P Lovecraft, although I don't remember (or, more possible, I'm just really blinkered) H.P overdoing it quite that much.

Second, the ending. Now, I don't mind a happy ending now and then, but this was so soppy that it made me roll my eyes in exasperation. I mean, really? If the ending had been any more sugary, it would come with a health warning.

Despite all that, I did enjoy the book, and there are some truly beautiful moments, and an underlying melancholy that rises above the story and becomes something all on its own. ( )
  DarkDagon | Nov 3, 2014 |
The Short of It:

The calliope music signals that the carnival has arrived, but the carnival itself is a host of horrors for the inhabitants of this small town.

The Rest of It:

I can sum this story up in just a few words. Hallucinogenic, batshit craziness.

A couple of weeks ago we talked about part one and part two and today, I am happy to report that our read along is complete! Part three, titled, ‘Departures’ was both strange and welcome. It’s been a crazy ride. Bradbury’s imagination was all over the place and it was hard to work the reading into my other reading. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but like it? Not really. It’s not really the type of book you like. That said, I can’t imagine reading it at any other time of the year because the setting and time frame just beg to be read in the Fall. Yes, I think WHEN you read this is very important. It DOES put you in the mood for Halloween and out here in sunny, Southern California with our never-ending 85 degree temps, I need all the help I can get.

The book though, it’s very disjointed. Odd. Feels a little nightmarish. I had two read-alongers listen to the book on audio and they gave-up on it. I think it would be very hard to follow on audio and that’s a shame because listening to a spooky book is so much fun, usually. What was Bradbury trying to accomplish with this one? That is the question I keep asking myself. The first part really set the stage, but the middle section was very difficult to make sense of. I will say this, it came together at the end and I found the end notes very interesting.

Did you know that Gene Kelly was the reason this book was written? Apparently, Bradbury was good friends with him and always wanted to work with him, so he pulled out some of his story ideas and Kelly decided that this story, would be great to adapt in some way. It never worked out, but Bradbury then took it and turned it into a novel which later became a movie after all.

I’ve never seen the movie version of this book but recently, on American Horror Story, a new character was introduced (Mordrake) who reminds me a lot of Mr. Dark. This season of AHS seems to be paying homage to classic horror movies like Halloween and the like, so seeing Mordrake in the freak show background does make me think that maybe the movie of Something Wicked might be better than the book.

Have you read this book or seen the movie?

For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter. ( )
  tibobi | Oct 31, 2014 |
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Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Man is in love, and loves what vanishes.
W.B. Yeats

They sleep not, except they have done mischief;
And their sleep is taken away,
  unless they cause some to fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And they drink the wine of violence.
Proverbs 4:16-17

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.
Stubb in Moby Dick
Dedication
With gratitude to
Jennet Johnson
who taught me how to write the short story
and to
Snow Longley Housh
who taught me poetry at Los Angeles High School a long time ago
and to
Jack Guss
who helped with this novel not so long ago
With love to the memory of GENE KELLY, whose performances influenced and changed my life
First words
The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm.
Quotations
Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience. Billions of prickling textures. Cut one sense away, cut part of life away. Cut two senses; life halves itself on the instant. We love what we know, we love what we are. Common cause, common cause, of mouth, eye, ear, tongue, hand, nose, flesh, heart, and soul.
"Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin. Will, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells. Times come when troughs, not tables, suit our appetites. Hear a man too loudly praising others and look to wonder if he didn't just get up from the sty. On the other hand, that unhappy, pale, put-upon man walking by, who looks all guilt and sin, why, often that's your good man with a capitol G, Will. For being good is a fearful occupation; men strain at it and sometimes break in two. I've known a few. You work twice as hard to be a farmer as his to be his hog. I suppose it's thinking about being good that makes the crack run up the wall one night. A man with high standards, too, the least hair falls on him sometimes wilts his spine. He can't let himself alone, won't lift himself off the hook if he falls just a breath from grace."
And, Will thought, here comes the carnival, Death like a rattle in one hand, Life like candy in the other; shake one to scare you, offer one to make your mouth water. Here comes the side show, both hands full!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380729407, Mass Market Paperback)

A masterpiece of modern Gothic literature, Something Wicked This Way Comes is the memorable story of two boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a "dark carnival" one Autumn midnight. How these two innocents, both age 13, save the souls of the town (as well as their own), makes for compelling reading on timeless themes. What would you do if your secret wishes could be granted by the mysterious ringmaster Mr. Dark? Bradbury excels in revealing the dark side that exists in us all, teaching us ultimately to celebrate the shadows rather than fear them. In many ways, this is a companion piece to his joyful, nostalgia-drenched Dandelion Wine, in which Bradbury presented us with one perfect summer as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, he deftly explores the fearsome delights of one perfectly terrifying, unforgettable autumn. --Stanley Wiater

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:12 -0400)

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Ray Bradbury's classic tale of a mysterious carnival arriving in a small town.

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