"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes"
Macbeth, William Shakespeare
Yet another shining triumph for Ray Bradbury. If the vaunted American wordsmith keeps up at this pace he’ll soon be my favourite writer.
Something Wicked This Way Comes was hailed as a coming of age story, myself I’m not so sure. The two main characters are teenage friends from small town Illinois who fall foul of Mr Dark, the mysterious proprietor of the carnival that arrives in town in the middle of the night. It soon becomes apparent that this is no ordinary carnival and Mr Dark and his sinister freaks are no normal circus performers. Although growing up is a theme that is explored I feel survival against evil is a stronger theme here.
The story sounds simple enough but it is anything but. Bradbury writes with such masterful elegance I found myself transported beyond a simple horror story. The story cannot be simply defined in familiar terms such as ‘thriller’ ‘fantasy’ or ‘horror’ the truth is it is a wonderful mixture of all three. Although horror is at the heart of the story Bradbury infuses it with a poetic charm that is unexpected but effective. It added a further dimension to the story and only increased my interest. It is arguable how much this style leant to the story but in my view it improved it greatly (once I got over my initial surprise)
The friendship between the two boys is heart warming and Mr Dark is a chilling villain. He can truly make your skin crawl. The part of the book involving the hot air balloon is very frightening (I won’t say more than that!) although the two stories are quite different the story did bring to mind Stephen King's 'IT' but I imagine thats because they are both tales of adolesants in small town America trying to defeat a malevolent evil.
I thoroughly recommend this book
Final score 5/5