Sunday, 6 June 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes

"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

By Chris


  1. This has long been one of my favorite books. I love how beautifully constructed some of Bradbury's sentences are --- I savor this book each time I read it.

  2. Squee!~ This sounds very exciting! Oooh! I want to read iiit! I've got his Fahrenheit on my reading list but once I get my paws on that it looks like this will have to be next. Thanks for the review!

  3. Great review, this books sounds really good. Adding to my TBR list!

  4. This is a favorite book of one of my friends and I just haven't read it yet, but put it on the list. Thank you!

  5. @ Jo: I agree Bradbury did a wonderful job with the poetic style of writing, I've never read another book like it

    @ Bethany: I've not read Fahrenheit 451 either, but since its arguably his most famous work i'm really looking forward to it, i'll be certain to post a review of it here when I have done but as for Something Wicked This Way Comes; its definately worth a read!

    @ Rachel: I'm pleased to read you've added it to your TBR list. Its well worth a read.

    @ Kim: Have you read any of Bradbury's books? You wouldn't regret it! :o)

  6. The only thing I've read by Bradbury is Fahrenheit 451, and I was actually a bit disappointed. I've got The Illustrated Man out from the library, though, and I'm looking forward to it.

  7. Not an author I'm familiar with though funnily enough I have had 5 people recommend him to me in the last few days, a definite sign don't you think?

  8. When I was in the classroom, I taught F 451 & always meant to read this one. Since then, it has totally slipped from my radar. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. @ Zara: Sorry to hear you didn't like 451 but pleased to hear you aren't giving up on him. The Illustrated Man has become a solid favourite with me. Its a masterpiece and i'd love to know what you think of it when you finish. Do you plan to review it on your blog?

    @ Petty: I think that is most definately a sign! Bradbury isnt a big name in the UK which is a shame but he is very popular in the states. Ive just ordered a book of his poetry from and it cost me an arm and a leg because its rare over here.

    @ Elisbeth: When I finally get around to reading 451 I now know who to email with any questions I may have! :o)

  10. You know I think I've only seen the movie of this.

    I've read 451 several times-- most recently a couple of year ago. Not a fun read-- disturbing like all dystopian books-- but very pertinent to bookworms since it deals with censorship. I'm always intrigued and alarmed by older dystopian novels-- sadly, lots of things that the authors imagined are very similar to our present day world. Can't wait to hear if 451 gives you chills? btw, I watch very little tv-- that will mean more after you read the book. ;o)

    I've been wanting to read the Illustrated Man since you reviewed it--- forgot about it.

    I'm going to be teaching this in my course this fall. I'm terribly excited about it!

  12. @ Lesa: Sadly the only dystopian novels i've read are George Orwell's '1984' and Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' and I didn't like either of them! So I hope 451 is the exception!

    I don't know if its the same in the US but over in Britain people are always moaning that the world is becoming more like 1984 all the time...

    @ Birdie: Teaching that book sounds like great fun but quite challenging, I am sure there is all kinds of hidden meaning I didn't get from reading it at first