Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

‘The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm.’  I love this opening line.  It draws you in immediately and piques your interest.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Just finished reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury which I really enjoyed.  I wanted to read this book for a number of reasons, it’s on my classics list, it’s on my RIP list, I’ve also read plenty of good things about it  but, in fairness, and bizarrely the real thing that kept bringing this to my mind, was one of the Harry Potter films, and I can’t remember which one, but it starts with the Hogwart’s choir singing ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.  What a strange and whimsical fashion to choose your books and yet it feels oddly appropriate with this particular novel.

I really enjoyed this.  It’s the story of two young boys, living in a fairly typical town.  The type of boys who are usually up to a bit of mischief, albeit harmless, creeping out of their bedroom windows of an evening when their parents think they’re tucked up safely in bed to go and play in places they shouldn’t really be and to conjure magical adventures.  Then, on one such evening, the carnival comes to town and the boys become involved in something much more sinister than they ever imagined.  A fight for life in fact.

Firstly, a note on the author’s style of writing.  Fantastical is probably the best description that I can come up with.  The prose are almost poetic at points and strangely evocative.  The author definitely has his own style but as soon as I’d become accustomed to this I was totally drawn into the story.

Will and Jim are the two main characters.  Both rough and tumble, best friends.  Jim borders a little more onto the dangerous and darker side and it’s this side of his nature that draws him to the carnival and brings him to the attention of the strange performers.  This carnival isn’t of the everyday.  The illustrated man is not all he seems and many of the performers are held in a strange and subdued captivity.  There are so many interesting characters and concepts here.  The witch, and particularly her strange form of magic, the whole scene with the hot air balloon was really quite freaky.  The carousel – well, all I can say is I don’t think I can ever enjoy a ride on one of those again!  The maze of mirrors – I must admit I find the Hall of Mirrors in any fairground a bit unnerving but this particular maze magnifies that feeling.   This maze reflects the person’s darkest fears a thousandfold.

I’m not going to go into too much more detail.  The story was undoubtedly creepy.  The plight of the boys reaches a great dramatic climax.  It’s a great look at good and evil and the different shades in between and the strange nature of people that draws them sometimes to things that are dark and supernatural.  On top of this it’s one of those stories that you read and can immediately feel that it’s had an impact on other writers.  And finally, it’s a wonderfully dark and perfect tale to read on an autumn night leading up to Halloween.

I’ve read this for Stainless Steel Droppings RIP event.  This also counts to my Classics Club list.

24 Responses to “Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury”

  1. cherylmahoney

    I love that as a reason to choose a book! 🙂 I’m pretty sure it was the third movie, and it makes perfect sense to me to pick up a book because of something random like that. Though for me, for this book, it would be more about the Macbeth quote that both Bradbury and Harry Potter were drawing from…”By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!”

    • lynnsbooks

      Ah, excellent – I had absolutely no idea that was a quote from Macbeth. Thank you so much! I’ve not read any Shakespeare until this year I picked up A Midsummer Night’s Dream – which I really enjoyed.
      I quite often pick up book suggestions from other books (as I’m sure do a lot of people). I only read Mrs Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho because it was contained in an Austen novel! It’s odd the way your mind picks up on strange things and once you’ve picked up the trail you have to follow it through.
      Still love that Macbeth quote!
      Lynn 😀

  2. brideofthebookgod

    You should try and see the film version which sadly seems difficult to get a hold of these days. Captures the book perfectly.

    • lynnsbooks

      Do you know I had no idea that this had been made into a film, although it does make sense because it’s so well liked and I think Bradbury also wrote for film?? Could have just made that up though!
      I must have a look and see if I can find that.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post

    I love that you loved this! It is a delicious spooky story! You have to see the old Disney movie of this. It’s great

    • lynnsbooks

      It was really good. He’s got a really unique style of writing but as soon as you get into it this was a great story. I really will have to try and get a copy of this film by Disney!
      Lynn 😀

  4. thenovellife1

    Now I am anxious to get ahold of this book and the movie! Although not quite sure I could handle the movie if its too scary! And what a great way to select a book to read! I’m trying to recall the beginning of the 3rd movie and for the life of me can’t! Oh well, guess it means I have to go watch it again ;-D

    • lynnsbooks

      I think it was the Prisoner of Azkaban.
      I’m also really keen to get hold of the movie – in fact I’m surprised it’s not been remade to be honest. I believe it was a Disney film so hopefully no cushions in front of eyes necessary!
      I hope you get a copy of the book – it’s a very unique style of writing but really suits the story I think.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Caroline

    I’ve read this such a long time ago and couldn’t remember it. I’m glad for the review. I read The Halloween Tree last year and would like to read Dandelion Wine this year.
    I think his style is wonderful. Totally his own.

    • lynnsbooks

      I will definitely look out for more of his works – Dandelion Wine I think I’ve had a couple of people mention, so I will probably look out for that (plus it’s got the word ‘wine’ in the title!)

      Lynn 😀

  6. jessicabookworm

    I’m so pleased to hear you enjoyed this! After reading this I went on a bit of Bradbury reading binge. I highly recommend Dandelion Wine as another surreal story of childhood by Bradbury. I love your reason for wanting to read this book I think that song is at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      I really did. When I first started I was worried if I would get into his writing style and also I’d seen a couple of negative reviews about his prose – but, I loved it. It’s a fantastic read for this time of the year and it really gripped me. I will look out for Dandelion Wine.
      Thanks – I do love the Prisoner of Azkaban. I think it’s my favourite – or maybe the Goblet of Fire. Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll have to go and watch them again!
      Lynn 😀

  7. nrlymrtl

    I’ve read Bradbury a bit here and there throughout my life, but never took to him. Still, I have a lingering curiosity for this book and I should probably give it a read so I can put it in my past.

    • lynnsbooks

      This seems to be the case for some people. He does have an unique writing style and I worried at first if I would take to it but it really drew me in.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Jay

    Hi Lynn,

    Glad you liked it. I’ve become a Bradbury fan lately, mostly through his short stories and, of course, Fahrenheit 451. I’m currently working my way through The Illustrated Man story collection, and next up for me will be Dandelion Wine. Last year I also randomly discovered that a local university has a “Center for Ray Bradbury Studies” – how cool is that?! 🙂

    Nice catch on the Harry Potter tie in. I hadn’t noticed that! I love how different works of literature often lead us coincidentally to other works that we end up enjoying…


    • lynnsbooks

      Yes, I’m going to read Dandelion Wine next of his – lots of people have recommended it.
      A Centre for studies all about Bradbury is pretty cool – he was pretty prolific though, wrote lots, plus film scripts and short stories.
      Lynn 😀

  9. Priya

    Love your review! This is one of my favourite books about growing up. For me, the character of Charles Halloway, the father, was the best part of the book. Also, the creepy carnival and the illusions in it were quite haunting. I was so impressed by Dark, that I went on to read Bradbury’s short story collection also called The Illustrated Man; which is less dark-ish fantasy and more science fiction, but still pretty good.

    • lynnsbooks

      The father was great. I think that’s part of the beauty of this story. It’s not lengthy but the main characters feel perfectly conjured.
      I will definitely move on to more of his work.
      Lynn 😀

  10. Ekaterina

    Bradbury in general and this book in particular is a fave! He can be really creepy and really beautiful, and his writing is something really special. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed it – he’s now on the list and I’ll be checking back through some of his other works.
      Lynn 😀

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