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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying!
This is an enchanting and terrifying tale of a nightmarish carnival that comes to the town where two boys live. The two 13 year old boys are best friends who were born just minutes apart from each other at Halloween time.

The boys are excited about the carnival but things soon take on a terrifying twist when they discover the dark secret behind the carrousel...
Published on 29 Oct 2006 by kehs

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Preview before buying.
Generally I'm a great fan of Ray Bradbury's works but not in this case. I tried my best to get into it but it failed to engage me. Perhaps it's just me but I wish I'd taken a look inside or downloaded a preview before buying it. So I'm sorry but only two stars for this one.
Published 12 months ago by George the Red


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying!, 29 Oct 2006
By 
kehs (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is an enchanting and terrifying tale of a nightmarish carnival that comes to the town where two boys live. The two 13 year old boys are best friends who were born just minutes apart from each other at Halloween time.

The boys are excited about the carnival but things soon take on a terrifying twist when they discover the dark secret behind the carrousel. The ride can change a person's age. Ride it forward, and with each revolution you age one year. Ride it backwards, and you become younger. We hear how the boys have to do battle with evil, in order to save themselves from a horrific fate and I could really feel their terror as they tried to outwit the carnival owners. This book was a gripping page-turner that absolutely enthralled me. It is a book to be savored for the glorious prose that Bradbury skillfully uses and deserves to be read, and then read again
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Day I Killed Ray Bradbury, 25 July 2012
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I was in my local Waterstones (again) when an amazing cover caught my eye. The neon green on black cover of this reissue certainly has appeal. I picked it up and read the first line.

'The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm.'

Wham! What a way to start a novel. One line and I was hooked; desperate for more. I think it might be the finest opening line of all time. Being a sensible thrifty chap, I resisted the temptation to purchase there and then. Instead I added it to 'the list', promising myself I would return soon. When I arrived home, the news was just in. Ray Bradbury had died.

My mind reeled, was this just coincidence or had I inadvertently caused the death of one of science fiction's greatest authors? OK, he was ninety-one, but did I have that sort of power? Well obviously not, but even now a small part of me wonders whether I should have checked out Jedward's biography whilst I was there.

In honour of the great man's passing I bought the book.

It takes as its subject that stalwart of gothic fiction, the carnival troupe. Like clowns, carnivals are something that are supposed to entertain children and adults alike, yet in reality they are macabre and scary. There is something other-worldly about them, with their freak-shows, bunko artists and silver-tongued magicians. Bradbury adds a touch of the supernatural and a pinch of wish fulfilment to produce something truly terrifying.

The prose in 'Something Wicked...' is stylised, and has its own mystical quality. Bradbury's evocative description manages to be rambling, yet feels as though not a single word is redundant. Fans of modern horror may not find the style to their liking. Contemporary writers of the genre tend to use more direct, visceral prose. Description tends to be an accurate depiction of what is happening. Bradbury's meandering descriptions are filled with metaphor and allusion. This doesn't always make for an thrilling read, but soak yourself in his language, and the reward is entrancing.

The tale is wrought by melding time-old themes:- Coming of age, the regret of a life unfulfilled and the perils of getting what you wish for. The carnival owners are deeply sinister, and the novel's teenaged protagonists, full of the vim and certainty that comes with being fourteen. This book is a clear influence on Stephen King, but not just his writing of horror. 'Something Wicked...' very much reminded King's novella 'Stand by Me'. Both are beautiful and accurate portrayals of boys on the cusp of adulthood.

This is an amazing book. A prose masterclass by an author at the peak of his powers. No word is unnecessary. A meditation on youth and longing, 'Something Wicked...' is a book with multiple textures and layers. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bradbury's Masterpiece, 8 Jun 2006
By 
E. Quintrell (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ray Bradbury is perhaps most known for his science fiction, notably his collection of short stories "The Martian Chronicles", but "Something Wicked This Way Comes" remains his best regarded and most loved piece of work.

A clear (and acknowledged) influence on the work of Stephen King, this tale of an nightmarish carnival coming to town, and the two boys who stand against it, is one of the great American fantasy stories. Equally enchanting, terrifying and heartbreaking, this is one of those books that once read, is never forgotten.

Scandalously out of print until now, if you're a Ray Bradbury fan, then buy this immediately. If you like classic Stephen King, then buy this immediately. In fact, whatever your tastes, just get this book immediately. you won't regret it...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Masterpiece, 22 Nov 2008
By 
This is Ray Bradbury's finest novel, a dark, nightmarish fantasy that thrilled me when I first read it back when I was around 13 and is absolutely the book that made me want to be a writer myself. Many years later, when they made a so-so movie adaptation of it, I actually wrote to Bradbury, thanking him for inspiring me as he did and was thrilled to receive a letter back from him which I still have and occasionally re-read.

It's probably true to say that that Bradbury's florid narrative may seem a little over-descriptive for contemporary tastes, but I must have read this book fifteen or twenty times over the years and it never loses its power to captivate me; and like all the best works of fiction, it can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

When I visit schools to talk about my own books, I never fail to mention this one and how important it was in my childhood and it kind of annoys me that the book is not venerated as the classic it undoubtedly is. For my money it belongs up there with Lord Of The Flies and Catcher In The Rye. It's interesting to note how many other writers have been influenced by it - Stephen King, Darren Shan, Cornelia Funke, to name but three.

Do seek this book out and read it - it's well worth the effort and the chances are you will love it every bit as much as I do.

Philip Caveney
author of Sebastian Darke: Prince Of Fools
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Dark Fantastique, 22 Nov 2004
Technically speaking, his Fahrenheit 451 may be a better novel, but for me this later work represents Bradbury's imaginative and narrative powers at their peak. Two boys trembling on the edge of adolescence in a small Illinois town in the earlier part of the twentieth century are drawn into the mystery of the dark carnival that arrives in the depths of a summer night. Written in a vividly poetic - and occasional over the top - style, this rich fantasy explores the wild and magical dream that is childhood in Bradbury's fiction and its necessary rupturing by adult awareness, the inevitable loss of innocence that accompanies this and the suggestion that this process is one of corruption. Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show offers unwary customers their hearts' desires - only to horribly twist and distort them, in a way that paradoxically could never be in the 'real' world but only within the imaginative realm that children inhabit. Bradbury's narration is colourful and nostalgic, sentimental and richly descriptive as he unleashes his astonishing tale of wide-eyed youngsters, world-weary adults, freaks, nightmares, and gothic revelation. An impossible book to pin down, perhaps due to its own dreamlike structure and narrative, it surely contains the wonders of youth and horrors of maturity presented in Bradbury's fantastical symbolism, and as such represents his most vividly realised work.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deadly Nightshade, 8 Oct 2008
By 
Tony Floyd "Travis Pickle" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I can understand the mixed reaction that this book has provoked. The story is wonderful, with a theme both elemental and mythical: in mid-century, mid-western America, a carnival sets up outside the town of Greentown promising fun and laughter under the night sky but in truth the lights and attractions are simply lures to draw the weak willed and susceptible. For the carnival is run by Mr Dark, an ageless agent of the devil out to gather souls for damnation. In particular he is intent on corrupting Will and Jim, two boys on the cusp of teenagerdom, ripe for seduction by the powers of darkness. They are initially entranced by (though also a little wary of) the secrets of the dark carnival but eventually come to realise that their souls are in mortal danger.

Something Wicked trades on the garish attractions and seedy appeal of funfairs and carnivals, with their intense illuminations ostensibly providing a haven of light in the darkness, but more likely masking all kinds of behind the scenes unpleasantness. Bradbury really hits a nerve about these ambiguous entertainments but the big obstacle to total enjoyment is his way of telling the story.

I first read about Bradbury's book in Stephen King's Danse Macabre and King does a great job of selling it, without overlooking its faults. Despite King's endorsement however I too, like other people here on Amazon, was on the verge of giving up, finding the adjective heavy and folksy style just too obtrusive and irritating. The prose style is rich and sickly, like an overdecorated birthday cake. There's tasty sponge buried inside but first you've got to get through the thick layer of icing and marzipan.

There's also the sentimental attitude towards childhood, or more specifically to boyhood, that really does not appeal to me. This is a particularly American type of schmaltz, the premise that small town homespun wisdom is more honest and true and real than city slicker sophistication, and that children have access to this well of artless honesty that is out of reach of adults. For me, the friendship between Will and Jim is unconvincing, all the talk of their unspoken and instinctive rapport doesn't ring true, just a sentimental novelist's rosy view of boyhood. And what boys ever spoke like these two do.

And the ornateness obscures rather than illuminates. There were several times early on the book where I could not work out what the hell was going on because I couldn't extract any sense from the over reliance on adjectival cluster-bombing and aw shucks whimsy.

However if you feel like you can't stomach this but you are sympathetic towards the subject matter, then you should persist a little longer. After the first section the book does improve, when the strength of the story breaks free of the heavy pull of the overripe prose. I'd say from the attempt by the Dust Witch to locate Will and Jim's houses is where the story becomes gripping. If you are still not hooked by the time Will and Jim are hiding from Mr Dark under the grate then I would call it quits. The style is no less filigreed and ornate in these later sections but it is less annoying. The set pieces are structured more effectively and have a greater dramatic punch. The prose also serves these later scenes rather than undermines them, particularly in the set piece encounter between Will's father and Mr Dark in the library. This is brilliantly set up, effectively paced and drips with menace. Perhaps by then I had got used to Bradbury's effects.

Maybe it would have been better to allow the prose style to change subtly as the book went on, as the events become more fantastic and sinister. Instead because we are plunged straight into the absurdly orchidaceous prose the early parts don't work. But dammit I ended up loving the book and wishing it was longer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars something wicked this way comes, 28 Jan 2014
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One of Ray Bradbury,s best long stories, you can soon become lost in the narrative. I have read this story before, and to me it has lost none of its qualities
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Bradbury's very best., 5 Jan 2014
He has the writer's guile to make us really care and empathise with the characters.I couldn't put it down. Simply love it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant poetical horror, 30 Nov 2013
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I now own, including this kindle version and the one I loaded onto my wife s kindle, ten copies of Something Wicked This Way Comes. Not because I'm a very specialised boarder, but because it's so bloody good and when ever I see a copy I don't own, I buy it and read it. I must read Bradburys novel at least once a year.
Why?
Because it never fails to move me, scare me or reveal something new that I have not noticed before.
I won't bang on about themes, sub plots or anything, but will say that it is a superb read and I shall recommend it until my dying day
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the classics of speculative fiction., 24 Nov 2013
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Arguably Ray Bradbury's masterwork. Prose that flows like poetry. Memorable phrases, lines and concepts that once read are in the mind for life.
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Something Wicked This Way Comes
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Paperback - 12 May 1977)
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