Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare.
I’ll be honest, I picked this one up purely because someone who read my book said it reminded them of the movie, Something Wicked This Way Comes. As I’m still on the hunt for good comp titles, I decided to check out the book the movie was based on.
I think the only Bradbury book I’ve read prior to this is Farenheit 451 and it was sooo long ago, I don’t remember it well at all. I definitely don’t remember Bradbury’s language being like this, but maybe it was. In any case, one of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the way Bradbury plays with language and upends what we know about how English should be written. He slams words and verbs together in topsy-turvy ways that honestly really fit the atmosphere and tone of this book. It’s quite something to read even if I wasn’t always 100% sure what he meant by something. If you love experimental writing and/or language poetry, definitely check this one out. It’s really, really interesting to see language used like this in a story that otherwise seems very mainstream.
As I’m sure you can tell from the back cover copy above, the plot is super intriguing, dark and fun all at once. All of that I enjoyed. But what I enjoyed more was the way Bradbury resisted turning to the conventional with this story. Every time the story seemed to fall into a tried-and-true wagon rut, he changed course to lead us toward something entirely unexpected. The result is a story that takes one of the most fundamental truths of life (the young can’t wait to grow up while the old wish to roll back the clock) and presents in a fresh and fun way against a chilling backdrop of increasing horror.
If you haven’t read Something Wicked This Way Comes before or it’s been awhile, add it to your TBR stack for October!