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Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

>> Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Published: 2006
Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Horror
Pages: 290
Challenge: RIP II #1

First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine; there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s the best of all for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away.

But you take October, now. School’s been on a month and you’re riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you’ll dump on old man Prickett’s porch or the hairy-ape costume you’ll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners.

But one strange wild dark long year, Halloween came early.

One year Halloween came on October 24, three hours after midnight.

At that time, James Nightshade of 97 Oak Street was thirteen years, eleven months, twenty-three days old. Next door, William Halloway was thirteen years, eleven months and twenty-four days old. Both touched toward fourteen; it almost trembled in their hands.

And that was the October week when they grew up overnight, and were never so young any more . . .
I can’t believe I’ve never read this book before, and I’m glad that Carl’s RIP II Challenge inspired me to do so. What a thrill ride. That prologue sucked me in and put me in the mindset of a 13-14 year old kid whose life revolves around school and play, but the sense of foreboding about what was to come began to simmer.

A small sleepy town, two young boys, best friends yet opposites in many ways, a mysterious carnival arrives in the middle of the night and things just get spookier and spookier.

I’m not going to say much about the plot because I know that many other folks will be reading this in the next few weeks for the RIP II challenge. I hope those who do will enjoy it as much as I did. I had a hard time at first getting involved in the story, but that was a timing issue. For several days in a row I only had a few minutes here and there to read. It wasn’t until I got some good chunks of time and could sit down and let the story and its atmosphere envelop me that I really began to enjoy the story. The writing creates some scary and at times bizarre imagery. Relationships are tested – not only the two boys, but also Will and his Father have to come to terms with themselves and their relationships to each other. It’s a coming of age story, a thriller, and a story of dark magic and suspense. The tension really builds in the second half, so if you’re reading it now or soon, be prepared and hang on!


Eva 9/05/2007 8:23 PM  

I loved the prologue! So glad that you posted it. :)

The second half was really terrifying; and I didn't expect that amount of fright based on the first half. Lots of fun!

Nymeth 9/06/2007 2:56 AM  

I was also surprised by just how creepy it gets in the second half. This really is a wonderful book.

Debi,  9/06/2007 3:09 AM  

I'm one of those who has it on her list...and I am so anxious to get to it! I'm sure I'll love it as much as you. Thanks for the wonderful review!

Bookfool 9/06/2007 6:00 AM  

Wow, you're so fast! Maybe I should have put this one on my list, again. I didn't manage to read it last year. I'm really reading mild books, at the moment, though.

Kailana 9/06/2007 6:47 AM  

I might have to see if the bookstore has this because I have always wanted to read it, but just never got to it!

Carl V. 9/06/2007 7:46 AM  

I said on someone else's review of the same book something to the effect that it has been waaay too long since I've read this book. I should pick it up and read it to my daugher, she's been in a big 'read to me' kick (she's 15) and I've been reading her Lovecraft short stories.

Its funny, I remember disliking Sept. some as a kid because of the start of school, but I love it is all about weather and seasons for me now.

SuziQoregon 9/06/2007 7:59 PM  

Eva: I just loved that prologue - figured it was spoiler free and safe to post, too.

Nymeth: The second half was really hard for me to put down.

Debi: Hope you like it as much as I did.

Bookfool: don't read it in the dark or if there's a carnival in town.

Kailana: I'm really glad I finally read it. I saw the movie years ago, and remembered it was creepy, but had never picked up the book.

Carl: I just love that your daughter likes to have you read to her! I still feel like September is a time for fresh starts and back to buckling down with projects and personal goals. It still has more of a 'new year' feel for me than January 1sr does. I still feel like I need new pens and notebooks after Labor Day ;-)

Stephanie 9/07/2007 8:02 AM  

Oh wow! You make this sound so good! I'm going to have to find a copy of it at the library!!

Les 9/07/2007 9:46 AM  

Oh, this sounds SO good! It reminds me a bit of Dandelion Wine (another great book by Bradbury - one I need to read again). Thanks for including the passage. I'll definitely have to read this one.

I just finished #2 for Carl's challenge. Probably won't get to my reviews until we return to Nebraska.

Bookfool 9/07/2007 1:26 PM  


I'll bear that in mind. :)

Booklogged 9/07/2007 9:58 PM  

I've never read this one, but from your review and the comments, I can see that it's a must read.

Joy 9/08/2007 7:40 AM  

Ditto to what Booklogged said. :)

Sorry, but I had to laugh ... you have stars on your GoodReads! Are those considered ratings!?! (Totally teasing you, Suzi.)

SuziQoregon 9/08/2007 7:47 AM  

Stephanie: Hope you like it.

Les: I may have to read Dandelion Wine.

Bookfool: just lookin' out for ya, my friend :-)

Booklogged: I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm really glad I read it.

Joy: I resisted a long time on the goodreads stars, but because they don't allow partial stars I'm forced to make a call in whole star increments - I still don't like it, but it makes it easier. My overall ratings show a pretty decent bell curve, so I think it's fairly accurate (even though I don't like it). I am enjoying using the goodreads site, though.

Framed 9/08/2007 5:07 PM  

After reading Eva's and your reviews, I'm convinced I should read this book. Maybe next year. I love that prologue. It gets you right off the bat, doesn't it?

Bellezza 9/12/2007 7:20 AM  

I just finished this book and posted about it. Like you, I'm astonished I never read it before. It was an exceptional piece of literature, almost qualifying as poetry in many ways. Les compared it to Dandelion Wine, sort of, which is what it's called by many experts: a sequel of that book which was held in the joy of summer. This one has the tinge of Autumn. I liked your review, SuziQ!

SuziQoregon 9/12/2007 7:48 AM  

Framed: It's a perfect RIP challenge book!

Bellezza: thanks - I'm glad to hear you liked it too. I may have to pick up Dandelion Wine.

Court 9/29/2007 2:03 PM  

Wow. That is an awesome prologue!

I'm not sure if I'm going to get to this for my RIP challenge (it's in my list of possible additions/substitutions) but even if I don't, I know I'll be reading it some time soon. Thanks for the awesome review!!

SuziQoregon 9/30/2007 10:03 AM  

Court: I loved that prologue - it really grabbed me. I hope you enjoy the book when you get to it.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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