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Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town #2)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  66,575 Ratings  ·  4,099 Reviews
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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 293 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Avon (first published 1962)
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Karen Nah. Whilst the books are vaguely connected in setting, the tone, characters and pretty much everything else are different enough that you wouldn't be…moreNah. Whilst the books are vaguely connected in setting, the tone, characters and pretty much everything else are different enough that you wouldn't be missing anything.

That said, if you're up for an entirely less creepy read, Dandelion Wine is still worth reading. :D(less)
Jan I read in another review that as Something Wicked This Way Comes is all black and dark that Dandelion Wine is all white and bright.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-SmithI Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
Best Book Titles
2nd out of 2,412 books — 2,398 voters
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Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once
343rd out of 17,110 books — 79,955 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
Aug 10, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
I read this when I was an insanely romantic teenager and since then the cruel world has beaten all that nonsense out of my brain with bars of iron and wires of barb, and left me bleeding and barfing in a vile ditch, so I should probably not have plucked my old Corgi paperback of Something Wicked out from my most cobwebbed shelf and thought to wander nostalgically recapturing the wonder and enrapturement I once perceived herein. In those faroff days I wanted to be the smile on the bullet, I wante ...more
Nov 24, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: autumn's children
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: my 12 year old self

”Have a drink?”
“I don’t need it,” said Halloway. “But someone inside me does.”
The boy I once was, thought Halloway, who runs like the leaves down the sidewalk autumn nights.


When Ray Bradbury was a boy of 12, he paid a visit to a carnival in his home town. It was there that he saw a performer, Mr. Electrico, sitting in an electric chair where he was charged with fifty thousand volts of pure electricity. Bradbury, seated in the front row, watched as the man’s hair stood on end; he held a
Sep 04, 2012 Carol. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of the Night Circus, Bradbury fans, creepy nostalgia
The Ray Bradbury I remember reading decades ago was not this poetic. Something Wicked was a surprise, his evocative language doing so much to capture the mood of early fall and the seasons of life, both literally and metaphorically. Clearly, he loves words in their many forms. Equally clearly, he is gifted as using those words to create a finely layered tale about two thirteen-year-old boys when the carnival comes to town. These boys are on the brink of change; longing to be older, to do more an ...more
Jun 12, 2007 Brooke rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those reluctant to read classic American lit
Shelves: 2007, classics, own, horror
Leveling any complaints against Bradbury seems like a literary crime, but I'm afraid I didn't enjoy Something Wicked as much I feel like I should have. The plot was really interesting, and right up my alley - evil carnival comes to town and preys on the unsuspecting citizens. The execution, however, left me wanting more.

The first problem is that the prose is a bit outdated. It's like I ran into with The Haunting of Hill House, it just didn't age well over the last 40-50 years. It's not that it d
Oct 09, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing
As I write it has been about a week since Ray Bradbury passed away, as you can expect for such an influential author, numerous tributes are being written by famous authors, celebs, columnists, and of course fans. Instead of adding another drop to the ocean of tributes I would rather pay my own little tribute through rereading and reviewing my favorite Bradbury books. This one is my favorite of them all.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of Bradbury's best-known works. Like Fahrenheit 451 th
Nov 06, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of young adult books and coming-of-age movies is a certain generational disconnect between the protagonist and his forebears. I guess in a lot of ways this is like noticing the absence of Indian food from a French cuisine cookbook, because why would anyone expect otherwise? If a story is to feature the youth perspective, then it should follow logically that his parents’ thoughts, ideas, and motivations factor into the story only peripherally. Right, Mikey? But ...more

Sigh. I hate when this happens. I should have loved the shit out of this book. It's Bradbury, it's vintage horror, it's Stephen King recommended, it's a coming-of-age tale about young boys and a creepy carnival, and it's been on my reading list for years. This book and I should have hit it off like gangbusters. The chemistry should have been overwhelming and indisputable. But we got off to an awkward start. I kept putting it down and picking up other things. Finally, with the day off work, I too
Mike (the Paladin)
One of my favorite "semi-horror" reads. I suppose it could be called "horror" but it doesn't fit neatly into the mold. Like a lot of Bradbury's work the smell of late summer and early fall permeates this volume. The point of view is that of a boy on the brink of manhood as he gets to know more about certain concepts of "good and evil" than he ever really wanted to. I grew up on a farm within walking distance of a small (very small) town and this work hits home with me.

There are books that can b
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The Dark carnival is coming to town.
Two boys and a father are the towns only hope.
If only out of fear you stay home and not go down to the fair ground tonight for the dark man awaits.

Two buddies, boys, they live next to each other and can see each others bedroom window when needed. Friends born two minutes apart, one 1min before midnight October 30th, and the other 1min after midnight, October 31st, Halloween.
I loved the father son relationship in this story between Will and his father Charle
Nov 20, 2013 Eric rated it it was ok
Recommended to Eric by: Megan Mandell
I had an incredibly hard time reading this book, especially considering it's a 300-page linear story about an evil circus coming to a small town. I think it's because -- unlike Fahrenheit 451 -- Bradbury overwrote this book to the point of it being dense poetry rather than prose. The dialogue is sparse and stilted, and the descriptions are never-ending, and hard to follow.

Reading the opening chapter, the language excited me. I falsely assumed it was just being used to set the mood and would tape
Nov 10, 2015 Lyn rated it it was amazing
Mark Twain famously died in 1910 and Ray Bradbury was born ten years later in 1920. And on that day, the shadow of Samuel Clemens touched a mark on the baby’s head, and nearby the shade of Charles Dickens looked on in approval.

Bradbury is the bridge to our past, our bright and strong and colorful past. Twain’s world was as bold as a young America, full of steamboats, and fishing holes and jumping frogs. Bradbury, no less an American, but a resident of the October Country, revealed the long shado
Dirk Grobbelaar
Jan 02, 2015 Dirk Grobbelaar rated it it was amazing
Not a review, really - just some thoughts.

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

Other than being a rather creepy story, this novel is also a lament for the passage of time and the ending of things. Consider Jim Nightshade, who at the age of thirteen, has decided not to ever have children:
‘You don't know until you've had three children and lost all but one.'
'Never going to have any,' said Jim.
'You just say that.'
'I know it. I know everything.'
She waited a moment. 'What do y
Jason Pettus
Jul 09, 2007 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
Ray Bradbury has never sat comfortably in the world of literature, nor with me; considered a "genre writer" by some and meant as an insult, a "serious writer" by others and meant as a compliment, it seems that I am always going back and forth about his merits in my head too, especially the farther away we get from many of the books' original publication dates. That said, how can you not love Something Wicked This Way Comes, which the older it gets the more can actually be appreciated as a histor ...more
Something Wicked This Way Comes: The thrills and terrors of early adulthood (Revised after BookChat at Fantasy Literature and hearing audiobook version):

I didn’t read Ray Bradbury until age 40, so in my critical early years I missed out on his poetic, image-rich, melancholic prose and themes in books like The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit 451, and his short stories. Though I can’t go back in time to rectify this, I am glad I finally took time to explore his world.

I’m sure if I h
Sep 25, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
Bradbury’s famous allegorical novel still packs a punch today. It is a follow up to Dandelion Wine and contains many of the same characters and is based on Bradbury’s own childhood. It tells the story of Jim and Will two boys who live next door to each other and who are almost 14. The Carnival comes to town; only this is no ordinary carnival and there is something sinister about it. It contains a wonderful collection of characters: Mr Dark, who co-runs the carnival who is tattooed all over, Mr C ...more
Aug 05, 2010 Anton rated it did not like it
This book is crap-tastic. The prose is ponderous, self-indulgent and nonsensical, at every opportunity taking turns of phrase so purple and baffling, that I can only understand them as symptomatic of a woefully adolescent conception of what "poetic" or "serious" prose would look like. (I'd insert an example but really I can't face opening the book again to look for one). Probably connected to that, Bradbury's child characters talk and think like world weary 80 year olds. I can't remember the las ...more
Mary Beth
Nov 20, 2015 Mary Beth rated it really liked it
4.5 stars! I really think this book is very good. It is written in prose and is very creepy. Its been a good Halloween read. I'm a little late but still good for the season.
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

A Book Club choice for Halloween; I have read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and enjoyed that well enough. And it's not like he's a bad author - I just simply don't care for this book at all. It wasn't all that scary (maybe a bit creepy). Some good points, but often, the plot just disappears while characters talk about Great Important Things. Also not sure if the Narrator's somewhat sleepy voice just didn't help keep my attention.

Definitely an "It's not you, it's me" type book; I would
Dec 09, 2008 Doug rated it really liked it
...his skin stealing the paleness from his bones... old... older... oldest...

This book deserves a review. I read a couple reviews from some yahoo's on goodread. How can you say anything derogatory about bradbury? One critic asked why can't he just write "he walked down the street" without taking 3 paragraghs to say it? My response is: backhand, fronthand, backhand, fronthand. WHAT!!!??? why didn't Page just strum an A, then D, A and D instead of giving us a minute thirty of pure bliss at the beg
Wowzers! This book has totally blown me away. The poetic, lyrical writing , full of similes and metaphors captured my mind and dreamlike I wandered through a creepy, magical , fantastical, scary carnival world of freeks and carousels, smoke and mirrors and hot air ballons, old men who become boys, a boy who wants to be a man, a loving son, and a wonderful father that I'd compare (in my opinion of his wonderful character) to Atticus Finch.
If you've not read this all I can say is why ever not, if
Nov 16, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
I have been meaning to read this book for a very long time but far too many interesting books have distracted me but no more! I will admit that I struggle at times with Ray Bradbury and his writing style - I know he was seen as one of the pillars of American fantasy/science fiction but I just could not get on with his writing style - (the Illustrated Man still taunts me to this day) but this book actually played to that style and for me made the read all the more enjoyable.

Okay this will not be
Oh Bradbury, why did I take so long to discover you? I could blame the fact that I missed that class in High School where they read Fahrenheit, or I could point to the some four hundred books on my To Be Read Doompile, but they all seem so shallow now. I instantly connected to your style, it was brilliant. I could feel the autumn and October winds drift past me, laden with smells and tastes that are specific to the chilly months in the Midwest. Every word was so beautiful, so evocative, it was a ...more
Edward Lorn
Nov 10, 2015 Edward Lorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52-in-52-2015
This review is for this particular version of the audiobook, the one narrated by Christian Rummel. There's several versions. I will say that this is the best version there is. Stefan Rudnicki's version is terrible, and Kevin Foley's version is only slightly better than boring. Rummel does the best job... but it's still not right.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of those books that needs to be read to be appreciated. I've read the book more than a dozen times, but I've yet to find an audiob
Susan Budd
Oct 08, 2016 Susan Budd rated it it was amazing
The first time I read Something Wicked This Way Comes was in my teens and it didn’t have much of an effect on me. The second time I liked it more, but I still didn’t like it as much as I did this time. And I think I know why. This is an October book. An autumn book. Maybe I couldn’t fully appreciate it until autumn—my autumn, that is. The autumn of my life.

For I was in the spring of my life when I first read it, and a thirty-something on my second reading, but I am in middle age now, so I know
Nov 04, 2010 Regine rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, owned

I realized how completely incomprehensive my first review was, so this is a complete rewrite.


I'm the kind of person that gets into the "spirit" of things. So for October, I decided to read three horror stories: Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (a classic), The Strain (a complete flop for me) and Something Wicked This Way Comes. This book wasn't easy to find. I had to scour around in at least 6 bookstores in the city to find this book. When I finally had it, tucked away in the bottom of my
Jun 05, 2008 Daniel rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
If only I had read "Something Wicked This Way Comes" when I was 12 or 13 years old, I probably would have loved it and been able to reread it nostalgically. Sadly, I came to Ray Bradbury's book for the first time two decades too late.

"Something Wicked"'s main failing, especially to a reader who prefers his writing on the lean side, is its overly purple prose. (A long monologue by one of the book's main characters about "winter people" and "summer people" is particularly hard to take.) The novel'
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
May 31, 2013 Kelly (and the Book Boar) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Jim and Will are average 13 year old boys – best friends and next-door-neighbors who were born a day apart. They each have secret ladders they have managed to build outside of their bedroom windows in order to sneak out for some additional harmless mischief. Harmless, that is, until one September evening when the overwhelming scent of licorice and cotton candy fills the air and signals a carnival is coming to town. Little do the boys know they are about to embark on a journey to save their souls ...more
3.5 stars. I wanted to give this 4 stars but it just didn't quite make it. A good book and worth a read but not Bradbury's best.
Jul 17, 2008 J rated it it was amazing
Authors like Salman Rushdie, I’ve written, are unable to write authentically in the vein of good wholesome simple answer philosophy because they write about complicated moral issues, complicated worlds, complicated resolutions. They deal with a very real world with very real difficulties.

Ray Bradbury is a different kettle of fish entirely. For the most part, Bradbury writes of a simpler moral universe, one in which there is starkly defined good and evil and there are people swayed in one directi
Gary  the Bookworm
Apr 13, 2014 Gary the Bookworm rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-wine-club

“Beware the autumn people. … For some, autumn comes early, stays late, through life … with no winter, spring or revivifying summer. For these beings, fall is the only normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No, the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks through their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between
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American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He bec ...more
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“A stranger is shot in the street, you hardly move to help. But if, half an hour before, you spent just ten minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try to stop it. Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know is bad, or amoral, at least. You can’t act if you don’t know.” 288 likes
“Death doesn't exist. It never did, it never will. But we've drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we've got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.” 257 likes
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