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Summary

Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and mind as has this one - Ray Bradbury's incomparable masterwork of the dark fantastic.

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.

©1962 Ray Bradbury (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Something Wicked This Way Comes

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    4 out of 5 stars

A classic Bradbury long story, great narrator

I've read this twice before and it's a great tale filled with images of years behind us. The narrator improved upon it and revealed aspects that I'd not noticed before.

4 people found this helpful

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Loved it - great ideas, excellent images

Really enjoyable exploration of a father/son relationship and the relationship between 2 pre-teens and the path laid out for us/them from our early days. Clever, insightful and while not a brilliant as Fahrenheit 451, is is still very much worth your time.

3 people found this helpful

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Ok, but dragged a bit at the end

This one goes on the OK pile and for me it was a low-3 rating.

Liked the general concept and it started well, but towards the end I felt that it started to stand on ceremony a bit and the only things missing were violins and French horns. It also started to drag a bit and too many words were used.

4 people found this helpful

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A chore. Very Disappointing.

I thought I'd love this. The premise sounds great, and I know it's entertained and inspired generations - including big literary names - but I just really can't see why.

The prose is overly poetic and sludgy, and the characters mostly fail to feel real or spark interest. The plot, beyond the rough premise, seems underdeveloped. The "dreams" that the carnival can offer are in almost every case actually just one dream - the ability to changd your age. Conclusions the characters come to seem to be based on nothing, and the victories they win over the villains often seem like nearly random acts rather than well-thought-out plans - that they still seem to put faith in. It has a children's fable feel to it, but even old fables have fewer plot holes.

The reader does an okay job with the text, aside from the way the children's loud-scared-whisper voices quickly become irritating.

1 person found this helpful

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By the pricking of my thumbs etc

This is essentially a children's adventure fantasy horror book for reading age of twelve and above I'd say. One thing it does show is that it is possible to write a decent horror without it descending in the boring unnecessary pornography which usually does nothing to enhance the quality of the book and might even diminish it. The plot is good no boring bits. It's tense and full of suspense. The natation is good the characters easy to distinguish. I'd share this book with any teenager or even an adult since it is a cross over book. I liked it just because it was all it said it was and nothing more. Not sure about the ending but then it is a children's book.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

A great presentation of a great story. Beautifully read with feeling and good characterization. In Mr Holloway, Bradbury has created a character that matches the goodness of Dicken’s John Jarndyce.

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Beware the Autumn people...

"Something Wicked..." is my absolute favourite Ray Bradbury novel, and in fact is among my Top Ten all-time favourite novels, and a rare five star rated experience.

This is the first time, after innumerable readings of the book, that I've listened to an Audible version, and despite a few issues with (I think) my Kindle Fire chopping off a couple of syllables at the beginning of lines and sentences, I have no quarrel with the narrator. In fact, sitting back and letting the wonderful prose wash over and through me has, if possible, made me appreciate the novel even more than before. Would give it six stars if I could, it's that exceptional!

At bottom, "Something Wicked..." is a deceptively simple story - sinister carnival comes to small town, two local boys get caught up in, and try to prevent, the evil bad guys from winning - yet just behind and between the simplicity, it's as you 'd expect for a discourse on human frailty and, humanity's desires and weaknesses.

The language flows, rich and golden like flowing poetry, but employs enough narrative restraint so it never slips or slides into pomposity, bombast or pretension... And wow does it evoke atmosphere?! From the oncoming storm, and the seller of lightning rods, and the distant, summoning train whistle and far away music from the discordant caliope...to the empty, silent night-time library it never falters nor misses a step.

I really cannot recommend this classic story, and this Audible version of it, unabridged, thank the lord, highly enough. A treasure at twice the price. Buy it, and you'll be glad you did.

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Great narration

Fantastic narration but I found the story itself a little overlong. It's a shame as the writing is beautiful.

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The quintessential novel

There are few writers, few novels that by simply lending you their perspective to view from will impact how you observe the world on such a fundamental, everyday level. He tightly weaves beauty into every line.

The performance was excellent with only very minor critiques that I will not point out as they seemed unique to my own typically fussy distaste. There is little doubt that I will listen to it again. Highly recommend.

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Old-fashioned

This classic tale of Bradbury's is an original idea for a scary story and it certainly has an atmosphere and some memorable moments. However, Bradbury is far too obsessed with his own prose to create a truly gripping novel. It moves at a snail's pace. The narrator has the perfect voice for this kind of book. He makes the prose and the dialogue sound the way I imagine it did in the author's own head.

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  • Andre
  • 23-10-15

Fun, Frightfully Fun

If you could sum up Something Wicked This Way Comes in three words, what would they be?

Fun, Frightfully Fun

What was one of the most memorable moments of Something Wicked This Way Comes?

The relationship between Will and his father Charles Halloway. Usually in teen horror books, the parents are either absent or inconsequential, mean, or foolish. Here, Bradbury wrote the strongest parent and child relationship since Scout and Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mocking Bird." Mr. Halloway is strong and intuitive, sad and adventuresome. I wish I had a dad like him.

Which scene was your favorite?

The library scene in which Mr. Dark and his minions search for Will and Jim. Narrator Christian Rummel relished performing evil incarnate with purrs and growls. I was on the edge of my seat.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Cry no, but laugh sometimes. It was a knowing laugh of remembering how it was like to be a kid. This book thrilled and chilled me.

Any additional comments?

I had met Ray Bradbury a couple of times to sign other books. I wish I had read this one so I could have asked him questions about it. He is a skilled writer of the highest order and his writing references the greatest books in literature. This shows that like Mr. Halloway, he invested a lot of time in the library.

Audible did a fantastic job with this polished production. I will read more.

57 people found this helpful

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  • Midwestbonsai
  • 14-11-14

It's so creepy

I've never read Ray Bradbury before. I don't even know why. I just never got around to him. I'm so excited that I was finally able to listen to this one because it is fantastic from beginning to end!

This story is about two boys and one of them is intriuged by the carnival and all that a carnival brings while the other is able to see through the glimmer. It's so creepy that I honestly wasn't sure when I should absolutely feel creep-ed out because I was just thinking everyone was a part of the carnival. That is easily recognizable about halfway through the story though. The boys, who are so much alike, start to really differ in what they want also.

The audio was really pleasing. I loved the narrator, Christian Rummel. He has a way of making you want to listen. Although between the fabulous narration and fantastic writing there is no way I wanted this to come to a stop! The audio was very well done and I think this is definitely one where the audio enhanced the book. I could easily tell the characters apart but Christian Rummel just made the very eerie world come to life. There were times when over emphasizing was needed and Christian nailed it. There were also a lot of really strange parts, where one of the dads is just cracking up like he's mad and that scene was done so well. As were all of them really.

The characters in both the narration and the book were very well developed. These are not villains that I grew to love. Ray Bradbury had a way of really emphasizing the evil behind the mask, and he does it so well here. I also really enjoyed the story's progression. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

This was my first but definitely not my last Ray Bradbury. I now see why so many are in love with his writing.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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224 people found this helpful

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  • AudioAddict
  • 24-10-15

Brilliant language and awesome performance but ...

STORY (eerie classic) - This story is set in a small town in Illinois sometime in the 50's or 60's. The main characters, Will and Jim, are about 13. When a carnival run by "night people" comes into town, they become entwined with dark characters and sinister occurrences. There is an evil illustrated man, a dust witch, freaks, etc. A big part of the story revolves around a merry-go-round which plays the Death March for music. When the music plays, a rider will get older and approach death. If the music plays backwards, the rider becomes younger. This creates some very interesting situations!

This is my first Bradbury book and, wow, can he slap together a sentence! My 8th grade English Lit teacher would have names for this kind of writing, but all I can say is it's very descriptive. I enjoyed it immensely...to a point. After a couple hours I got tired of distilling actions from the long sentences. I also got tired of meandering around in the adventures of the young boys. Reminded me a little bit of Huckleberry Finn but in a sinister setting. It was enjoyable, but a little too much of a good thing for this listener.

PERFORMANCE - Wow. Double wow! I love Christian Rummel's voice in The Lost Fleet series. He could read the phone book and make it sound sexy. But this book really showcases his talent. His performance takes Bradbury's language and conjures incredibly wicked images.

OVERALL - This would make a good Halloween listen. It's not scary, but it's very eerie and sinister. I urge you to listen to the sample to hear the quality of the writing and the performance. There's no sex, bad language or gore, but there are ugly characters and very weird situations. Recommended for mature male or female listeners only, due to the advanced language.

91 people found this helpful

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  • Calico Pete
  • 08-12-15

Wonderful tale of dark fantasy

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely! A classic masterpiece! This is one of my all time favourite audiobooks - a fabulous story written in a beautiful, lyrical style full of genuine moments of true horror, edge of your seat, nail- biting suspense, wonderfully drawn characters and the exploration of good and evil.

Who was your favorite character and why?

William Halloway - an inspiring everyman hero facing impossible odds.

What does Christian Rummel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr Rummel brings this book to life and illustrates perfectly how some books absolutely shine in audio form creating a far more powerful experience than in written or even movie form.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - definitely although I did need to come up for air after some scenes - ended up reading it in three sitting over three days. This will be an audiobook that I listen to again.

Any additional comments?

Please don't deprive yourself of the pure pleasure and delight of this audiobook.

8 people found this helpful

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  • StudioPeg
  • 07-03-15

Narrated brilliantly

I've had this book since I was a kid. Spooky story written as only Ray Bradbury can. But to date this is my favorite narrated. He puts so much into each character. Brilliantly narrated. Loved it.

35 people found this helpful

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  • J.G. Brandt
  • 25-04-16

Good Story, Poor Narration

What would have made Something Wicked This Way Comes better?

This was honestly a very intriguing story. It really had me involved and wondering, "what will happen next?" The main problem with this was the narration. The voices were whiny, high pitched, and detracted from the main story. I think this would have been better to just read in a paperback format or perhaps look for an edition with a different narrator. I really like the author and his style of writing.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I thought the ending was pretty ok. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

How could the performance have been better?

Maybe not so whiny? Maybe a different narrator?

What character would you cut from Something Wicked This Way Comes?

I don't think I would cut anyone, the characters weren't the problem. It was the narrators portrayal of their voices that detoured from the main attraction.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • 31-05-15

It was October, a Rare Month for Boys . . .

Long before the haunted and haunting horror of Stephen King's carnies and rides of "Joyland" (2014), the electrical magic of Charles Jacobs in "Revival" (2014), the fear engendered by a single stray balloon in "It" (1986), and even the dark enchantment of Leland Gaunt of "Needful Things" (1991), there was Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (1962). Bradbury's Will Halloway and his father, Charles Halloway; Will's best friend, Jim Nightshade; and Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, are the literary kith and kin of some of King's most memorable characters.

Bradbury (1920 - 2012) was a fixture of the Los Angeles literary scene for more than half a century - and yes, scratch the Hollywood silver plate and glitter and you'll find the best. He dedicated my small town's new library in 2009, and people still talk about that. I remember seeing Bradbury walking by at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books one year. I stopped dead in my tracks in the hot sun, one kid in a stroller and the other tugging at my hand, wanting to go see Barney. I was awestruck knowing that they were just feet away from one of the greatest writers ever. It's Los Angeles, and the polite thing to do is ignore the A-list movie star/director at In-and-Out Burger, but seeing Bradbury left me speechless. I didn't have the nerve to stop him and ask him to pose for a picture with kids and my really neat new camera that was digital - can you believe it? - digital.

Bradbury's especially lyrical in "Something Wicked This Way Comes." I've re-read the book at least every decade since I was a teenager, and this time, I realized its better as a listen than as a read. Take this quote, for example,"The train skimmed on softly, slithering, black pennants fluttering, black confetti lost on its own sick-sweet candy wind, down the hill, with the two boys pursuing, the air was so cold they ate ice cream with each breath." Christian Rummel's performance makes a passage that's a bit of a non sequitur as a straight read into frightening poetry as chilling as Pulitzer Prize winning poet Wallace Stevens' (1879-1955) "The Emperor of Ice Cream" (1922). Bradbury was so prolific and so influential for his other works - like the dystopian Fahrenheit 451 (1953) - that his sheer elegant craftsmanship in fantasy/horror is sometimes overlooked. One of my favorite characters is Charles Holloway, the heroic father who worked as a janitor at the town library so he could spend his insomniac nights reading.

This is a great performance of a great work.

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111 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Nelson
  • 12-02-15

Thrilling and with the usual Bradbury subtext

This book was captivating and unnerving. Initially I was concerned that I stumbled into an adolescent novel, however once the subtext came blaring through the intense descriptions that I expect from Bradbury, I was put at ease.

Overall a captivating novel with an amazing performance by Rummel.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Donna
  • 07-12-15

Almost Didn't Listen

The narration almost stopped me in my tracks of beginning this book. It was too dramatic...until I gave it a chance, as I tried to remember what caught me and urged me to buy this book. My first experience reading Ray Bradbury. Then I remembered the fact that the boys were born a day apart (one the day before Halloween and the other on Halloween) and they lived next to each other. Then I got used to the voice and found it fit perfectly reading the poetic verse of Mr. Bradbury. Found much meaning - will reread sometime, I am sure I didn't get it all. Christian Rummel knows how to read/narrate this book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mika Sorvari
  • 15-08-17

A Wonderful Classic

It had been years since I had read this book, and somehow I had managed to forget how utterly brilliant it is. Rummel's reading of it brought back every ounce of its greatness to me.

This story of two small-town boys - one light, one dark - is a classic tale of the weird, a masterpiece in its poetic but intense use of the English language. I think Bradbury came up with most of the metaphors in there himself, and they all strike clear and specific notes.

Rummel is great as the reader, perfectly capturing the wonder of the boys, and the world-weariness of the older-than-most father. He matches the language with real passion without getting silly about it.

There's just nothing bad I can say about this one. Both the book and the performance are of the highest quality, and I can not recommend them enough.

3 people found this helpful