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.
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"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.
"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.
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"Fun, Frightfully Fun"
Fun, Frightfully Fun
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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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"An eerie tale for autumn"
Perhaps my biggest mistake was listening to this at the beginning of summer. Bradbury laces this novel with the nostalgic eeriness of fall and, as such, it has a very particular time and place. It seemed discordant with sunny weather and beaches and would have been better enjoyed with a crisp chill to the air.
The story dwells in the uncanny as a strange circus comes to town and interrupts the lives of two young boys desperate for adventure. Bradbury wields his storytelling talents masterfully as he lays ominous and unsettling groundwork. Part mystery and part horror, as always with Bradbury there is enough substance, philosophy, and sincerity to the text to keep it relevant.
Bradbury's tale of an upside world show him at his playful best. He relishes the language as he chews through alliteration and sometimes ventures into indulgent territory. However, this still remains a fine tale for those looking to get into the fall spirit.
"This book gave me nightmares!!"
A delight of fright! I could not stop listening to this book. A timeless story of lasting friendship and the enduring love of a father.
"THEY EAT THE DARK"
A SHADOW BEHIND A SHADOW
This is very hard to review. The basic story is creepy. No one is better at bringing back memories of preteen small town life. The problem is wading through all the descriptive language. I am not into poetry and this reads like a eight hour poem. I agree with one reviewer, my sophomore creative writing teacher would have graded me down for too much descriptive flowery language. You know your taste, base it on how much you like poetry.
WHY SPEAK OF TIME WHEN YOU ARE TIME
Christian Rummel does a fantastic job, I love his work.
I'M REAL, YOUR NOT
"It's all good"
The story was eerie, the delivery was perfect, wouldn't change a thing. Perfect as is.
"more for reading visually than in audio"
I found the story too meandering to follow well in this form. The narrator didn't particularly help, but he did suit the story.
"Not for me"
Gave the book a try as it is not the usual book I would listen to. I give up on chapter twenty eight. The book never gripped me and I was disappointed with it.
I would listen to another book by this narrator.
"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.
"Classic story standing the test of time"
I found the story very entertaining, especially given the age the book still seem fresh and gripping, slightly spooky, but I still managed to listen while walking the dog at night
"Not my cup of tea"
Really not enjoying this at all. A bad choice for me not keen on the narrator or the story.
"So much better than the film"
Very enjoyable and dark at times. Amazing writing - paints a vivid picture.
Film dismal in comparison.
kept going back to this book when i had nothing else, didnt like it much,
Narrator does a brilliant job conveying each of the characters in this classic Bradbury chiller.
"A Little Disappointing"
It must be me because everybody else has been raving about this book, but I was underwhelmed. I liked the idea but found the language and the way characters accept and explain what is happening (as well as behave) unbelievable. A few creepy moments but I was looking forward to it ending.
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