One that has been sitting on my wishlist for a while, and thanks to the recent site-wide sale at Audible, I grabbed Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury for about two bucks. Horror, dark fantasy, mystery, or coming-of-age classic, it’s hard to pin it down to a specific genre. It does start off slow, and actually thinking back, it slow-burns for most of the book, but it picks up where it needs to at the end.
Set in the quintessentially 1950s small American town, the story revolves around two best friends, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade; two young boys as thick as thieves. One night, they watch as a sinister-looking carnival rolls into town. Is it evil? Was it just the lateness of the hour?
The carnival preys upon the secret desires and fears of the townspeople and grants some of them their deepest wishes at a terrible cost. Will and Jim find themselves in the thick of it, seemingly the only people who recognise that something’s amiss.
As stated up top, the pacing of the book is a bit of a slow burn. The writing is deliberate in its intensity, lyrical almost, as Bradbury paints the picture with richly immersive detail. So it’s to be expected that the pacing would be slower because of this.
The speed at which narrator Christian Rummel read didn’t help the sense of slow pacing. Rummel’s reading at an almost unnaturally slow pace, I found I had to increase the playback speed beyond where I normally would have it set. Characterisations were okay, and I think his tone suited the work. No technical or production issues that I made a note of.
Will I revisit this? Unlikely, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s gothic horror, then this one that came before will likely be for you.