Something Wicked This Way Comes
by Ray Bradbury
reviewed by Kiran Pfaffinger
In the horror novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, author Ray Bradbury weaves a complex tale of suspense and fright. The tome begins with young Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway at 13 years old; these two boys have a very peculiar relationship as is shown at the beginning of the novel. As friends go, they are seemingly the closest; it even goes as far as them being born only two minutes apart from each other. Will being born a minute before midnight, and Jim, a minute after midnight. Early on, the fact that they are polar opposites is very clear; while Jim has dark hair, Will has bleach blonde. Even their personalities are completely conflicting. While Jim is wild and ‘doesn’t think before he does’, Will is methodical and planned out; this causes problems later in the book. They have lived in peaceful friendship for what seems like forever; that is until a mysterious circus rolls into town bringing with it a man named Mr. Dark and a sense of horror. Mr. Dark is a man who slides through life giving everyone he meets a feeling of foreboding. He is encompassed in tattoos from everywhere on his body, and evil slithers along with each ink line or shape.
Mysterious happenings are abounding the second that the carnival rolls into town, causing rifts in friendships that were long since strong, horrifying happenings, and even death. The two boys have to try to unravel the mystery of Mr. Dark, without unraveling themselves in the process. Will they succeed and come out victorious or will the sinister Mr. Dark and his ‘freaks’ destroy the fragile reality of their seemingly picturesque lives?
Ray Bradbury tells the story of Will and Jim by using beautifully blended figurative language. He weaves a web of mystery and tension with every adjective and perfectly placed thought that these deep characters have. The way that Bradbury shows every different layer to even his small characters absolutely astounding.