Something Wicked This Way Comes tells a beautiful allegory wrapped in a delightful dark fairytale.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is a dark fairytale coming-of-age story that contains lots of themes, symbolism, and poetic texts, that will entice and enchant the reader. With great rhythm, metaphors, humor, and creepiness, a wonderful tale of growing up and growing old is told in a magical way. It’s an allegory about aging and what that means or doesn’t have to mean. Metaphors are woven into an epic battle between good and evil to tell a wonderful tale that will speak to imaginative people of all ages and who haven’t lost or refuse to lose their inner child.
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Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are best friends since they were born 13 years ago. They live next door to each other and Will follows Jim like he’s his shadow. It’s almost Halloween when a Carnival arrives in the dead of night. It’s a mysterious Carnival owned by the evenly mysterious Mr Dark. He brings with him a scary Mr Cooger, a harrowing witch and a magical carousel. But the Carnival is bad news for the townspeople and the tight relationship between Jim and Will. But it also affects the relationship between Will and his elderly father Charles. They have to stand up to Mr Dark in an epic battle between good and evil and they all have to come to terms of becoming older.
Why you should read it
Something Wicked This Way Comes is a wonderful read for both children and adults. It’s a story about facing reality, about wanting to grow up too fast, leaving childhood behind and about the fear of growing old. Each theme is represented by the three main characters, Will, Jim and Charles respectively and what that means in this particular story. Both boys are at an age that relationships are bound to change. Will and Jim won’t be best friends forever. And Will and Charles won’t be the son and father they are now, their relationship will change as well. Each one of them has different fears that are taken advantage of by Mr Dark.
This story is an allegory of life, of growing up and growing older. While each main character is a unique person, they can also be seen as a part of one big story, one person’s life, fears, and thoughts. Will isn’t afraid to grow up, or to grow older and accepts this as the way life is. His rite of passage feels the most natural. He also accepts that things are about to change and that his father who’s older than most fathers will grow old. Jim can’t wait to be a grown-up to explore the world and take full part in it. While Jim and Will might be counterparts, they can also be seen as two different parts of one person. Jim therefore can be seen as another side of Will, the one that is hidden deep inside of him. It’s the part of him, that he is always following on a subconscious level. The story is also told from Will’s or Charles’ perspective, never from Jim’s perspective, which is another argument that while he is a character, he’s also a metaphor.
Charles Halloway is 54 but he feels he is much older. He has given up hope to feel young again, despite the fact he has a young son. In fact Will makes him feel even older and he is faced with being young everyday. He wants to run and play with him. Jim ahead, Will following and Charles behind them.
The writing style is beautiful. It is poetic, rhythmical, philosophical and full fo contemplations, mostly from Charles. The poetry, the metaphors, the symbolism, all come together in the themes that are represented by the three characters. It’s a beautiful wonderful nostalgic story about a bond between a father and son, two boys growing up and how all that is about to change. It’s therefore very melancholic, but never in a sad way, hope always shines through the pages.
But this rite of passage isn’t the only element of the story. The Carnival of Mr Dark isn’t a mere device to push the plot forwards and underline the themes. It’s a story all by itself that is threatening, adventurous and exciting. Mr Dark plays on the fears and wishes of the townspeople to feed on their souls. He and his partner Mr Cooger and the witch make up for many frightening scenes that bring in a lot of magical scares, real horrors and wonderful events.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is a wonderful story that combines realism with magical realism with fantasy and horror elements that turns this journey of life into an allegorical dark fairytale that will speak to the imagination.
My favorite part
I loved the bond between Will and Charles. Especially Charles’ thoughts and contemplations stand out and tell a compelling but also a bit heartbreaking story. But while he almost has lost hope, this tale is full of hope and gives it back to him, with joy and laughter. The heavy themes are brought with lightness and hope and it can only end with good defeating evil. This book is such a gem, that every bit is a joy to read. The way it is written, told and how it unfolds brings joy and warmth to your heart.
A favorite quote
‘And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smokey-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners. But one strange wild dark long year, Halloween came early.’
Thrill factor: ★★★☆☆
Surreal factor: ★★★★☆
Nostalgic factor: ★★★★★
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Read more about Something Wicked This Way Comes:
Something Wicked This Way Comes is written by Ray Bradbury and first published in 1962. It consists of 263 pages.