A stand-alone SF novel.

Publication year: 1962
Format: Audio
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Kevin Foley
Running Time: 8 hrs and 20 minutes

William “Will” Halloway and James “Jim” Nightshade are best friends and live in the Green Town. They meet a lighting rod salesman who predicts that a storm is coming. Sure enough, that same night several men in the village sense that something is coming. They smell cotton candy and licorice in the wind. Then Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show comes to town. At first the boys are eager to explore the carnival’s rides and shows. However, soon they find out that a horrible evil lurks in the carnival wanting to corrupt everyone it meets.

Will and Jim are twelve years old. They run and play in the town and find excuses not to go to school. But when they are faced with the carnival’s evil, they think that they are helpless; they’re just kids in adults’ world and nobody will believe what they say.

In addition to Will and Jim, Will’s father Charles is a major character. He’s a janitor in the library and has a tendency to wax philosophical about life and the nature of good and evil. At first the boys are very reluctant to tell him what is going on, but when they tell Charles, he turns out to be very useful. At the start of the book, Will and Charles aren’t very close; Charles is jealous of Will because of the boy’s youth. But they grow closer during the story.

Bradbury’s writing style is very chatty especially when he describes Charles’ thoughts. This might feel pompous and can slow down the story.

Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the characters at all. Technically, the book is very good but to me it didn’t have any emotional impact.

Foley is mostly a good narrator. Unfortunately, he makes a high, whining voice for the boys and that started to grate on my nerves quickly.