“Will and Jim are two best friends. They do everything together. They run, they joke, they laugh, they talk about growing old together, they live next door to one another...and one night, a few days before Halloween, they see a carnival coming to town. This is late in the year for a carnival and curiosity gets the best of them. They sneak out of their homes at 3 in the morning to watch the carnival train set up. There they see an evil they’ve never encountered before. A merry-go-round that spins backwards, that can make people younger, but what is it taking in return? And they meet the Illustrated Man, the eerie Mr. Dark, who runs the carnival that seems to be after more than just entertaining the folks in their town. However, while Will is obviously terrified by what is going on, Jim is intrigued. Thus starts the adventure and the boys, on the verge of their fourteenth birthdays, have to run and hide for their lives. Because the carnival is after them. And Will has to fight to keep his best friend from joining the mysterious sideshow.
The plot and the theme of the novel are immensely interesting. As it got going I found myself more dragged into the story and the lessons learned, especially as set forth by Will’s father, Charles Halloway. He was perhaps the most interesting character in the book in my opinion, as a man thinking he was too old to be a father but then realizing his strengths as the novel went on. And also, even for a young adult story, it was pretty scary at times. Those carnival “creatures” could be pretty creepy. And Mr. Dark was a truly evil character. I honestly never thought the book would scare me as much as it did.
The only negatives were that it was written in such a way that it was really hard to get into. I don’t really know how to describe this style of writing but the prose jumped around a lot with it’s descriptions. I mean, it was very vividly described but sometimes so much that I couldn’t exactly understand what was going on. Like it was taken a bit too far. It took me a long time to get the hang of the book, like until I was already half way through with it. But it was a very rewarding read in the end. ”
llevinso wrote this review Tuesday, July 31, 2012.