Something Wicked This Way Comes. I really enjoyed this book, ultimately, even though I found the opening 100 pages a bit heavy on the golden-days-of-our-youth nostalgia trip. As I progressed, it became evident that it was all there for story purposes, and as such, it's essential. I've never much liked Bradbury the writer, based off of 451 and a couple short story collections. He's obviously a terrific storyteller, and the plots are often gangbusters, but I've just never been particularly enamored of his prose. This changed me on that pretty quick, as the writing is lovely and evocative.
The entire middle section of the book, the bulk of it, really, is pure awesome. Once the focus shifts away from the boys and onto it's real representations of light and dark, Charles Holloway and the Illustrated Man, the narrative kicks in and races like a train. Even the lengthy philosophical suppositions are riveting. Two faceoff sequences, the one during the parade and the library showdown, are easily the best stuff I've ever read from Bradbury. He really makes Mr. Dark, who could easily have been a rote embodiment of evil, into a remarkably interesting villain. I want to rent the movie now, even though I doubt very much it's any good, just to see Jonathan Pryce's take on the role.
The final fifty pages work fine, but after the buildup to an elemental Good vs Evil climax, it feels a bit soft for [SPOILERS] Mr. Dark to turn himself into a 9 year old and get hugged to death. I get why, and I understand the thematic purpose, but it's soft. I would maybe have preferred the power of positive thinking to be slightly more subtextual. But regardless, it more or less lives up to the phrase on the cover, "The incomprable masterwork of the dark fantastic", and that's really saying something.
Next up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I've got a bad feeling about it. Wish me luck!