Review: John Dies at the End by David Wong (Spoiler Free)

October 21, 2012     The Bluestocking Bookworm     Books, Books I've Read, Random Thoughts, Reading, Reviews

John Dies at the End by David Wong
Read: October 12 – October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover (library book), 378 pages
ISBN: 978-0-312-55513-9

Publisher: Thomas Dunne, 2009

Book club selection (horror genre)

Book Blurb: STOP.
*You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands.
*NO, don’t put it down. It’s too late.
*They’re watching you.

My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours.

You may not want to know about the things you’ll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it’s too late. You touched the book. You’re in the game. You’re under the eye.

The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why? You just have to trust me.

The important thing is this:
*The drug is called Soy Sauce and it gives users a window into another dimension.
*John and I never had the chance to say no.
*You still do.

Unfortunately for us, if you make the right choice, we’ll have a much harder time explaining how to fight off the otherworldly invasion currently threatening to enslave humanity.

I’m sorry to have involved you in this, I really am. But as you read about these terrible events and the very dark epoch the world is about to enter as a result, it is crucial you keep one thing in mind:

None of this was my fault.

My Opinion: John Dies at the End is a ridiculous, juvenile, completely messed up trip through the horror genre, with a little stop in the science fiction genre for good measure. David Wong completely acknowledges this with every turn. And so, since the book doesn’t take itself too seriously, it works.

Is John Dies at the End the most magnificent thing I have ever read? No. Far from it. I spent a lot of the book just trying to figure out what the heck was going on among all the phallus jokes. There is a plot buried deeply there. It is hard to follow, and not really all that great. I didn’t find myself really feeling anything for any of the characters save Amy. I really liked her. Maybe it is because I am also a chronic pain sufferer… maybe it is because David Wong did a good job of writing her as a tortured character. Either way. She worked.

John Dies at the End is, in short, a mess. There is so much going on that doesn’t get wrapped up. The horror is about as gory as written horror can be (at least, I haven’t seen much worse than this…).

By the way, David Wong is not the author’s real name. Jason Pargin is. He is an online humorist, and according to the book jacket, editor in chief of cracked.com. Which kind of explains a lot. John Dies at the End is written very similarly to how you would expect someone who writes online satire to write a novel.

I am going around in circles because there isn’t much more to say.

Bottom Line: If you like juvenile humor with an emphasis on the phallus, gory horror that is at best creepy, and a plot that essentially runs in circles without going anywhere… this is the book for you. I am not trying to come down too hard on this book, because really… it works in some cases. Sometimes this book worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

Talk bookish to me!