Book review: John Dies at the End by David Wong

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This book is the first horror book I’ve read and it’s most definitely the weirdest book I have ever set my eyes on. John Dies at the End is actually a horror/comedy/sci-fi story and to be very honest, I feel like something might be wrong with me for not being able to stop reading it. Right from the first page, I knew this story was messed up, yet I was compelled to continue reading just to see what was going to happen next. That says a lot about the writing style.

It’s rather difficult to describe or summarize the book. It involves Dave and John, two friends and high-school drop outs that live in a boring (undisclosed) town in the mid-west. They run into a Jamaican drug dealer at a party and that’s when their lives get turned upside down. Anyone that took the drug known as the Soy Sauce, died, but somehow the drug affects Dave and John differently. It gives them the abilities to see horribly scary things and to enter into different worlds. The writer has quite the imagination – you’ve got gruesome, exploding body parts, floating dogs, meat monsters, a man made of cockroaches, shadow people, you get the drift. Some of the scenes are incredibly graphic and disturbing and may even cause sweaty nightmares, but I pushed on. It’s almost impossible not to because while you are turning on the lights in the your house out of fear, you are also laughing out loud. The dialogue between the characters are gut-wrenching funny (or perhaps this book demonstrates how twisted I am). There is so much swearing and I won’t lie, the jokes are often inappropriate and things you’d never say out loud. If someone ever said such things to you in real life, you’d probably be disgusted and appalled, but in the context of the story, it’s just plain hilarious.

If you enjoy fine literature, this is not the book for you. It’s no literary masterpiece – far from it. It can been a little bit disjointed at times, but maybe sci-fi/horror books are like this. Like I said, this is the first of this kind I have read. If you get scared easily, or want to gain some deeper meaning about life, don’t pick this up. This book is for people that love crazy. Character development is very good and part of the reason I was sucked in and always wanting to know what was coming up.

This book is so messed up, it has been described as the closest thing to being on an acid trip without having to deal with the side affects. If you are able to get through it, it’s actually extraordinary. Will I read more books from the horror section now? I probably won’t make trips to that section of the book store often, but if there’s a sequel to this story I would not hesitate to check it out.

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