John Dies at the End by David Wong | Book Review

John Dies at the End by David Wong book cover

I tried to explain John Dies at the End to my husband by describing it as “The Hitckhikers Guide to The Galaxy but with horror instead of sci-fi and way more fucked up,” and I’ll stand by that statement for this review.

The book is a comic horror novel about two friends – Dave and John – who stumble upon some bizarre supernatural shit and get dragged into saving the world. Protagonist Dave tries to describe the saga to a cynical journalist, but his sarcastic tone and habit for bending the truth leave the journalist – and the reader – wondering which crazy parts of the tale are really true.

I should probably try to summarise the twisty, turny, weird-as-hell, action-packed plot, but it’s too complicated and I’m kind of still reeling from the madness of it, so I won’t bother. And anyway, I had literally no knowledge of the plot going in and I think my experience of the book was all the better for it. It has creepy meat monsters, a drug known as Soy Sauce, exploding people and dogs, a load of terrifying creepy crawlies, and more references to penises than I can count. If that doesn’t make you want to read it then… well, I guess it’s probably one you should skip.

Honestly, it’s a ridiculous story but in the best way possible. Dave’s first-person narration is endlessly funny. The freakish, spliced-together creatures that crop up along the way are both hilarious and terrifying. The plot is pacey and gripping. And Dave and John are really entertaining characters; think of them as the American version of Mark and Jez from Peep Show if they were thrown into a supernatural nightmare, and you’ll be close.

Basically, it’s just a whole lot of fun. It was a perfect read for the spooky season. It’s probably not for everyone… but if you like comedy and you like horror, I think you’ll get on with John Dies at the End pretty well.

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