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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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition and published her first book, 'Merry Bloody Christmas: A Short Story Collection'. You can often find her hanging out on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott), or hibernating on her sofa with a book and a very large glass of gin.

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