John Dies at the End by David Wong
Titan Books: paperback published 2011: 466 pages
• You should not have touched this book 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 very dark epoch the world is about to enter as a result, it is crucial you keep one thing in mind:
NONE OF THIS IS MY FAULT.
If you can’t tell from the blurb, this book is darkly hilarious. It’s like the book offspring of a humorous episode of Supernatural and a Quentin Tarantino film… if Quentin Tarantino did films of trans-dimensional meat monsters. If you’re of a delicate nature, perhaps this book isn’t for you – there’s a lot of guts, blood and poo. And a bit more blood. And poo. And a dash more guts.
It’s one of those books that you certainly know what to expect, and for the most part get it – but then the ending does something different to what you were expecting. This is no bad thing! It is sharp wit, gruesome horror, and rip-roaring adventure all in one. The characters are believeable and loveable, and the scenarios are both tense and satisfying. And the ending is a decent ending (for once), that leaves you wondering if there’s more (check out the website here when you read it and, like me, need to know more!)
If I could say more about this book, I would. But I simply can’t give it away.
The only thing I would say is that I struggled with the switches between times (not dimensions). At the beginning, you’re in the present, so to speak. Then you’re having a story-within-a-story as David Wong tells his tale and its inherent adventures to a journalist. Then you’re back to the present as David finishes his story to the journalist and continues with his life. But the first “present” bit is not necessarily in a linear pattern to the series of adventures in between, or even the rest of David’s tale. So you have to bear with it a bit. But then you’re inevitably going to get confused between times and dimensions and so on with this story… and I’m giving too much away.
Take note of everything – every detail (even the bratwurst), because it’s all important. It’s like a Poirot – it’s always going to be the bit you didn’t notice that answers all the questions.
Next Book: This was the other half of the buy-one-get-one-half-price in Waterstones with John Dies at the End. I picked it up because I loved the cover and the title, and then fell in love with the blurb. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson is a Swedish translation and seems both sweet and humorous.