February 6, 2012
Science Fiction Review: John Dies at the End
Genre: Science Fiction, Humor, Horror
John and David end up working as reluctant paranormal investigators after a crazy, homicidal trip to Las Vegas. Apparently these freaky fiends never got the memo on shit staying in Vegas.
What can I say to you about JDATE? Yes, my brother and I found out that the abbreviation for the title spells out the name of the illustrious Jewish dating site. Coincidence? I think not. This book is one hilariously zany, hellish ride from cover to cover. I spouted off lines constantly to friends and family, who had no idea what I was talking about, before I realized, you really just had to be there. This was the most I've laughed at a book in probably EVER.
John Dies at the End seamlessly combines horror and humor with just the right amount of mind-fuckery to keep masochistic readers like myself interested. The monsters are often remembered by their biggest lines and catch phrases, i..e. the monster made of meat, "So, we MEAT again!" Yes, a bit cheesy, but the timing and follow up were flawless making this a crack up instead of a fail.
The character were my favorite part of this book. David is the reliable narrator, the kind of guy you can trust and relate to. You want good things to happen for Dave. Now...John is, well, a bit off his rocker, but you love him for it. With absolutely some of the best lines in the book John very seldom makes sense, but I think if he did, we would all be doomed anyway. The character that surprised me the most was Amy. She really isn't an important character until near the end, and her development completely surprises you. I loved this about her and felt the way the author takes her from one end of the spectrum to the other perfectly reflects the way people's preconceptions can completely distort the image of who that person really is. Well done.
So why you may ask, did I give it a 4 out of 5 if I loved it so much? Here's the thing. Regardless of the wonderfully screwball humor and creepy horror elements, Wong, who is actually the main character of the book, jumps his reader around so much that it seems there is no plot at all until the end of the book when it all comes together. After the trip to Vegas, my pace of reading slowed down quite a bit as David and the crew settle back into their normal lives, only to be shoved back out of it a chapter or so later. That wouldn't be so bad if the chapters weren't so long at this point in the book. Little details that absolutely made the book 50 pages ago, just slow the entire thing down and make a great read a bit tedious.
However, once it picks back up, the book doesn't let go until the last chapter, which plays a bit like the end of the last LOTR movie Return of the King. You keep thinking "Wow that was great!" and stand up when the screen blacks out only to sit back down again when a new scene opens up to let you know more about where the characters are going from here. A bit frustrating, but worthwhile to say you experienced the whole book.
So, does John Die at the End? I guess you'll have to read and find out!
Recommendation: I would suggest reading this book if you are into campy, bizarre humor. If you are a horror fan, please give this a try while attempting to not take yourself too seriously because trust me, this book doesn't. You will get your fair share of gore and gross out moments, usually accompanied by a one-liner.