Will McGee's Reviews > John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End by David Wong
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's review
Nov 13, 11

really liked it

If I could give this book 3 1/2 stars I would, since I did have some problems with it even if I did enjoy overall the experience of reading John Dies at the End.

The book is funny and entertaining, and I really like the idea of two Midwestern buddies battling Lovecraftian evil while making dick jokes--and a lot of the plot reminded me of the fun, episodic randomness of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I will definitely be reading the sequel. However, my main problem is the way the supernatural is handled. The supernatural is, by definition, unexplained--but some parts of this book are too unexplained, to the point that they're not scary; they're just baffling or weird just for the sake of being weird. For example, characters, and a pretty awesome dog, are seemingly killed, only to reappear later in the book. Sometimes, this is a cause for concern, as the undead usually are in horror novels--but then other times, it's not. The narrator's reacts in those latter cases with basically a shrug and "Eh, weird, but what you gonna do?" And then in one of the biggest twists, a character is revealed to be not human but monster--and even though everyone is concerned for what this means, this character continues acting just like he or she did when he or she was presumed to be human. So what's the point of the reveal then?

But maybe asking that question is missing the point? If someone were to read Hitchhiker's Guide and ask, "If you're going to make a robot with a personality, why would you give it such a depressed personality," I'd say they're missing the point. But that book was brief, barely 200 pages. John is close to 500, so maybe I felt that after investing all that time, I needed more than just, "It's just supposed to be funny--don't worry about it."

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