Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End by David Wong
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Mar 07, 2012

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bookshelves: horror, urban-fantasy

I finished this book a couple of nights ago. As a side note I'm almost halfway through a book titled The Rook. Reading these books back to back, I've got to ask...am I the only person left in the world who doesn't use the great English "f" word (f**k) as a common part of my vocabulary?

Oh well...on to the review.

Over all I like this book and I think it's well written. I can partially agree with another reader who said that they "laughed out loud". On occasion I did to. I'll be giving a sort of "good/bad" review here. There are things I liked about the novel and I think "David Wong" is a talented writer. Unfortunately there are other things that I truly dislike and that bugged me constantly.

So, what's good? The book does a great job of using classic horror references (for instance I think Lovecraft will be brought to mind for any who've read his work) while mining modern strains of pop culture.I love the description of what are obviously "rods". You'll also see astral bodies, shadow people and so on. Aside from this Wong is (as noted) a good writer. He has a nice turn of phrase and SOMETIMES his humor is (as they say) "spot on". I did on a couple of occasions find myself alone in a room laughing out loud.

Okay there's the molasses...now for the sulfur, or what's not so good? I suppose some of what I say here may be a bit generational. When I say Mr. Wong's humor "sometimes" struck me funny I mean "sometimes". More often he leans on what I suppose might charitably be called "earthy" humor. I'd call it bathroom humor, sophomoric humor or locker room humor...and a Jr. high locker room at that. There are certain words he seems to think are hilarious all by themselves without any actual wit involved. He uses the word (view spoiler) as if it were the soul of wit in itself. The word "fart" or any term for feces seems to crack him up all on its own. Then of course there's the aforementioned, great English "f" word ("f**k") which seems to turn up every second or third line of dialogue. I know...some of you will find all this quite laughable and think it simply adds to our comedy/horror masterpiece. Stephen King has pioneered this type of dialogue and description in many of his best sellers. Still, I can remember when horror and repugnant conditions could be well expressed without sinking to this. I can remember when humor could be expressed and actually be funny without reference to the functions of the digestive tract. And Mr. Wong can to apparently as now and then he comes up with a word play or twist that's very funny...without said "earthy bits".


Once you get past that you'll see some plot points or story points that are a little predictable, but not badly so and as I've observed before there are few if any totally original plots out there...waiting to be written.

So be aware of the "earthy"(read crude) language and you'll find a fairly original type story here and may find it quite enjoyable.
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Reading Progress

01/22 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

How ya liking it, Sensei?


Mike (the Paladin) Not bad, a few laughs but not exceptional. I'm maybe a third through. I like his writing most of the time, but it's not all as funny as he thinks it is I guess. I'm leaning toward a high 3 right now.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Understandable. I'm more of a gym-locker-humor kinda guy, so I found a lot of it hilarious. :P


message 4: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Mar 15, 2012 05:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mike (the Paladin) I guess that's it. A lot of it is really funny but a lot of the humor loses me. He seems to think the word(view spoiler) is very funny for some reason.


Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance] You mean it isn't?


Mike (the Paladin) My point about individual sense of humor born out again...

Not you know, by itself, or simply repeated frequently.


message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner Nope, Mike, you're not the only person left in the world who doesn't use the f-word --though the media and some writers desperately want to try to convince those who don't that we are. I don't use it, and the overwhelming majority of people I interact with (and I work in a liberal-arts college, not a retirement home) don't use it.


Mike (the Paladin) I know. Most of my friends don't (though I find the younger people I know tend to use it often very easily). I'm more than halfway through the other book I mentioned here The Rook, and it's very common here to. Another thing that sets my teeth on edge is (I'm listening to an audio I bought from Audible) is the ultra-common use of various names of God as oaths. That to goes on constantly. I realize everyone isn't a Christian but it used to be common curtsy not to insult people's beliefs...and I don't see or hear people swearing by using Buddha's name or Mohammad's name or one of the Hindu deities, or whatever. Only Christians and Jews get to to put up with it.

Maybe I should scream "DAVID WONG!!!!" very expressively the next time I smash my finger or something


message 9: by Werner (new)

Werner I hear ya, Mike!


message 10: by J. (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. I don't think I even know anyone that drops f-bombs like some of today's books do. The authors must come from really low class areas.

The word penis is truly hysterical... when you're 10. Anyone that still finds it hysterical as an adult should probably turn their hat around to the front and consider growing up a bit.


Mike (the Paladin) ...insight....

I think I stopped "cussing" when I was in the 4th grade.


Clifford  Johnson @Werner I work in a retirement home and I must tell you, many of my coworkers use the f-word regularly. (Although probably not half as mush as I do.) :-p


Clifford  Johnson Thanks for the chatter about the book I'm looking forward to reading it now.


message 14: by Werner (new)

Werner Clifford, I was suggesting that the stereotypical view of the elderly inmates of a retirement home (not necessarily the staff) would suggest that they're too old-fashioned and dainty to use bad language. (Though stereotypes don't always reflect reality.)


Kathleen Fowler No, you are not the only person left in the world who doesn't use the "f" word as a common part of their vocabulary. Expletives have their place, but lose all impact when they are used constantly.


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