Thursday, May 11, 2017

John Dies at the End: Um, hi. Do you have any experience with, like, demon...ism?

I'm a fan of and have been for a while now, which based on what I can tell was right around the time the site became the current format that it is. Reading the site over the course of a decade*, I've found certain columnists that I was drawn to. Among those is current Executive Editor David Wong. When I knew he wrote a book and I finally got around to checking it out and...
...I dunno, you guys.

OK before I get into my opinion, a quick synopsis.

David and his friend John fight monsters that no one else can see. They were at a party when they took something called "soy sauce" (no, not like for sushi, that'd be dumb) that expands what you can perceive. In this case, it's that there are inter-dimensional monsters just all over the place. And since David and John can now see these things, even when they'd really rather not, they do what they can to fight them off and keep themselves and their loved ones safe. And sometimes strangers that come to them for help, but they're not like ghostbusters or anything for business.

Things get weirder and weird and the stakes get raised and there's a lot of juvenile humor that sometimes works and sometimes I think I would have enjoyed if I was younger when I read this.

I was scanning through reviews on Goodreads and one person said it felt like that game where someone starts a story and then another person adds to it and so on and so forth and that is a very good description. I mean, it feels like it was a bunch of very similar people playing that game, but the story took a number of turns that made me feel like perhaps this was supposed to be a collection of short, related stories. More than once I thought I was almost at the end of the book (because it felt like we had the full story arc) only to realize I had way more book to go. And that in and of itself isn't a bad thing. If it felt like it was supposed to be like that on purpose. Which this didn't necessarily feel like.

I thought it would be along the lines of the stuff Christopher Moore writes (and I've made it clear that I looooooooooooooooooove his stuff). Maybe like his stuff to like the 5th degree. Absurd and violent and funny and sure, that humor comes from things like dick jokes because sometimes those are really funny. And there were times it was like that but in an inconsistent and sort of blurry way.

There were moments that I liked. There were times that things were funny (sometimes juvenile, sometimes not). There were times that were really insightful and moving. Because he can write, as evidenced by the work he's doing on Cracked that I like so much. But these individual pieces weren't enough for me to like the book as a whole. Which is too bad because I wanted to (perhaps, not high but heightened expectations are to blame?).

So yeah. I know this is def a book for some people. Hell I am friends with some of those people. As in right when I finished I messaged a friend to say that he may have already read this but if not, he should cos it seems like something he'd like. To which he replied he'd already read it and the others in the series. So yes, there is an audience for this book but I don't think I'm in it. At least not any more.

Gif rating:
*Damn, realizing that makes me feel old

Title quote from page 63, location 1277

Wong, David. John Dies at the End. Thomas Dunne Books, 2009. Kindle