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review 2019-08-02 00:15
John Dies at the End
John Dies At The End - David Wong,Stephen R. Thorne

This is another selection from the Albany Public Library Summer Reading Challenge. (Theme:  "Out of this world.")


The audio for this book was over 14 hours long.  I often found myself thinking, "Henry James would call this book "a loose and baggy monster."  Come to think of it, the book actually features some loose and baggy monsters.


If this book were a stew, it would contain ingredients from GhostbustersMen in BlackSupernaturalInvasion of the Body Snatchers, and Fringe.  There were parts that made me laugh out loud, but there were also parts that just rambled, on and on.  And way too many dick jokes. 


By the time the story got to its big twists near the end, I was exhausted.  I considered abandoning it, but didn't want to because then I'd have to find another "out of this world" book to replace it with.

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review 2019-06-20 18:53
John Dies at the End by David Wong
John Dies at the End - David Wong

I've been side-eyeing this novel for a long time, so when a recent trip brought us to a used bookstore I picked up a copy. I usually don't for recent books still in print, but I'm glad I went on the cheap side for this one.


'John Dies at the End' is mostly David Wong telling his story to a reporter. After accidentally taking a strange drug known as 'Soy Sauce' he and his buddy John have gained notoriety for their ability to spot and intervene in supernatural problems. Wong, which is an alias for the character as well as the author, can't avoid sharing some details about his troubled youth and lots and lots of details about what a lonely, sad life he has.


The humor is juvenile, but effective. Its the language of a bro and loser who got in over their heads. The angle that the demons or whatever have an even lower, racist and homophobic, sense of humor is kind of funny. Any inconsistencies within the logic of the story is played off because of drugs, lies, and other hand-waving - which is also fine. I'm not going to read a goofy horror novel and expect internal consistency. The plot itself has no real momentum, and the book feels like the episodic piecemeal narrative the novel originated as. The real problem with the book is the female characters. There are only two substantial women in the book: 1. Jennifer Lopez who looks like J-Lo from behind and is a love interest; and 2. Amy, the younger sister of an early character, and who becomes a major character herself in the last act. There's also the dog, Molly, who arguably has a more fulfilling character arc then either woman.


All other women are either non-entity off-the-camera coworkers, party guests, victims, and girls John is having sex with - one gets a name and a brief speaking role so we can admire her breasts. Which, that's the market for this book, fine.


I've read worse, of course, Wong interjects a few paragraphs about women and how they're more than objects of desire, so he tried, I guess. The book had some entertaining absurdist moments. If I come across the sequels for less than wholesale I'll think about it.


John Dies at the End


Next: 'This Book is Full of Spiders'

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review 2018-07-27 23:27
Review: Futuristic Violence And Fancy Suits
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits: A Novel - David Wong So I say this everytime I review a book by this author, this was insane! It's set in the not-so-distant future where the cars are self driving, holograms are a normal thing, and most of the world lives their lives either creating or watching a continuous live stream of their mundane or extreme existences. Zoe gets caught up in a mess of her late absentee father's making. There's his crew, the suits, who all wear actual fancy suits and are equivalent to the futuristic mafia. And then there's the evil villian Molech, who's basically a kid with daddy issues and a god complex. He wants to take over Tabula Rasa (and then the world) and pretty much destroy anyone or thing he deems unworthy. The problem is, that Zoe holds the key to either his success or epic failure. So basically there are people trying to kidnap or kill her, or gain access to the vast fortune her father left behind for her (which includes his company and his "Suits"), or they want to protect her. There are so many left turns in this story it's almost hard to keep up. The author kept me on the edge of my seat for this one. I was never really sure how it was all going to work out. The most important part of this book was that Zoe's cat survived all of the gunfire, explosions--basically carnage. I'm all about the animals people. And it wasn't exactly an open or ambiguous ending, but there was definitely the hint of a sequel. I shudder to think what kind of mess Zoe would find herself in in a sequel!
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text 2018-07-17 01:31
Reading progress update: I've listened 540 out of 939 minutes.
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits - David Wong,Christy Carlson Romano

This is...I don't even know, but I need to Tre not to be a bit-part character!! He was effing hilarious and I need more of him.

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review 2018-06-13 19:20
Review: What The Hell Did I Just Read
What the Hell Did I Just Read - David Wong

I feel like I say this every time I review a book from this series, but this was an exercise in insanity!


Let me start by saying, there's only so much I can say without spoiling.  I'm about to say something that may be of an unpopular opinion; I don't know because I haven't talked to anyone who has read the series, but here it is:  I don't like Amy.  I don't know what it is about the character, but she just irks the hell out of me, and I cannot remember if I felt this way after reading the first two novels.  Even though I get the reason for her character, at the same time, I don't see the point of her.


That being said, John and Dave had yet another not-so-excellent adventure in [Undisclosed].  Just when I think the author couldn't possibly come up with a more, profane, creepy, hilariously convoluted story than the last, he goes and does it with style.  The kind of person you have to be to come up with this stuff... all the blessings to the author's wife!


Seriously, this was creepy, funny, and ridiculous.  If you've read the series, you understand why it's so hard to describe.  If you haven't read the series, you're missing out.  Go read it.  Right now!


I went back and forth between the paperback and the audiobook.  Whatever audio issues people were having when it was first released must have been fixed, because I thought it was great quality and a pretty good performance.  I think I may have liked the narrator of the second book a little better--taking away nothing from this narrator.  Overall it was a very good story and performance.

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