John Dies at the End (the Novel)
In my attempts to bring more horror novel reviews to Anything Horror I’ve invited some guest reviewers to share their thoughts and reviews on some novels they’ve recently read. First up is guest contributor Sian. Here’s a little about her:
Sian Jones hails from Australia. Sian is a horror enthusiast since childhood and aspiring horror writer since learning to write. She has studied literature at Macquarie University, where she’s written essays on vampires and werewolves and wrote a thesis on zombies. As Sian says, “What can I say, I love zombies…like really, really love them. But not in a necro way.”
To give you an idea of her tastes, music-wise she listens to Tool, Puscifer, Fear Factory, System of a Down and NIN. Her favourite horror novels are David Moody’s Hater Series, Guillermo del Toro and Chick Hogan’s The Fall Series, John Hornor-Jacob’s This Dark Earth, a bunch of Lovecraft, Poe, and Mathew Lewis’s The Monk.
Her favourite horror movies include Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Devil’s Rejects, Pet Cemetery 2, The Shining, Silent Hill, Shaun of the Dead, The Horde, and the original Day of the Dead (“cause god-damn-it, that movie is underrated!!”)
She will also read anything once. You can find Sian on Twitter (@Sianissia) and she has a blog which she says you can find from her twitter account.
Welcome to Anything Horror, Sian!! And now here’s her review of the novel, JOHN DIES AT THE END:
JOHN DIES AT THE END – David Wong
(New York: Thomas Dunn Books, 2009)
Talk about love at first sight. I found this reviewed online, and thought I would take a look, assured it was plentiful of both horror and gore. Oh yes indeed. How do I love thee? Well let me count the ways my friends:
1) It has a meat monster. That is a monster comprised of pieces of meat – a turkey, chickens, a deer tongue, ham and sausages. Trust me when I say that David Wong, aka Jason Pargin from Cracked.com, uses it to a better effect than any description I can give you ever will.
2) It contains a drug called soy sauce.
3) It has wig monsters: that is monsters wearing wigs. And naked parallel universe folk. And a levitating dog that can drive a car. And a talking sausage.
4) People explode with no warning.
5) Forever more, when I hear “call me legion” my brain will translate it to “Call me Shitload”.
BUT, I suppose, you might want to know some of the storyline. The narrator is the man himself, David Wong. His best friend is called John. They “bump” into a levitating Jamaican who uses the pseudonym of Robert Marley, the man who first exposes John to soy sauce, a mind expanding drug that confuses time, space, the living and the dead, and allows insight into parallel universes. John accidently exposes David. Then they both accidently get involved in the “murder” case of Robert Marley, who was found exploded in his trailer the very morning after hanging out with John at a bar called One Ball. Things get worse.
Turns out, there is some sort of invasion underway, with the Shadow people, and something who calls himself Korrok, wanting to convert our world. Our only hope at salvation are David and John, two of the small handful of people in the world able to see what’s happening due to their exposure to “the sauce”. That is, of course, only the basic outline of the story. It is also about friendship, about the nature of love, and defining what is good and evil. But it does so in a hilarious manner. The wit is dry, but realistic and you begin to feel a kinship towards the dynamic duo. It is quite frankly brilliant. One of the most entertaining things I have ever read. So good, in fact, I don’t really want to say much more and ruin it, so I’ll just give you a little extract here:
“Molly came into view. It was her all right, the rust coat of an Irish retriever or whatever she was, now shampooed and combed to perfection. Her new owner apparently groomed her more than I had. This combination of girl and dog could make a good living as models in the dog-supply industry.
The only other thing that was different about Molly was the blood staining her muzzle and the fact that she was floating three feet off the floor.
Molly’s legs were stiff below her as she moved, buzzing slowly across the room as if on a track hung by invisible threads. When Molly came near the door she turned her head my way and in a clear but guttural voice said “I serve none but Kurrok”.
Molly Continued to float around the room like a shaggy little blimp.
Here. We. Go. Again.”
So, If you like sarcasm, dry wit and hellish themed horror, this is the book for you. Give it a go, you know you want to!
Overall Novel: 9/10
Horror Elements: 8/10
Writing Style: 10/10
Zombie Mayhem: 0/10
Reviewed by Sian Jones