Imagine a collaboration between H. P. Lovecraft and John Hughes, and you might have some idea of what John Dies at the End by David Wong is like: twenty-something angst and humor meet horrors from another universe who want to consume our world. From the author’s web site:
It’s a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users can drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human.
Suddenly a silent, otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs.
Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity?
No. No, they can’t.
I almost passed this one by while scrolling through my recommendations at Amazon. However, something about the description caught my eye, so I went ahead and downloaded the sample without any real expectations of reading the book. Instead, after getting about half way through the sample, I was hooked and ended up ordering the book.
Be warned: there is a fair amount of violence, profanity, and various unsavory situations (the word “scatalogical” comes to mind) and phallic humor; so this book is not for all, and certainly not for younger readers — and normally not for me, either. In spite of how all that would normally put such a story outside of my usual reading “comfort zone,” something about Wong’s clever writing drew me in, making me care about the characters and curious to find out where the story was going to end up, and the route it would take to get there.
I was glad I took a chance on this book and author, and would give it 3.5 stars out of 5. I think if it were edited down a bit, it might have gotten a solid 4 stars, as I felt the second half dragged quite a bit.