Customer Reviews for

John Dies at the End

Average Rating 4.5
( 366 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(257)

4 Star

(70)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(11)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

46 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

Original. Scary. Hilarious. Infectious.

When I first read the original weekly installments on the internet, I lost a day's productivity at work each week. Not that it took me a day to read it - I'm a slow reader but not THAT slow. It's that it stuck with me, it crept around in my head all day making me sudd...
When I first read the original weekly installments on the internet, I lost a day's productivity at work each week. Not that it took me a day to read it - I'm a slow reader but not THAT slow. It's that it stuck with me, it crept around in my head all day making me suddenly laugh out loud one moment and other times causing me to quickly turn my head to catch a glimpse of a shadow that I was sure I had seen out of the corner of my eye but now wasn't there. It drew me in to it's world. By the end of the day I had rationalized it enough that I was OK. Until the next week. Then when the book came out (not this one, a limited release under a different publisher) I was lucky enough to get it signed by the author. He even drew a little unsmiley face on it. I'd describe it to you but I haven't checked it today to see what it currently looks like. I keep the book on a shelf behind my computer at home where I can always see it. Not because I pick it up and re-read it often. Because I want to make sure I always know where it is, in just that specific cockeyed position, so I know that no one else in the house but me has read it. Because I love my family.

The book (and just to be clear, I use that word with reluctance, since those of us who have read it know that...well I can't explain it, nevermind) is about a couple of friends, John and Dave, who live in a midwestern town. You may identify with one or the other of them at various points in the story...especially with John if you have a large genital member, a large ego, and little appreciation for the fact that actions have consequences. Uh, unless you're a chick, in which case scratch that genital member part...wait that didn't quite come out the way I meant it. Um, Anyhow, the plot..So these two friends end up imbibing "Soy Sauce" - a drug that opens up the supernatural world to your senses - and they realize that their town is basically the beachhead for a supernatural invasion. They encounter unbelievable horror, some of the really gross kind and some of the really "shocks-the-mind-into-numbness-and-disbelief" kind. And they also encounter unbelievable comedy, some of the really gross kind and some of the really "makes-you-laugh-even-though-its-inappropriate-to-do-so-right-now" kind. And they often encounter both horror and comedy at the same moment. The story is good. It's so good you won't want to put the book down. And sometimes you'll just be too scared to put it down. It must truly be read to be understood. But once you understand, it won't leave you alone. In fact, it's already too late for you. You're reading these reviews, so you're in the game. THEY know you're reading these reviews, and THEY won't leave you alone now. I'm so sorry.

posted by ratdude on October 7, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Uhg

I don't even know what to say... I guess I should start by saying I can understand why a lot of people gave this 5 stars... but it just didn't do it for me. And before you get all "you're too serious and a good dick joke is funny and you just don't get it"... I do
I don't even know what to say... I guess I should start by saying I can understand why a lot of people gave this 5 stars... but it just didn't do it for me. And before you get all "you're too serious and a good dick joke is funny and you just don't get it"... I do get what he was trying to do, I don't think he pulled it off.

posted by Sandra027 on April 10, 2012

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Page 1 of 19
  • Posted October 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Original. Scary. Hilarious. Infectious.

    When I first read the original weekly installments on the internet, I lost a day's productivity at work each week. Not that it took me a day to read it - I'm a slow reader but not THAT slow. It's that it stuck with me, it crept around in my head all day making me suddenly laugh out loud one moment and other times causing me to quickly turn my head to catch a glimpse of a shadow that I was sure I had seen out of the corner of my eye but now wasn't there. It drew me in to it's world. By the end of the day I had rationalized it enough that I was OK. Until the next week. Then when the book came out (not this one, a limited release under a different publisher) I was lucky enough to get it signed by the author. He even drew a little unsmiley face on it. I'd describe it to you but I haven't checked it today to see what it currently looks like. I keep the book on a shelf behind my computer at home where I can always see it. Not because I pick it up and re-read it often. Because I want to make sure I always know where it is, in just that specific cockeyed position, so I know that no one else in the house but me has read it. Because I love my family.

    The book (and just to be clear, I use that word with reluctance, since those of us who have read it know that...well I can't explain it, nevermind) is about a couple of friends, John and Dave, who live in a midwestern town. You may identify with one or the other of them at various points in the story...especially with John if you have a large genital member, a large ego, and little appreciation for the fact that actions have consequences. Uh, unless you're a chick, in which case scratch that genital member part...wait that didn't quite come out the way I meant it. Um, Anyhow, the plot..So these two friends end up imbibing "Soy Sauce" - a drug that opens up the supernatural world to your senses - and they realize that their town is basically the beachhead for a supernatural invasion. They encounter unbelievable horror, some of the really gross kind and some of the really "shocks-the-mind-into-numbness-and-disbelief" kind. And they also encounter unbelievable comedy, some of the really gross kind and some of the really "makes-you-laugh-even-though-its-inappropriate-to-do-so-right-now" kind. And they often encounter both horror and comedy at the same moment. The story is good. It's so good you won't want to put the book down. And sometimes you'll just be too scared to put it down. It must truly be read to be understood. But once you understand, it won't leave you alone. In fact, it's already too late for you. You're reading these reviews, so you're in the game. THEY know you're reading these reviews, and THEY won't leave you alone now. I'm so sorry.

    46 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Fantastic

    Like Burroughs, Vonnegut, and Lovecraft had a baby and that baby got whiskey drunk, took a handful of Adderall and stayed up for3 days writing a horror novel.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Roman Candle That Never Goes Out

    From the moment I read the dedication, I knew that this was the book for me.

    When I finished the Prologue, there was no question of whether or not I would enjoy it.

    But when I try to explain John Dies at the End, I am forced to end with "Just... read it, okay?" The book leaps over genres with feckless abandon and changes pace at a brilliant, though never sickening, speed, like a peregrine falcon wearing a dust jacket.

    I could take a moment to crudely carve out various possible niches for the book. It will fit "comedy" and "horror", but not perfectly, which is the problem (and beauty) of David Wong's work: any attempt to classify it always feels wrong, like a diploma displayed on a slant or a bike trail added to a narrow road.

    In fact, the best piece of advice I could offer a potential reader is this: the book is not a Capital Letter Genre book. It is not a Horror book, but it contains horror. It is not a Comedy novel, although the book will reduce you to quaking with silent mirth, as you are too busy laughing to even make noise. It is not a Romantic novel, but characters fall in love. I could go on.

    To put it simply, the book is more than the total of its parts. It is too big, too bold, too wonderful, to be contained by descriptors. I could tell you that the book has jokes and scary moments, but it is so much more than a book with jokes and scary moments. It is a book that can only be defined by itself. I will put this next sentence in a new paragraph, where it can be clearly seen:

    Do not let any part of this book, or any genre that it is listed as, scare you away from it.

    To elaborate: if you do not like horror, buy it. If you are not looking for humor, get it. If you don't feel like thinking, read it. Yes, it will scare you, and yes, it will make you laugh, and yes, it will make you think. But in the end it will not matter, because you will be glad that you have read this book.

    What makes Wong's writing so powerful is, again, hard to classify. It is not his comedic timing (which is brilliant), and it is not his characterization (though it is impeccable). If I was pressed for one explanation, it would be his understanding--of human behavior, of human emotion, of reality, of fantasy.

    If you don't believe me, just look at this review I am writing, here. I have tried several times to explain why I think you should read this book, and I am not sure I have done the job.

    I know I have barely touched on the book's plot, except in vague terms. I have to weigh including details against the space I have for recommending it, and I'm trying (and failing) to hit all the points briefly before running out of room.

    But look at how hard I've tried. It's taken me forever to write this review, to re-read it, to re-type it, to slave over each phrasing.

    So if you want any evidence of how powerful this book is, look no further than this. Whether or not you are inspired by my praise, it exists, and I have devoted a considerable amount of time to writing it.

    It would seem that it is important to me that you think about buying this book. And it is. I really, truly care about whether or not you buy this book, because I like it, and I am convinced that you will like it as well. I've spent my time on this because John Dies at the End is not only a book, but a book that is fantastic, incredible, and entertaining, and that has inspired at least one person to type out the maximum number of charac

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2009

    Great First Book

    This is really worth picking up. The hardcover has a great build-quality and the selected font is easy on the eyes. The cover art is great, proving the same experience as reading the process inside--It makes you smile then grimace.

    The characters and pacing of the book are spot-on. It reads a bit like a comic book, but with a higher degree of character development and environmental detail. The story is gripping, creepy (like, really creepy), and goes through enough peaks and valleys to keep you turning the page.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Uniquely hilarious, hilariously terrifying and terrifyingly unique.

    This is a very hard book to describe. No one does it better than David Wong himself, both on the book's jacket and website, JohnDiesattheEnd.com.

    This difficulty stems directly from book's greatest strength: the writing. Make no mistake, the plot is good. It is engaging and accessible to someone looking for simple entertainment, yet impressively deep if you care enough to gaze into that abyss. This makes it a perfect candidate for re-reads. There is always something more you pick-up on, no matter how many times you read it. Or, alternatively, I am quite dense. Regardless, one read is definitely not enough. However, you could read the most descriptive plot summary imaginable and still miss the true quality of John Dies at the End.

    David Wong's narration stands head-and-shoulders above the sea of giants made up by the strengths of this book. It contains humor greater than most comedies - rightly so, given David Wong's background as an online humorist - and it keeps a pace and maintains an atmosphere that makes the book a legitimately scary story. The humor is saturated to a point that every page contains something that will elicit an audible laugh but it is refined enough to not interfere with the story. This also adds to the book's re-readability, as I find myself noticing new, understated jokes every time.

    In a closely trailing second comes the characterizations. The people in this book are cut from a cloth that was woven specifically for this story. No where else is their type found - the title character, John, and the author's avatar, David, especially. "Lovable screw-ups" would be the most general term, but their simultaneous intelligence, stupidity and hilarity put them in a separate class all their own (it is the one held in the boiler room, with the tenured teacher who's stopped caring and where every student is trapped in the showed-up-for-a-test-unprepared-and-naked dream every single day).

    There is one important caution: this book is not for the easily offended and is definitely for mature audiences only. It is essentially what you might expect from a story centered around college-aged kids of less than respectable repute. If this causes you concern, read some of David Wong's other work first at http://www.cracked.com/members/David+Wong.

    Really, the only way to get a feel for this book and to understand how it went from free, online and serially published to being distributed by a multinational publisher, is to read it for yourself. This is my best recommendation and I have never had anyone follow it and come back anything but a new life-long fan of Wong.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Uhg

    I don't even know what to say... I guess I should start by saying I can understand why a lot of people gave this 5 stars... but it just didn't do it for me. And before you get all "you're too serious and a good dick joke is funny and you just don't get it"... I <i>do</i> get what he was trying to do, I don't think he pulled it off.

    4 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    You're Under the Eye Now

    You're introduced to John and Dave by accompanying them on one of their "exorcisms", and the story proceeds, without the slightest pause to draw breath, to take you on a terrifying yet hilarious coal-mining-cart ride through the darkest portions of this or any other Universe, with brief forays into the blinding light.

    David Wong tells his story in such a straightforward manner that many times I found myself reading some lines over again; (did I *really* read a description of a horrifying creature wearing a wig?

    "It had a head that was sort of an inverted heart shape, a bank
    of mismatched eyes in an arc over a hooked, black beak, like a
    parrot's. On its head, no kidding, it had a tuft of neatly
    groomed blond hair that I swear on my mother's grave was a wig,
    held on by a rubberband chinstrap."

    Yes. Yes, I did.)

    After reading this book you will be more suspicious of the things you almost but don't quite not see out of the corner of your eye.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    They Haunt Minds

    JDATE is the most amazing story I have ever read. It took everything I knew about how things worked, threw it in a blender, and hit Frappe. This story will in one moment make you silently laugh in extreme mirth at John's rediculous jerkishness, or David Wongs pessimistic sarcasm, and the next you will hear a cryptic analogy that will keep you up nights. Not that the book itself won't keep you up because you will not be able to put down this book, I promise you that. My brother has never willingly read a book in his life, not reading any book bigger than "The Lightning Theif" but when he picked up this book he didn't put it down. David Wong has an understanding on how people react to fear, he knows what really scares us. He knows its not monsters that scares us, but the possibility that the monsters don't haunt houses, that they haunt minds. I have read the book multiple times, and every joke still continues to make me laugh, dispite the fact that its not strictly a horror or comedy story. I will reiterate another review when I say that even if you don't like one of the many genres in this book, buy it and read it anyways. I promise you it will rock your world.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Holy crap this is the best book in the universe! Dang!

    And that is the damn truth! You'll buy this book right now. You'll buy it and love it. You'll open the first page and be like, "Holy crap! This is amazing!" but you'll have read only the first line. Then you will read the whole thing nonstop until the end, and your brain will explode several times in the process. But it's good exploding. Then you'll read it again and again and laugh the whole time but also be scared. Good stuff.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Awesome

    Really one of the best books I have ever read. Found this book in its free version about 3 installments into the weekly update years ago and immediately became obsessed.
    From printing the web version to buying all the different versions once it finally came out, to stalking the site for updates and making all my friends read it.

    Buy it, read it and join the cult.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    Good read but.....

    I read the reviews, then the sample, then had to buy it. Out of plain curiosity if nothing else. I disagree with anyone that says this is " the funniest" or the "scariest" book they have ever read. Obviously they dont do much reading. However it is an excellent story line and genuinely good read. It has a lot of things that seem similair to alot of books i have read but when combined they turn into a true original. Cant wait for the movie!

    One major complaint. Worst ending of any book i have ever read...without a doubt. I dont want to post spoilers but i will say at the end you WILL be dissppointed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    A true horror and comedy

    This book is truly laugh-out-loud funny and also scary. The jokes are casually interspersed, but they're expertly placed. It's hard to describe; the book is just simply funny. Also, the scary parts are genuinely scary. If you have an active imagination, you will likely see some disturbing visuals in your mind. Most importantly, the story is engaging. I didn't want to put it down at all (I only stopped reading intermittently because of stupid interruptions, such as life, social activity, sleep, and education.. barring those things, I probably would have read it all in one sitting). My only disappointment was with the ending. It doesn't really resolve, but then again, there is a sequel on the way. All in all, I'd recommend this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    John Dies At The End

    This book is about John and David, two college dropouts who encounter creatures from other worlds after taking the drug known as soy sauce.

    This book is both funny and frightening. There is a lot of blood and gore, yet there are laugh out loud moments also. JOHN DIES AT THE END by David Wong is a mix between Stephen King and Douglas Adams, with a little juvenile humor tossed in.

    I must admit I picked up the book because I like the title. Actually enjoying the book was a bonus.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013

    Sad

    Remember those be yourself posters in elementary school? Well I am the yellow blob who hated the book in the sea of red book lovers. It bothered me all the way through that the book has no cohesion and felt like a bunch of stuff crammed together that didn't go together. That, I found out in the afterword is because he wrote it as different stories and then stuck it together. It just sucked and that breaks my heart because I wanted to love it so badly. I feel like I read a different book thqn everyone else.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Just read it

    Absolutely LOVED this book and the sequel. Seriously... just read it. Its awesome.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    A Fantastic Read

    This book is a gem. The plot is well-made, the dialogue and narrative are blithe and witty, and each chapter will leave you asking for another. Pick it up as soon as you can!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    WHAT A GREAT READ!!!!!!

    I do not know where to even begin. First off, this book is definitely NOT for the young and definitely not for the easily offended. Oh, and not for the faint of heart either.

    I grabbed this book when I was checking out new releases and found the sequel to this. It looked so good, I realized I should probably read the first so I would not be playing catch up.

    All I can say is WOW!! This book had it all! Ridiculous humor, super scary stuff, and somewhere in the middle a great insight about some things. If you like a good zombie book, this has to be the best I have ever picked up. But I warn you, it is oh, oh, oh so much more than just a zombie book.

    Loved it, loved it, loved it! Read it, read it, read it!!

    Cannot wait to started on the next! Thanx Mr. Wong, I am COMPLETELY addicted.

    -- SPeeD

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    This must be what insanity feels like.

    This author must have a.d.d.

    I bought the second one, though.

    All hail korrock.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    I was blown away!

    All the other reviews take way too much time to tell you this is a great book. Read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Super good

    Loved. Funny and sad mixed with funny and horrifying makes a great combo. I tore through the novel like a fire and regret nothing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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