Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Book review: This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It (John Dies at the End #2) by David Wong

Goodreads has this PSA for you: “WARNING: You may have a huge, invisible spider living in your skull. THIS IS NOT A METAPHOR.

You will dismiss this as ridiculous fearmongering. Dismissing things as ridiculous fearmongering is, in fact, the first symptom of parasitic spider infection-the creature secretes a chemical into the brain to stimulate skepticism, in order to prevent you from seeking a cure. That’s just as well, since the “cure” involves learning what a chain saw tastes like.

You can’t feel the spider, because it controls your nerve endings. You can’t see it, because it decides what you see. You won’t even feel it when it breeds. And it will breed. So what happens when your family, friends, and neighbors get mind-controlling skull spiders? We’re all about to find out.”

Much like with John Dies at the End, the first book in this series, I was only about 85-90% sure of what was going on at any given point in time while reading this book. The prose here is lightning fast and wickedly quippy, and David Wong’s gift of gruesome detail — both metaphorical and not — cannot be understated. I liked this book a lot, with its hapless wannabe action hero protagonists who are only ever involved in these supernatural/alien doomsday scenarios because they have the misfortune of living in a town that’s basically Sunnydale and because they took a psychedelic drug called Soy Sauce one time that elevates the consciousness and perception to be able to see all of the creepy crawlies that regular humans can’t. As a twosome, John and Dave are sarcastic, horrible at planning, short-sighted, and immature, but they’re also weirdly experienced, very loyal, and above all, incredibly lucky. That Dave has a very smart girlfriend in Amy (and a dog named Molly with great timing) also doesn’t hurt.

Prior reviews have all mentioned that this book seamlessly blends horror, gore, and suspense with comedy, and I agree completely. Wong has also been described as a spiritual successor to Douglas Adams, and I agree with that as well. Certainly all fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide should read this series, as should anyone who just likes comedic books in general. I docked a star because I am being persnickety and I liked the overarching plot better in John Dies at the End than I did in Spiders, but this really was very good.

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