I''ve been a big fan of David Wong/Jason Pargin since the early days when John Dies at the End was posted on Pointless Waste of Time. He''s earned the right to get a pre order from me any time he publishes a book, and I started this one literally the minute it came to my...
I''ve been a big fan of David Wong/Jason Pargin since the early days when John Dies at the End was posted on Pointless Waste of Time. He''s earned the right to get a pre order from me any time he publishes a book, and I started this one literally the minute it came to my kindle. I can definitely say I was not disappointed, and I don''t think long time fans of JDatE will be either.
What the Hell Did I Just Read is a lot truer to the series than This Book is Full of Spiders, I think. I similarly read TBiFoS as soon as it was possible, but I finished reading initially with a bit of disappointment. My biggest problem with TBiFoS was what Pargin did with Amy and John as characters. In JDatE, Amy and John are both good characters to round out David. While David is a bit of a buzzkill, and reluctant to do anything or be the hero, John and Amy are there to drive forward the stupidity and give you something to cheer for. John was a great character in JDatE because not only does he go along with the insanity of what is happening to them, he seems to embrace it. Amy is good for similar reasons, but in a different way. While she is frequently a voice of reason, she also doesn''t want David to shy away from what needs to be done, and she always wants to go along.
However, in TBiFoS, both characters are given points of view, which they didn''t previously have in JDatE. They''re given significantly more depth, which generally is a good thing the deeper you go into a series, but I don''t actually think they benefited from this in TBiFoS. The biggest problem I have is John in particular, instead of being the insane, stupid badass that he is in JDatE, he''s made to look more like a raging alcoholic that doesn''t have his life together and actually becomes a way less likable character. Don''t get me wrong, he''s definitely a drunken idiot that has serious issues in JDatE, but the lack of repercussions makes it a lot easier to look past. In TBiFoS, John lets Amy down multiple times, which mostly makes him very disappointing.
My other big issue with TBiFoS is that the story itself is a bit trite and overdone (it boils down to a zombie book, really, and there''s too many zombie stories right now), despite JDatE being the first of its kind at the time and breathing some fresh air into the horror genre. The biggest thing JDatE had going for it was that one second you would be laughing uncontrollably and the next absolutely horrified. I never really had moments like that with TBiFoS, in fact there was very little in the book for me to laugh at.
All that being said, What the Hell Did I Just Read completely turned all that around. Within the first few chapters I was laughing way too hard, and the jokes were very true to JDatE at its roots. The story itself was much more reminiscent of the original story, without being the same thing all over again. And John and Amy were still given points of view, but I thought their characters were much better used in WtHDIJR, and John became a likable character again.
My big concerns with the book were that Amy was given an amount of depth that may be pushing too far for some fans. I found her concerns and issues in the book very reasonable and realistic, but I could see some fans starting to treat her like Skyler White, if anyone is familiar with Breaking Bad and the fan backlash against that character. It will be interesting to see how the fanbase reacts.
My other issue is that while the first half of the book was very page turning and engaging, the second half tended to drag. The climactic ending to the story seemed to start too early and last too long, which leads to disinterest. This is actually one of the biggest reasons I had trouble getting into Pargin''s last book, Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, but not something I noticed in his first two books. Hopefully this isn''t the direction he finds himself going in with future books, and he learns to reign this in a little.
Overall, though, this book is amazing. Very worth reading for any fans of JDatE, and definitely holds its own in the universe that was written. I''m excited to read it through again, maybe a little slower and get a feel for it more.