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Cannonball Read IV: This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It by David Wong

By Robert | Book Reviews | December 10, 2012 | Comments ()


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For all the enjoyment I got out of John Dies at the End, I couldn't shake the feeling that it didn't work as a novel. There were three very different episodes held together by a reporter framing device and the presence of a mysterious drug with inter-dimensional properties. It was funny, but the novel killed its momentum each time the story shifted to something completely different.

I am happy to report that This This Book Is Full of Spiders, David Wong's sequel to John Dies at the End, is unquestionably a novel. The clear three act structure exists, but it actually serves the telling of a single story. It's funny, disturbing, and clever without any cohesion problems.

David and John have gone on many adventures in [Undisclosed] since their first run in with Soy Sauce. Surprisingly, it was calm, rational David that wound up in a courtroom after shooting a pizza delivery boy in the chest with a crossbow. Now he has to attend sessions with a court appointed psychiatrist who knows how to push his buttons. David would be able to put everything behind him in a few months if he didn't get attacked by a demon parasite spider from another dimension in his bedroom. Now he has the police, the government, his girlfriend Amy, and a previously unknown secret agency called REPER swooping down on [Undisclosed] to prevent him from destroying the world thanks to a menace only he and John can see.

This Book is Full of Spiders is wild. David Wong pulled no punches crafting this story. I mean, the spiders burrow into the human brain through the mouth and rewire the human body into a deadly creature with any number of inhuman features: wings, exploding eyeballs, claws, and the ability to keep on trucking when a giant gaping hole is shot through the body. Wong plays with paranoia, media sensationalism, sanity, and every single rule established in the last book about [Undisclosed].

The sequel is also a far more emotional read. The people who die are mostly established as real characters first. Tragedy comes out of panic and the secrecy of [Undisclosed] prevents the outside world from learning the truth. Everything could have been avoided if people in the town just learned to trust each other. Instead, they'd rather stand their ground and gun down their fellow citizens than risk finding out that there are real monsters in the world.

This Book is Full of Spiders is a masterful horror/comedy novel. It is packed with action, gore, psychology, and slapstick. It's a risky blend that pays off big dividends again and again.

For more of Robert's reviews, check out his blog, Sketchy Details.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Sandrine

    Loved JDATE, Loved Spiders. my problem now is that I can't find a book to read that's on a par with them, in the same kind of style.

  • Melina

    So good to hear! I really enjoyed John Dies in the End (but had similar criticisms as you did)...I will definitely pick this one up.

  • I was at a convention waiting for the masquerade to start and reading John Dies at the End. Someone with me kept reading over my shoulder, and I knew because she kept chuckling and laughing and snorting and rolling her eyes. When I offered to lend it to her after I was done with it, she rolled her eyes and informed me she doesn't like that kind of humor. Dude, I heard you laughing.
    I've been looking forward to This Book is Full of Spiders, but it didn't quite manage to climb to the top of the 'to read' pile specifically because of the problems you outlined. You've convinced me it needs to move up a couple of spaces.

  • I only read it because I won a Nook with a $25 gift card at a local school raffle. One of my students was reading it on a field trip and told me it was so much better than the original. I trusted her and she was right.

  • Jezzer

    You are much more comfortable with people being up in your personal space than I am. I elbowed three imaginary people behind me just reading your comment.

  • 'Over my shoulder' is a bit inaccurate. We were sitting next to each other, and the chairs were crammed right against each other. There's only so much personal space available, you know? And I was reading it on my kindle with the font blown up to 'blind as a bat,' so for anyone with better eyesight, it probably could have been read from across the room.
    Still, there was a reason I offered to lend it to her--I could have dealt with her reading it to pass the time, but the running commentary wasn't necessary. There are reasons why I no longer go to the movies with her.

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