This book was terrible. Narrator did a good job. Others complained it was short--I couldn't wait for it to end. It was boring. The plotline shambles along just like, well, a zombie. Good zombie plots get creative with the key elements:
Outbreak: viral with a touch of ?
Core survivors: no character depth.
Zombie characteristics: standard plus a little x factor with radiation/slight memory.
Survival skills: very detail-oriented. Good if you're a member of Z.A.P.
Infected friend dilemma: not going to spoil anything but there's nothing creative done here.
Secure hideout(s): points here for some innovative locations--maybe the best part.
Gangs: again, no spoilers, but minimally dealt with and not interesting.
Post-apocalyptic romance: fleeting.
Fright factor: none. Mildly gory.
I'm sure the author intends to develop these themes in his second installment, but this one was such a snoozer that I can't/won't give the second book a chance. This just reaffirms my belief that the only great thing going on in zombie fiction right now is Kirkman's Walking Dead. INFINITELY better than this drivel.
John Dies is an entertaining and mind-bending horror-comedy novel. The horror is high on gross-out factor, not really particularly scary (despite what other reviewers have said--maybe they actually believe in shadow people, I don't know...). The humor is great. I don't know how quite to put my finger on it but I feel like it's very 21st century. Something about naming a drug that opens the doors of your perception to the supernatural and beyond "Soy Sauce" just sounds like something you'd find on the internet. Maybe that and the frequent video game references. I'd recommend this book if you're the type of person who laughs their way through most monster flicks. You'll find a kindred spirit in this writer. As for the narrator, I thought he did a great job. Good voices for most of the characters, other than perhaps Amy whom I thought sounded a bit bland. I look forward to the movie and the sequel.
I cannot believe this book is popular enough to warrant not one but two movies... Almost the full first half of the book is wasted on details and backstory that were, to me at least, thoroughly boring and uninteresting. I won't comment on what relevance they bear to the ultimate mystery in this book, but suffice to say I wish I could have read a plot synopsis of the first 2/5ths of the book and then just started there.
When the book does finally pick up, it becomes just OK. A couple decent action sequences, not-too-predictable twists and turns, but ultimately I felt underwhelmed. I grew up with Hitchcock, Sherlock Holmes, hard-boiled detective novels like Hammett and Chandler... infinitely better than this. Maybe the translation just doesn't do it justice.
As for the narrator, he is decent for the most part. Does good varying his voice between the men in the book. His rendition of the women, in my humble opinion, is simply terrible. There were also times when I heard him read a character's line, particularly the lawyer, and I just thought to myself I can't imagine that's how the author meant it to come off. Again, translation issues, but I suspect the American movie will have actors reading the characters a lot differently than here.
This one's a snoozer.
I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. The anecdotes are funny and interesting, and you get enough of the science (arguably pseudoscience) to inform the casual reader. I think a seriously scientifically minded person would probably not enjoy this book as the author is not academically rigorous in his exploration of applying the psychopath test--he only selects a few samples and applies the test in a haphazard manner. But I think that is intentional. I think the point of the book is to explore the way that we concieve of and treat madness, using the criteria for psycopathy as a case study. The author interjects just enough of his own opinions while leaving a lot of it open for the readers to reach their own conclusions. I, for one, happen to agree with what I believe he suggests--that while there are many people who have serious mental illnesses that necessitate treatment and therapy, the criteria we have for mental disorders are malleable enough to overdiagnose many others to their detriment. The piece on childhood bipolar disorder at the end is particularly unnerving. I would also note that I listened to this book on audio from audible and it is read by the author who has a great speech pattern. Bit of a British accent makes for nice listening and he uses good emphasis and is a good storyteller. Something fun to listen for is the way he emphasizes responses to questions--"Yes" is said very definitively.
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