This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It
by David Wong
Cover Artist: Photo: Geoff Spear
Review by Benjamin Wald
Thomas Dunne Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312546342
Date: 02 October 2012 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This Book is Full of Spiders is the sequel to the hilariously offbeat debut novel John Dies at the End. In this sequel, David and his friend John (who didn't die at the end) are back, and still trying to save the earth from terrible monsters who are invisible to everyone else. They are also still total losers. In this outing, the town of undisclosed (the name a secret to protect its anonymity) is threatened by an outbreak of mind controlling invisible parasitic spiders (so this time the title is accurate). This novel is bizarre, over the top, frequently ridiculous, and immensely enjoyable.
The story is told in the first person by David, who is a slacker prone to low self esteem and impulsiveness who nonetheless is surprisingly, yet believably, heroic as he battles monsters and shadowy conspiracies. David is a surprisingly relatable character, and while he is the first to admit his flaws, the reader can't help but admire his courage. The other main character is John, David's best friend and the only other person who can actually see the monsters that threaten undisclosed. John is the source of many of the books most ludicrous, and hilarious, moments, as he combines a reckless disregard for his own safety with an inability to think ahead and a sophomoric sense of humor. It is really quite a shock that he survived the first novel.
The plot concerns an outbreak of parasitic mind controlling spiders, that begins with one of the spiders attacking David in his bed. The plot is fairly non-stop from there on out. The author does an excellent job of alternating moments of action, humor, and impressively disturbing horror. There are even some deeper moral questions examined in the book, handled with a delicate touch that avoids preachiness and doesn't get in the way of the high speed plot. The plot is more coherent than that of the first novel, with a more unified plot arc and set of problems, but it doesn't entirely forsake the quirkiness of the first volume.
This is a unique horror novel, one that stands out in a category entirely of its own. It manages to combine absurdity and campiness with true moments of terror, no mean feat. For anyone looking for a horror novel that avoids formulaic plots and familiar foes, and who wants a bit of humor along with their scares, I highly recommend you check this book out.