John Dies at the End Review

Review:

John Dies At The End - David Wong

“There’s nothing new under the sun.”

If you’re an insecure creative person, you’ll hear this phrase quite often. Friends will try to build you up, because there’s no easy (or friendly) way for them to say, “Maybe storytelling isn’t for you, you know? Perhaps take up model-building or lint-collecting?”

I used to agree with “There’s nothing new under the sun.” Really, I did. Hell, I’m even guilty of uttering it once or a dozen-hundred times. The truth is, that sentence is bullshit. “There’s nothing new under the sun” is a lie creative people (or people who identify as creative people) tell each other when they can’t think of something original. How do I know this? Because books like this exist.

I’ve recently (recently, as in, like, yesterday, fam) sworn off bitching about unoriginal content and shitty writers. You assholes do you. But when you get a negative review lambasting your ass for unoriginal content and/or crap writing, you don’t get to complain. I tried to warn you that you were shit. You just wouldn’t listen.

“Big words from some fat fuck on a computer. My mommy says I write all the good words!”

Good for you, Pudding. Here’s a pat on the back. Now kindly go write another couple thousand words on your super-original vampire/werewolf/zombie/plague novel set in Nazi-run Victorian England. There’s totes an audience for it. I promise. smooches.

John Dies at the End was written by a data entry clerk in his free time. Word of mouth begat word of mouth and soon enough he had offers from publishers and filmmakers alike. You can tell the author is not a trained writer. He’s a gifted storyteller, but the writing is your basic high school creative writing. We’re not talking Billy Shakes here, but I think you already knew that. Dude’s got a tale to tell and he’s gonna tell it in the simplest way possible: with pop culture references and a metric fuck-tonne of naughty language. Sometimes the best stories are written this way. Nothing pretty to get in the way. Just words in the proper order to waylay confusion. Rad.

Me? I loved every minute of it. Yes, even the wacky pacing and start-over mechanic employed between parts one and two. The only thing I could’ve done without was the use of “retarded” in place of “stupid”, but given the narrator is the type of guy he is, it fits the profile. I was certainly not triggered. Just wanted to let those of you who are sensitive to such things know that such things happen in this book. A lot. Like, everything’s retarded to this dude. Even himself. Then again, I think I’m only one of like six people who haven’t read this book or seen the movie. So whatever.

I will refrain from talking about the movie here because I don’t remember a fucking thing about it. Like, nothing, son. I know I watched it. I even discussed it with my dude Linton the following day. We were both confused by the fact that (view spoiler). Still, I have no idea what happened in the movie. I do hope the book is not equally forgettable.

Will I be reading the next book, This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It? Probably. Not anytime soon though because I have twenty-three bazillion kajillion other books to read before the end of the year. But, yeah, I want to.

In summation: A wacky, original novel with a few pacing problems and a dumb-fun narrator who’s equally likeable and offensive. What might shock you is the level of character depth on display. More than once the author sneaks deep moments into his otherwise shallow narrative. Bravo to him.

Final Judgment: Come for the bizarre shit. Stay for John’s one-liners.

Original post:
edwardlorn.booklikes.com/post/1569592/john-dies-at-the-end-review

The Bone Tree Review

Review:

The Bone Tree - Greg Iles

1.5 stars rounded up. It was, in parts, “okay”.

First and foremost, thank FUCK that is over. I started reading this on April 23 and I am just now, today, June 5, finished reading it. Considering I finished the other books in ten days or less, I gotta say my pace here is telling.

This book is a padded mess of inconsequential bullshit, and I would be the worst kind of fanboy if I ignored the hundreds of pages of filler here and five-starred this train wreck of a novel. But I think the WHY of the matter is the most interesting subject here, so let’s discuss why I feel that Greg Iles stuffed this book to bursting with filler in order to create (or force) some kind of legacy.

Many years ago (2011, I believe), Greg Iles was in a car accident in which he almost died. He lost a leg and had a long recovery ahead of him. Before the accident, he’d written almost to completion a book called Unwritten Laws, which can still be found on Goodreads. The novel looked to be a direct follow-up of Iles’s novel The Devil’s Punchbowl because he mentions at the end of PUNCHBOWL that Cage’s story will continue in 2011. Great. Wonderful.

Unfortunately for Iles fans, we will never get to read Unwritten Laws.

So what the fuck happened to Unwritten Laws? My theory is this: Greg Iles, fresh off almost dying, decided to chop the book up into three novels and pad them with some insane JFK subplot. If you were to strip the JFK nonsense from Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree you’d have a very tight, albeit lengthy literary thriller. I can only imagine that Mississippi Blood will lend further evidence to my theory, should I ever choose to read it. The JFK stuff is nothing but expositional dumps that are a fucking BORE to read. Had I not read and loved the previous four books in this series, I would have tossed this pile of overstuffed nothing out the window.

But why would Iles do such a thing? Because near-death experiences make people do weird shit. Look at Stephen King. After getting ran over in 1999, and the long recovery he suffered, we got the utterly garbage Dreamcatcher. But we also got the final three Dark Tower books. Nothing lights a fire under your ass like the realization your ass won’t be around forever. So Iles came back to Unwritten Laws, butchered it, and added a bunch of JFK conspiracy theory nonsense in order to create, in his words, his “magnum opus”.

Spoiler alert: It’s never a good idea for an author to go into a project expecting it to be the greatest achievement of their career. I don’t care how good you are, it never works out well. You end up coming off as a try-hard.

And Greg Iles tried too hard. This storyline did not need the JFK subplot. There is some terrific shit in this book, but it’s all overshadowed by Greg Iles’s attempts to create a literary legacy. You can pinpoint every scene that is tacked on because they feel exactly like that–tacked on. Every scene that doesn’t mention JFK is superbly written, while every chapter that mentions the assassination feels like someone else wrote them. Someone drastically less talented than Iles has proved himself to be with previous books. The plot becomes so absurd that even the characters start commenting on it. Toward the end of the novel, Penn Cage says “Unbelievable” in response to another asinine and obviously forced plot twist. This is because, deep down, Iles knew how badly he was fucking up, but he wanted so much for it to work. So much, in fact, that the desperation drips from the page. “Please, believe this, dear reader! PLEASE!”

Iles drones on and on trying to make his theory plausible, but it never takes hold. By the end of the book, I was defeated and dejected. I’m seriously contemplating not reading the final book. I’m so goddamned disappointed. Because there is a good story in here. Somewhere.

FInally, we lose some cherished fan favorites, but their passing is tainted by the thriller-filler bullshit of the JFK subplot. I wasn’t remotely affected by their passing, even though the scenes were well written. I remember how hard I took a major character’s death in The Quiet Game and I can’t help but feel like Iles failed the characters in this book. They deserved so much better than to be bookended by an insane subplot and cheesy thriller elements.

Why, man? Why?

Sometimes, authors are their own worst enemy. That’s why.

In summation: No doubt the weakest book in the series, and definitely the worst Greg Iles book I’ve read. Nowhere near his usually high quality. A perfect example of an artist wanting too badly to be taken seriously when they were already fine the way they were. Super disappointed and unsure if I’ll carry on to complete the series.

Final Judgment: NOTICE ME, SENPAI!

Original post:
edwardlorn.booklikes.com/post/1568833/the-bone-tree-review

THE SOUND OF BROKEN RIBS Now Available for Pre-Order!

The pre-order link for The Sound of Broken Ribs  is now live. Reserve your copy here:

http://thunderstormbooks.com/thunderstorm/book/the-sound-of-broken-ribs/

Advanced praise for The Sound of Broken Ribs:

“Lorn’s latest tale is masterful, and absolutely mesmerizing.” ~ Craig Saunders, author of Highwayman

“If you’re already a fan of the nightmare factory that is Edward Lorn, you’re in for a major treat with this newest addition to his lexicon. If you’ve yet to discover his work, fix that. He’s a rising star in the firmament of horror and an author you–and I–want to keep up with, someone who is the real deal, doing his own thing in his own way and doing it up right.” ~ Shotgun Logic

Visceral and harrowing, this book isn’t just a punch to the gut. It caved my whole damn chest in and broke my heart in the most beautiful ways. Lorn is a wonderful torturer, and this book captivated me like few others.” ~ Michael Patrick Hicks, author of Black Site and Let Go

“Lorn has written an incredible book on the horrors of humanity with a monster that haunted my dreams every night this week. This is by far his best book I have read.” ~ Deep in the Crease.

“Lorn’s writing has always reminded me of a young Stephen King’s: lean, evocative, and powerful… I can’t praise this book enough. If I hadn’t already anointed Edward Lorn the Future of Horror, I would with this book. “Dan Schwent, Goodreads Reviewer

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