“John Dies at the End,” but my brain freaking explodes at the beginning

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There’s a point in many novels where my brain explodes. A good twist, a shocking or sudden introduction of a new plot, a joke or piece of irony that makes my brain twirl in a knot.

In “John Dies at the End,” I hit that on page two. And four. As well as five, six, seven, and nine. By page thirteen I was looking up, dazed, then turning back to the book because holy lord, what is going on.

The shocking brain twirl happens more in this novel than in any book I’ve ever read. Something absolutely insane happens every other page–and then Mr. Wong cracks a brilliant joke and I can’t help but laugh through mild nausea.

There’s nothing on the planet like this novel. It has so many shocking turns and unexpected twists that, after a while, you just become inured to them. As for the characters, the fact that everything is insane becomes positively normal.

It’s the most utterly original thing I’ve read in a long time. I’m going to be thinking about it for days or weeks. And it is absolutely brilliant.

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