This Book Is Full of Spiders” is the sequel to David Wong’s “John Dies at the End.” Contrary to initial belief, the title of the first book is not actually a spoiler. John makes it all the way to the second book. In the first adventure, David and his best friend, John, inject themselves with a strange viscous liquid handed to them by a rather suspicious character with a fake Jamaican accent. This viscous liquid gives them short-lived powers of deduction, time-travel and knowing the amount of change in your pockets to the exact coinage.
After the potency of the injection wears off, John and David lose their powers. However, they soon begin to experience a long-lasting side effect. They can see things. Strange things. Due to the fact that they live in an undisclosed location, which is apparently the equivalent to Sunnydale (hello, “Buffy” fandom), David and John have all new troubles to deal with. In this installation, the problem happens to be spiders. Not just any spiders: insanely durable spiders with legs tipped like knives who are bent on taking over the human race. You don’t want to know how they plan to achieve this. Scratch that. Of course you do.
Wong’s particular writing style carries over from the first book in the series. The story continues to be told from the points of view of John, David and Amy in their own respective chapters. There are lewd images, juvenile jokes and senseless scenarios which I personally find wonderfully comedic and refreshing. There are markedly fewer explicit scenes in book two. Or maybe they’re just more spread out. Either way, you will read some scenes that are crude. It depends on your personal sense of humor whether you’re going to laugh it off or be offended.
“This Book is Full of Spiders” is my favorite of the two books. Although “John Dies at the End” was funny, I found it aimless at times. While there is enough humor and enthusiasm to mostly cover for the lack of forward plot, “This Book is Full of Spiders” has a definite direction to it, and a plot that is slightly easier to follow. There is a real villain (entity) to loathe instead of the mass attack of randomness and hilarity found in the first installation. It was nice to see that Wong could be focused, without losing his distinctive style of writing or sacrificing the humor.
A part that was truly awesome, in my opinion? I’m so glad that you asked. Amy, David’s girlfriend, truly takes charge in this book. She overcomes major difficulties and keeps on task, something that John can never do and David only seems to manage sporadically. What would they do without her? It’s always nice to have a female character take charge of the situation and keep the others from getting themselves killed, or worse, infected.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to understand what’s going on in this book because you didn’t read the first book, have no fear. Wong does a decent job explaining the situation on page five. Basically, “There are two kinds of people in the world; the first see locks and warning signs and say, ‘If they’re keeping it locked up so tight, that means it’s both dangerous and none of my business’” and “the second type, who believe, ‘If they want to keep it a secret so bad, then it must be worth seeing.’”
This pretty much sums up how this book is going to work. The rest of the world functions as the first statement, and John functions as the second. David tags along because, whether he likes it or not, John is his only friend. After all the stuff they’ve seen and been through, nobody else is interested in claiming that position.