Title: Welcome to Night Vale
Author: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: 20th October 2015
Rating: 3/5 stars
WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE…
… a friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while its citizens pretend to sleep. It’s a town like your town, with a city hall, a bowling alley, a diner, and a radio station reporting all the news that’s allowed to be heard. It might be more like your town than you’d like to admit.
In this ordinary town where ghosts, aliens and government conspiracies are parts of everyday life, the lives of two women, with two mysteries, are about to converge.
From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an original mystery of appearances and disappearances about the ways we all struggle to find ourselves – no matter where we live.
I have listened to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast a few times, but I’m not great at listening… Plus, although the host’s voice is absolutely AMAZING, it does make me fall asleep…. And therefore, I was super excited for the book – I can do books! Unfortunately, it was a little TOO weird for me to become fully involved in the fandom.
Their Twitter feed is still pretty awesome though – this Halloween Tweet is just one perfect example:
Have fun tonight pretending to be something or somebody you aren’t. In fact, have fun doing this every night of the year.
— Night Vale podcast (@NightValeRadio) October 31, 2015
I know that the podcast is weird, but the style didn’t translate very well into the book. For true fans, the audio book would probably be an excellent option, given that it is read by the same guy as the podcast.
The story follows Jackie, the nineteen-year-old owner of the Night Vale pawn shop. Jackie has been nineteen for a very long time. A mysterious man in a tan jacket gives her a piece of paper marked ‘KING CITY’ and Jackie can’t get rid of it; she throws it away, she burns it, but it just keeps turning up in her hand.
Diane Crayton is worried about her son, Josh, a moody shapeshifter. He wants to know about his father and suddenly Diane is seeing him everywhere she goes. Her search to reconnect with her son collides with Jackie’s search for her former life. Two words define their journey: KING CITY. King City could hold the key to their mysteries, and their futures … if only they could find it.
There are some great creepy quotes, such as this one:
When I was a child, I would, like all children, cry because childhood is traumatic and confusing. And when crying wasn’t enough? When I felt that despair children feel because they don’t understand and won’t be able to for years? Well, then I would scream. I would scream as loud and long as I could.
But there are also plenty of quotes offensive to the book lover – libraries are incredibly dangerous and librarians even more so:
Diane looked around desperately, but all that surrounded her were books. Useless books.
The reading area was a beautifully crafted trap set by the librarians, but it was too perfect. Even the dumbest book lover – and anyone who would regularly choose to come in contact with books could not be a bright bulb, Jackie thought – wouldn’t fall for this.
Overall, I found this book a little bit of a drag – it felt like a chore finishing it off. Instead of bringing this fascinating story to a whole new audience, I think the book will only work for people who are already fans. If I want to get involved with this story, I am going to need to commit to the podcast – and drink lots of coffee so Cecil’s voice doesn’t lull me to sleep!
Podcasters, you will love to hear more about the weird and wacky characters of Night Vale. Others, try the podcast first! Cecil’s voice is AWESOME!
Have you listened to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast? How do you think it will translate to a book? Isn’t Cecil’s voice amazing?