Book Title: Welcome To Night Vale
Author: Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Publisher: Orbit 2015
Page Count: 401
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy and THE ODD!
Audience: Those who like their brain scrambled, amused and slightly creeped out...
Summed up in one word: There aren't any....
First Impression: Wow, this is very...very....unique. Now for those who know nothing on WTNV this book is based on a world created within a podcast of the same name. I was not aware of the podcast when I started this book, but I stopped reading and dove into it to see what the fuss was about. It changed this novel completely so if you are thinking of reading this book, the podcast needs to come first...I will explain. (WARNING: I tried to stay of the topic of the podcast when reviewing the book and failed miserably, it is better than this book, but only just.)
Summary Of The Story:
Welcome To Night Vale.... A town where time does not work properly and everyone who lives there are many things but no of them are normal. Come along and meet the charming, strange, eccentric, outlandish, peculiar and incredibly bizarre bunch of characters that the reader will accompany throughout their visit to Night Vale.
In this novel we have two protagonists. First we meet Jackie, a 19 going on...(no one knows, she refuses to turn 20). Jackie runs the local pawn shop and she has all the qualities that come with that line of work. Jackie is stubborn, tough and willing to take risks. One day a customer in a tan jacket with a deer skinned briefcase comes in to pawn his piece of paper...she agrees...and now she stuck with it, all it says is 'KING CITY' (the paper literally says these words...). She wants rid of the paper but she can't remember who gave it to her....
Secondly we meet Diane. Diane is a single mother, her son Josh is a typical teenage handful with the added grief of constantly transforming into a new creature or object every day. Diane is focused on raising Josh and things are not going to badly, until Josh brings up the subject of his father again. She avoids the bait...until the father starts showing up, and he is everywhere!! Diana has to find Josh's father (he may be everywhere but she can't seem to be able to talk to him) and put an end to this insanity. Before she can Josh goes missing and is presumed to be in KING CITY.
In between the ladies escapades we get short messages from the man himself Cecil, the radio show presenter who shares city wide news, advertisements and mainly warnings to avoid the hooded figures, the glow cloud and any rubbish with a red flag stuck in it...among other things.
Eventually together Diane and Jackie must team up to find the man in the tan jacket with the deer skinned briefcase and make it to KING CITY to save Josh. Be prepared to be confused, annoyed, amused, scared and many other feelings that WTNV may conjure up within you...
Before even considering reading this book please go and check out the podcast. It sets the tone, the atmosphere, the humour and the foreboding sense that nowhere is entirely safe in Night Vale. I am not going to do a review for the podcast...you have to hear it for yourself...it will smooth over any cracks that may appear when you try and understand what is actually happening in Night Vale. Anyway back to the book....
I am going to use both bizarre and wonderful to describe this story and the world it is set in. Though it is not entirely solid due to the constant changes in both tempo and weirdness, the story is quite pleasant. A caring mother who wants her son but is unable to get to him and a tenacious diva who wants to help...eventually. If you hold on and wrestle the wacky then there is some great parts to this novel. The world that JF and JC have created is phenomenal and it shows from the podcasts success. Night Vale may be slightly insane and complicated but it is rich with evil, good and everything in between. Angels, librarian monsters, transforming teens, hooded figures, time-transporting flamingos...it has it all.
The characters are all well written, they interact well with each other and they all add to the effect that Night Vale has on the reader/listener. (I have heard that the audio book for this novel is outstanding). Diane is caring and the one every reader can sympathise with and back. Jackie is frustrating, confusing and emotional. Cecil is hilarious as usual and the other cast of characters are brought to life straight from the world already established in the podcasts. To the negativity! The main problem this novel has is that the bizarreness can be grating...it can get rather confusing. The characters do seem to change and react inconsistently and the authors introduce and forget quite a few little plot points. Of course they need to include lots of references to the podcast but maybe too many? thats for you to decide...
Overall I love this book, the podcast and the world it is set in. It is very original, it makes you think in new ways and you can get lost mentally strolling through Night Vale when you get a spare five minutes and experiencing all the odd and interesting goings on when your there :D Please get involved, you will be pleasantly surprised...or give up after 5 mins..
If you have visited Always Trust In Books already then come back again! If you have not swung by then please do and spend some time reading our reviews, there is something for everyone!! We are also on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon UK/US and Bookbridgr. Have an awesome day!!