Book: Welcome To Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Narrated by Cecil Baldwin
Published October 2015 by HarperPerennial|12 hours, 3 minutes (audio) and 401 (print)
Where I Got It: I own the audio book and I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: Adult…I have no clue what genre to put this book in. Um, general fiction…but that’s too broad, and doesn’t represent anything of this book. It’s a little bit of everything. Let’s go with that.
From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Valepodcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves…no matter where we live.
Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.
Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “King City” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.
Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.
Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “King City”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to talk about the Welcome To Night Vale book! I’m a huge fan of the podcast, and I even dressed up as Cecil for Halloween. I listened to the audio book for Night Vale (of course) but I also wanted to see how Night Vale was in print, and I wanted to wait until I finished both before I reviewed it.
It took me a few days to finish the audio (I generally don’t listen to audio books on weekends, which is why it took me a little longer than normal to finish it), and it was completely awesome! I loved the story, even though there were times where it was really repetitive and repeated something that happened a couple of paragraphs earlier almost word for word. And of course, the narration was completely awesome, which isn’t surprising, considering Cecil is also the voice of the Night Vale Podcast.
The book is very much how I pictured a Night Vale book to be, even though I wasn’t sure what a Night Vale book would entail. It stands alone really well, so if you’ve never listened to the podcast, you jump right in, and know what’s going on. For fans of the podcast, there are plenty of nods to the podcast, which was really fun. But if you haven’t listened…you should, but it’s not necessary to this book, because it is very much a stand-alone book. There is something about the Night Vale book that lends itself well to an audio book format, and I think that’s largely because it’s based on a podcast, which is very much an audio…thing. I’m not sure what word I’m looking for, but Night Vale the book is something I very much recommend as an audio book.
I didn’t enjoy it in print at all, though. It took me a long time to get through the print edition- around 2 1/2 months- and part of it is the weirdness of December, where I didn’t read a single thing. But part of it is that I had a hard time getting through Night Vale in print form. I think the main reason why Night Vale in print didn’t work for me was because I am so used to listening to Night Vale that reading it was really weird, and I couldn’t quite get over that. However, since I had listened to the audio and then read the book, I did hear Cecil’s voice in my head when I was reading it.
5 stars. Honestly, I really do recommend reading the Night Vale novel- but I’d definitely go for the audio book, because it’s fantastic whether you’re a fan of the podcast or not. As for print, I’m really hesitant to recommend it for the reasons I mentioned above, but go for whatever format floats your boat. And you definitely don’t need to be a podcast listener to enjoy it or understand what’s going on in the book (but really, if you haven’t listened to the podcast, you need to go do that now).