Welcome to Night Vale

night-vale-final-uk-coverby Jeffrey Cramer and Joseph Fink

Review by KM

Welcome to Night Vale has a special place in my heart. That place is probably hard to find and filled with monsters that could kill you on sight, but what part of my heart isn’t filled with those?

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book since it was announced. Of course, with most things that I eagerly await the release of, I totally forgot about it once it was released. I was only reminded when the book came into the library a few days ago and was dropped into my lap by a kind coworker, who had ordered the book when I requested it months ago.

It was worth the wait.

Summary

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.

Musings

Alright, I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed in the beginning. I spent a lot of 2013 reading Welcome to Night Vale fanfiction. I am well-versed in certain popular headcanons involving Cecilos or Desert Bluffs. I went into this book not thinking of Night Vale, but thinking of Carlos and Cecil. This was a mistake.

Night Vale is much more than Carlos or Cecil. It’s Old Woman Josie, the Glow Cloud, Dana, Maureen, and so many more. It’s just normal that I tend to center on Cecil and Carlos when Cecil is the narrator for
most of the episodes (although my husband will insist that Kevin is an even better one).

The novel centers around Jackie Fierro, Diane, and Josh. It is filled with the same uncanny language that makes the podcast so amazing. I had to read a lot of it aloud, to get the full impact (even though my voice is definitely not as pleasing as Cecil’s).

It took me longer to read because I was insistent on reading aloud, so that eliminated lunch breaks at work. Overall, it left me wanting to catch up on the episodes of Night Vale I missed. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was still brilliant.

My favorite quote has to be, “The search for truth takes us
to dangerous places,” said Old Woman Josie. “Often it takes
us to that most dangerous place: the library. You know who
said that? No? George Washington did. Minutes before librarians
ate him.”

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