Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Reviewer: Julian E.
Stars: 3.5 stars
Welcome to Night Vale is not your ordinary book. Much of what a reader would expect a book to read like is just simply not so in this novel. This, however, occurs in such a delightful manner. Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor present a bewilderingly peculiar yet highly enjoyable set of characters and plot within the mystical desert town known as Night Vale. something rather different, or to any fan of the original podcast. All in all, I give this book a 3.5 star rating, so definitely give it a try. I think you’ll like it.
Jackie Fierro is not your every-day teenager. This is not because she’s a prodigy, or that she’s mature for her age, or that she is an early high school graduate, because she is none of those things. She is and has been, however, 19 years old for several decades and the owner of a pawnshop for just as long. Change does not bother to happen in Jackie’s life. Then, one fateful day, a shady customer approaches her, hands her a slip of paper, and vanishes. While this may be par-for-the-course in a town like Night Vale, something isn’t right about the slip and the man who gave it.
But this isn’t the only strange occurrence happening within the town. Diane Crayton, the mother of a shape-shifting 15-year-old, has lately been seeing her son’s ex-father pop-up around the town. Whether that be as a police officer, waiter, city official, Diane strives to divert her son’s peeking interest in the identity of his father while simultaneously seeking to confront him herself. But that’s not all she has to worry about; a few of her co-workers seemingly disappear without a trace, leaving behind a wake of unsettling events. The plot of Welcome to Night Vale revolves around the intertwining of Jackie and Diane’s lives and their search for answers in the curious town of Night Vale.
For how strange and sometimes confusing the story was to me, it usually managed to keep me interested with well-written characters and a fascinating world to discover and unfurl the mysteries of. Although, I found the aforementioned plot to be a little too nonsensical at times, which usually came up every instance the writers seemed to prioritize the novelty of their style of writing rather than focusing on maintaining continuity. This also affected my level of engagement, as the non-linear aspect of the story was disorienting. This may be due to the fact the book is based off of the pre-existing podcast by the same name, which might have covered a few details left untouched by the book. Despite my negative skew, I would still recommend this book purely based off of the sheer and immense whimsy of the backdrop as a whole. Night Vale seems like just such a fantastic place to explore and dive into, similar to the legendary Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series. So more specifically, I recommend this to any reader seeking