Night Vale is a small desert town where all the conspiracy theories you've ever heard are actually true. 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. She can't seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City before she herself unravels.
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. 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.
©2015 Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Fans of the podcast are likely to enjoy this audiobook. There's certainly a lot of Night Vale goodness (read: weirdness) in there and the magical balm that is Cecil's voice. But the story felt slow at times, with a lot of repetition (at least 10 instances of failing to talk to someone or find someone could have been edited out without losing anything from the story). The characters of Diane, Jackie and Josh were strong, though, and it was nice to finally solve the mystery of the man in the tan jacket with the deerskin suitcase.
Those not inducted into the off-kilter world of the desert town Night Vale are in for an awakening with the release of the first novel centred around the quirky happenings of this global phenomenon.
Beginning life as a free, fortnightly podcast in 2012, the Welcome to Night Vale series has resulted in world tours of live stage versions – including a tour to Australia earlier this year – and now a novel. The book is a complete story from start to finish, told from an omnipresent perspective, unlike the podcast which is told through a string of community radio announcements and updates by fictional radio host, Cecil.
WelcomeToNightValeAudioPart abstract comedy, part supernatural drama, part science fiction, the Welcome to Night Vale podcast explores the isolated community where there is a museum of forbidden technologies, all angels are called Erica, librarians are dangerous, and the dog park is a gateway to another realm.
The novel is a mystery told with all the quirky humour expected from writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Their unique ability to turn everyday observations on their head is reminiscent of Douglas Adams’ unique gift to do the same – think Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where Adams described spacecraft which “hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”
The story introduces a raft of new characters, with a few cameos by familiar names from the podcast. It follows three people: John is a 15 year old shape shifter who is desperate to find his father; his mother, Diane, is realising that people are vanishing from existence and she’s the only one who remembers them; and pawnshop owner Jackie, who has refused to age beyond 19 for the past forty years, is in search of a man in a tan jacket that everyone knows but no one can recall anything about.
This trio of Night Vale normality come together in search of answers that may be linked to King City, a place impossible to reach but whose name is beginning to appearing on anything written.
With a number of genuine mysteries warping the supernatural haven of Night Vale, it’s near impossible to predict how the story will end.
The audiobook is narrated by the podcast’s central radio announcer Cecil Baldwin with his exaggerated enunciation that adds to the idiosyncrasy of the storytelling. Baldwin knows the Night Vale world inside out and, for the past 4 years, has made it his narrative home. He knows the characters, old and new, and he knows just how to deliver the inspired text. The unabridged audiobook runs for 12 hours and 2 minutes and works particularly well given the audio origins of the Night Vale universe.
As a stand-alone feature, Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel works nicely as an introduction to this highly bizarre world although, as always in this kind of situation, those who continue to follow the podcast will find many pleasing salutes to what has gone before.
Read my full review and other audiobook reviews under the Entertainment section of glamadelaide dot com dot au.
Without feeling as tedious as "just like an extra long episode of the show" sounds, the book felt in many ways just that. The radio interludes and cameos of series main characters were a welcome addition to this exciting and fascinating look at some of the stuff going on around the adventures we normally hear about from Cecil.
Funny, tense and touching by turns, the book is a must for fans - and the audio book, narrated by Cecil Baldwin, is an ideal format for this story in particular.
Wonderful story. Stayed true to the WTNV style, and as always, brilliantly performed by Cecil Baldwin, who captivates the audience with his smooth voice and storytelling. Dylan Marron reprising his role as Carlos, as well as Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner lending their voices to other characters was a perfect addition. Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have done a marvelous job of creating a story that feels like an extended podcast episode, while being curteous to those who are new to the Night Vale universe.
All hail the glow cloud.
I could tell you that this book was the most interesting, fun, and different book I have ever, ever, ever come across ever, but I won't because it is illegal, in fact it is illegal for me to say anything about it. It also mentions angels, though let's pretend you did not know that since it is illegal to talk of angels also.
So in conclusion you could say I may or may not have thoroughly enjoyed this book. I did. but go check with a scientist who will hook me up to a machine, write something on his clipboard then indicate the answer to you using actual words.
I wouldn't really change anything about this book - it just wasn't my type of book.
The least interesting bit was that it was rather predictable... and tried way too hard to be "weird," and I really did not enjoy the Voice of Night Vale chapters. The most interesting aspect, I suppose, would have been the library.
"fell in love"
My understanding of the town grows deep, my love for the people also grows deep. I feel bad for the tarantula, but that is besides the point.
"I really wanted to like this"
Being an avid listener of the podcast I was coming at the bit to hear this, however it was a let down. I think the combination of a relatively dull plot and the format in which it was presented just didn't capture the charm of Welcome to Nightvale. I thought having the narration done by Cecil Baldwin would be the icing on the cake, but having him read as an outsider to the story, rather than as a key character, just made this Nightvale feel even more disconnected from the podcast. Still worth a listen, but don't get your hopes up about the quality
"For the fans really"
If you already love Nightvale then you will love this as a hugely extended episode. If you don't already love Nightvale then you will be confused and possibly angry. It's very, very surreal and does assume your previous knowledge and acceptance of, for instance, faceless old women who secretly live in your home, dog parks, sentient houses, and angels (who don't exist).
It's funny and weird and charming and disturbing as ever. If you're not already fully immersed in the world of Nightvale I would suggest you go and listen to a few of the podcasts and, if you like them, listen to all of them and then listen to this. If you dislike the first episode of Nightvale, then stop listening imediately and do not buy this book.
To be honest, the plot of the story is almost irrelevant to the world building and atmosphere so it loses a star from me.
Cecil Baldwin is obviously brilliant and no one else would be an acceptable narrator.
Oh, and Steve Carlsberg isn't such a bad guy, whatever Cecil says.
"Welcome to Nightvale the book"
If you love the podcast, you'll love this. I will say that it is not the best place to get started with nightvale but it does try to get newcomers up to speed.
Perfect for long time fans like me, or newcomers. Only down side was it was over too soon.
"Everything you'd expect from Night Vale."
Loved this book so much. Cecil's performance makes it feel just like the podcast. Recommended
"Good, but slow at times."
A good story if you're into Night Vale as a show, but it does take quite a while to get going. Once it found a decent pace I was hooked.
if you're a fan of the podcast and you're still wondering who the man in the tan jacket is and what he wants then you need this book
"Goodnight, Nigh Vale, goodnight"
i have relistened to a lot of parts, because this was my go to sleep guide. Cecil's voice is amazingly soothing. The story was much more than I thought, and exactly what i dreamed it to be. TL;DR Mandatory for thoso who listen to the podcast
"Widens the town of Night Vale"
Look, you're listening to this book because you love WTNV. So you will like this book. I got completely sucked in by the mystery and fell in love with the main characters who we haven't heard much about before. Some of the descriptions of motherhood especially will make you well up with tears. Narrated beautifully of course.
"Delightfully creepy home away from home"
A perfect splash to widen the pool of Nightvale stories. It gives you everything the podcast delivers but at a completely accessible level for those not already listening. A great story expanding on many of the denizens of that undefinable town in the middle of nowhere. A good reward and starting point, highly recommended.
"Bonkers, Scary and incredibly witty"
Having been a massive fan of the podcast for a while I was apprehensive at first at how the world of Night Vale could be translated into a novel, turns out my concerns weren't justified!
To those who do listen to the podcast it's fantastic to get a different perspective on this strange conspiracy filled town where time does not work. Where in the podcast you are always seeing the city from Cecil's point of view, in the novel you actually feel part of it, seeing people go through their everyday lives and not always questioning the strange things happening around them.
For those new to the world of Night Vale it will be a 'culture shock' at first to hear some of the bizarre things that are described in the novel, but you'll soon feel at home.
It's incredibly witty, bizarre but also had a lot of heart, which is what Night Vale seems to be about at the end of the day. Read it/listen to it now!
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