Welcome to Nightvale, Book Review

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night. Wherever you are I hope it’s good. This is one of those fun times where my blogging schedule means I’m writing this now but posting it far in the future (hello end of the month me, how’s it going? Ready to move house tomorrow?). But I couldn’t wait to write this post and to let you all know what I thought of the book Welcome to Nightvale. Prepare yourselves, this could get spooky.

Goodreads 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.

Have you ever listened to the Welcome to Nightvale podcast? to be perfectly honest, podcasts were something I was super into about four years ago and then I fell out of the habit of listening to them. But when I was listening to them one of the podcasts that really appealed to me was in fact Welcome to Nightvale. So while I’m not caught up on the podcast now I definitely understand the tone and the semi-humorous nature of this world.

I can imagine that, if you weren’t on board with that tone, this book would have been absolutely horrendous. One of the things you have to accept early on in Nightvale is that nothing is ever really explained. There’s an unspoken agreement between the listener and the creator of ‘ask no questions and get no answers’ which I actually think translated pretty well into the written format. Enough is explained that you can work out the plot of the book as a whole but there is still that sense of ‘just accept that this is the weird way this town works and if you dig too deep it’ll all fall apart so just stop digging ok?’. That was no easy feat for these authors to pull off so props to them for that.

I think I would call this a fantasy mystery novel with a squidge of science fiction on the side. The plot itself is as mysterious as Nightvale is, except you do get some questions answered to give this some narrative coherency. I liked that they chose to tell this story through two female characters, not because it’s particularly innovative, I just enjoy reading from a female perspective.

Honestly, in the interest of not wanting to babble on without ever actually saying anything worth reading, this is a fun book to read. Not in a laugh out loud way, more in a gentle chuckle to oneself sort of way. It might be that you enjoyed the podcast in the past, it might be that this is the catalyst you need to start you listening to the podcast. Who am I to make decisions for you? All I’ll say is that this is an incredibly weird but also incredibly fun read that will probably be different to everything else you’ve read recently, and who doesn’t want a little variety in life?

My rating: 4/5 stars

What do you think? Is Welcome to Nightvale your cup of tea? Let me know in the comments below!

Can’t wait to hear from you

J

You might also like:

 All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders

The Space Between the Stars, Anne Corlett

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