Book Review: Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink

Title: Welcome to Night Vale

Author: Joseph Fink

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, Humor

Publisher: Harer Perennial

Published: October 20, 2015

Page Amount: 421 pages

Goodreads Summary: 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. 

Why Read: I wouldn’t say I’m an avid listener of, but certainly am a subscriber to, the Night Vale podcast. It’s confusing, odd, and I never know what’s happening – but there’s something hilarious about listening to the “local news” of a town that doesn’t exist. So when the book came out, I naturally had to acquire it.

Review: This was one of those rare books that it actually took me some time to read. The writing is confusing, and I was never sure what was actually happening, which to be fair, is about what happens when I listen to the podcast. But having the content in written form made it all the more obvious how utterly confusing and mystifying the show is. Question: Is Joseph Fink on acid? Answer: Probably

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. Once I got ahold of the strange way the book was written and got attached to the main characters, Diane and Jackie, the writing had a strange way of sucking me in. Granted, I also read the entirety of this quite-long book on my phone on my morning walks to get coffee at the office for around a month.

However strange it was, Welcome to Night Vale, ended up being a real pleasure to read. Joseph Fink has this gift for writing in odd (crazy odd) metaphors that you really don’t understand but they have  way of really getting to the heart of an issue that normally isn’t really possible to put into words. Josh, Diane’s son, for example is a teenager and is a constant shape shifter. And while yes, that is odd, it also says something about how teenagers are constantly changing people who never really have decided on what they want to become at the present moment.

Weird, I know.

I would recommend this though to those who have the patience to do a bit of slogging. It takes time and effort but sometimes, the good books are the ones that do – so give it a shot this holiday season and you might be disappointed but I can guarantee you’ll be confused.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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