Welcome to Night Vale
by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
I don't often review books that I could not finish but I really wanted to with this one. Sometimes I can't finish books because I just don't like them, because something about them is just bad in my opinion, but this one... This one is unusual, because there wasn't anything inherently bad about this book, it just wasn't my cup of tea really.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.
So... Just to be clear: I could not finish this book. I could only get about a third of the way into it before giving up. But I also think it's a good book and I would recommend it to other people -- which is why I'm reviewing it anyway.
This was one of the books I've been most anticipating this year. I'm not a fan of the podcast, but that's purely because I'm not a fan of podcasts in general (I lack the attention span required to listen without zoning out/getting distracted)... I tried listening to some of it and I'd seen so many amazing quotes and edits on tumblr for it and found myself wishing it were a book instead. And then it was and I was so, so, so excited for it.
The book...it kind of left me a wee bit disappointed but in a lot of ways it did actually live up to the high expectations I had for it.
It was wonderfully weird, it had a really awesomely distinctive writing style, and the story and the characters were really original. And, perhaps my favourite part, was that amongst all that quirk and oddness there were moments and quotes that were actually really poignant.
The only issue I had - and the reason I couldn't finish the book - was that while I did adore and appreciate the writing style, it also got a bit tedious. It's the kind of writing style that I love but in moderation. I'd find myself getting frustrated when I'd have to go through page after page of meandering narrative before it got to the point...and it's not so much that those parts were bad, the problem was that while it was well written, that style didn't lend itself very well to driving the plot forward.
It's like...you know that feeling when you're really excited about going somewhere and the driver takes the longest possible route, and sure the scenery is lovely but you just want to get there, you know? Reading this book felt that way to me. That feeling of impatience, and it was slowly driving me towards a reading slump because I wanted to be reading a book that would hook me, a book that was fast paced and this was not that book.
So yes. The book is incredibly original and I would really recommend it to fans of the podcast or anyone who likes their stories to be quirky and bursting with originality (especially if you prefer slower paced stories)... It just wasn't the book for me, because while I appreciated its strengths, it was just the wrong type of story at the wrong time.