From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a mystery exploring the intersections of faith and science, the growing relationship between two young people who want desperately to trust each other, and the terrifying, toothy power of the Smiling God.
Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.
Joseph Fink is the creator of the Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead podcasts, and the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Welcome to Night Vale, It Devours!, and The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home (all written with Jeffrey Cranor) and Alice Isn’t Dead. He is also the author of the children’s novel, The Halloween Moon. He and his wife, Meg Bashwiner have written the memoir, The First Ten Years. They live together in the Hudson River Valley.
"But who would want to cover up the truth?" asked Nilanjana. "Besides the Secret Police, the City Council, the mayor, any number of world governments, and the invading forces from other worlds?"
Wow - I was sure I'd love this one, but, alas . . . nothing here really grabbed me. (Since this is Night Vale we're talking about, that's probably a good thing.) This episode revolves heavily around Carlos, not one of my favorite characters despite his perfect hair, and some new people who were not terribly fascinating. Basically, religious nut jobs and scientists must work together (remember - this is a fantasy) to stop a monster/sinkhole/sarlacc pit from destroying the town and all its inhabitants.
Just another day in Night Vale, and not a very interesting one at that . . .
I vacillated between three and four stars on this one because I really enjoyed it, but it felt like it was trying to say something deep-ish and important-ish about belief and science and, honestly, it just got in the way of the weird. It's not that Night Vale can't get philosophical, it just felt too...obvious in this case.
Just as weirdly fun and bizarrely tantalizing as its predecessor. Prepare to feel a pleasantly warm nihilism as the creepy town of Night Vale pits science against religion, logic against absurdity, and holds what we know to be real up to a twisted funhouse mirror.
4 stars out of 5. Spooky (but not too scary) fun. Stimulating (but not too challenging) entertainment. I actually enjoyed this one a little more than Welcome to Night Vale as its narrative style is a bit more traditional and it features fewer of the so-weird-they're-hard-to-imagine details as #1.
I have mixed feelings about It Devours!. It's a definite improvement on the first novel. It's tighter, less repetitious, has a tighter story line and relies much less on familiarity with the podcast. It was much more enjoyable and engaging. Welcome to Night Vale the novel was a bit of a slog, whereas It Devours! kept me coming back eagerly.
My main complaint--and it sits a little strangely beside my previous praise of being disconnected from the podcast--is that the story retcons (retroactively contradicts) certain events from the podcast. It made for a disconnect that I couldn't reconcile and made the book a nth degree less enjoyable than it would've otherwise been.
My other complaint is the ending. The ending is a critical part of any story to me; a mediocre story can be improved by a good ending, an excellent one can be ruined by a bad ending. From previous experience with the podcast, I wasn't surprised by Fink & Cranor taking their neat ending and muddying it up. They don't like neat endings, because life is not neat.
Which is true...but the messiness of life often makes for a less definite and less satisfying ending.
It's a thing that works better on the podcast itself, but as an append to the novel felt heavy-handed. It's also this thing that they do, like they just can't help but contradict themselves, building up hope and humanity and positivity so far...before they feel the need to remind you the universe is an uncaring place. Which again...is true, but it makes a considerably less feeling of satisfaction as an ending.
It's a good story, and I enjoyed it a lot. I would recommend it...but not without caveats and not without reservations.
Night Vale is a compelling and strange place, filled with odd people, secret service agents, shapeshifting teenagers, invisible farms, and the Glow Cloud. I loved the first novel Welcome To Night Vale and I loved this one just as much, although not quite. This world is absurd, at times disturbing, and always laugh out loud funny.
Much of this story is hard to believe, even for the people who experienced it. After all, to believe in the back helicopters that circle overhead, monitoring everything we do, that is easy. To believe in the distant, flitting UFOs that use our world as their laboratory or, a more horrifying possibility, their playground, that is simple. But to believe in a giant centipede, worshiped as a god, arriving here from some other desert world? Well, that is a lot to ask.
The story begins and ends with the house that doesn’t exist. Nilanjana, a scientist, and her boss, Carlos, suspect that there was be a link between the house, the strange desert world inside the house, and the earthquakes that have been opening up around Night Vale, swallowing building and people whole. Their experiments are always stopped by the City Council, which leads to hypotheses that they may be hiding something. Further investigation, which is not science, leads Nilanjana to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, who has bucket loads of faith, but doesn’t realise that his religion isn’t talking about having their sins devoured in a metaphorical sense. As people continue to disappear, Nilanjana and Darryl find they need each other to stop whatever is happening, which means combining his faith and her science together. Recipe for disaster, right?
This story feel more complete than the book proceeding it, and it felt like there was a philosophical story as much as anything as you examine the different realms of science and religion. The characters, Nilanjana and Darryl, were strange and interesting in their own way and I really became invested in them. The cast of supporting characters was also amazing, such as Nilanjana’s lab partner Luisa, whose science experiment is to do with being visibly disappointed in potatoes, and Pamela who used to be Mayor but didn’t really want the job as she just loved giving emergency press conferences and was now the Director of Emergency Press Conferences in which she creates emergencies so she can hold a press conference.
Everything in this world is strange, nothing is familiar. And it just is, no explanation needed.
She peeled open the foil and took a large bite from her sandwich. There was no pita. It was just falafel balls, vegetables, maple syrup, and tahini, Wheat and wheat by-products were still banned in Night Vale because of the incident back in 2012 when all wheat and wheat by-products turned into snakes. There had been a great many injuries, but the greatest injury was the burden the subsequent ban put on people who loved bread.
The creativeness of this place and everything to do with it is just off the charts!
My only hold ups were some the writing, mainly that I didn’t get a sense of scale in relation to the pits or the centipede who has come to devour them all. The ending was also a little disappointing when it was found out what was causing the earthquakes and why. Also the final outcome, religion vs science, was underwhelming as well, but at least Nilanjana got some new friends out of it all. Small gripes really, but it does stop it from being a perfect book.
Fun note: the first book I reviewed here on Goodreads was the first Welcome to Night Vale novel. While it is not an anniversary per se, in a sense it is. After all, time is weird in Night Vale.
It Devours!? Oh yeah, I’ve read that book.
This is a book about science and religion. Note, I did not say science vs. religion. Fink and Cranor seem to be going to great lengths to avoid that can of worms. This is a… kind book on the topic. While it discusses the viewpoints of both sides, it seems to be saying that both can bring good or bad things into the world depending on how you use it.
“I was raised by a math professor. I was raised reading Richard Feynman books. Science has always been very important to me. But I was also raised religiously Jewish—going to synagogue at least once week, my father having Shabbat dinners at home. We really wanted to write a book about science and religion as modes of human thought that have their uses and their dangers, [which] should be considered for what they are.
The stance we would take is, the conflict’s kind of fake. Or, it’s not fake, but it’s coming from the extremes of religion, for instance. The religious people [who] deny the basics of science are loud, but they’re in the vast minority. There are lots of religious people who are also scientists, or just religious people who completely trust in the process of science.”
This is a book that is interested in exploring the differences, and similarities in both topics. It is not antagonistic towards anyone… unless you happen to be a giant centipede intent on devouring things, or part of a bunch of cloaked figures that usually hang around dog parks making static noises. If you happen to be one of those two categories, then yes, it could be a bit tense for you (and if you happen to be a giant centipede reading this, I congratulate you on your grasp of language and figuring out how to hold something so small as to be insignificant in your presence).
I feel that this second novel is greatly improved over its predecessor. Fink and Cranor feel like they’ve grasped the novel format better, and have found voices in Night Vale that don’t all feel like a copy of Cecil. In fact, very few of my complaints from the first book show up in this at all, save for a few awkward transitions. The novel is such an improvement, that I really can’t wait to see if there’s another Night Vale novel. The first felt like an interesting experiment, this one feels like a welcome addition to Night Vale’s bizarre world.
The writing has actually improved so much that there were sections that I sat there legitimately impressed by what they were conveying. The last couple of pages sum up the book beautifully and really take their writing to another level. All in all, I am very pleased with this book and it's one of my favorites so far this year.
Side note: I’m becoming increasingly convinced that Night Vale’s vague yet menacing government agency are watching me. Not only do the TV news anchors have mine and my wife’s names, but I made a joke in my first review about unlimited teeth inside some editions of the book. What’s the first thing you see when you open the cover? Teeth… so… many… teeth…
On the one hand, this book does continue the tradition (begun in the previous book) of being profoundly anti-heterosexual and deeply anti-male. Once more, all heterosexual relationships are presented as stupid, silly, awkward -- hetero love scenes are just kind of...elided over...while homosexual intimacy is described in loving detail & sincerity. You can tell where the authors' hearts are, but it makes for a sort of lopsidedness which Tumblr would send death threats over were it reversed so that straight relationships were all good and gay ones were all fumbling idiocy. And again, all men are buffoons while all women are earnest heroines. It's tiresome and, by now, a cliche straight from 1990s sitcoms.
Also, while we do learn more about the nature of "mountains" and the Desert Otherworld, it really feels like they've forgotten everything they'd previously written about the Joyful Congregation of the Smiling God. COMPLETELY forgotten it. Forgotten it so thoroughly that this narrative doesn't actually fit in with the rest of the series if you remember ANY of what had previous been established about the JCotSG -- because Fink & Cranor certainly don't remember a bit of what they'd previously created. That's frustrating and more than a little disappointing.
BUT...its plot and characters are FAR better than the previous entry! The former is far more focused, far more engaging & far more gripping, while the latter are far more interesting, far more sympathetic & far more enjoyable. Nilanjana in particular feels like an actual PERSON rather than a hollow puppet serving an authorial agenda (as in the previous novel), so i think they might be learning how to better write women -- good news, given that they seem to intend for women to be the protagonists of every book & the prime movers in the show.
It also helps that the story is directly related to my field!
I don't regret reading this and I'm far more likely to re-read it than the previous entry. It's fun. It's a good read. It just has some inescapable issues. So if you can ignore the contempt for men and clear heterophobia, and can forget everything from one of the longest-running plot-threads/mysteries of the series -- maybe by pretending this book is set in an alternate continuity? -- you can have a great time in this trip to Night Vale!
This was a pleasant surprise - the first book released had quite a different tone to the podcast, whereas It Devours! felt much more familiar.
It can't have hurt that this time around we're focusing on a character, Nilanjana, who's a scientist that works with the perfect Carlos. He brings with him a familiar cast, and the settings are mostly ones we've heard of before as well. It all combined to leave me feeling much more like this was a Nightvale I knew (as much as you can really know a town which is defined by its unpredictability), and the book was the stronger for it.
The overall tone is much more in line with Nightvale as well - the more dire the situation, the more it's misdirected with humour and wordplay, until a threshold is reached and the seriousness is allowed to settle in. And there's plenty of seriousness to find here, because at it's core this book can be boiled down to the age old game of "Science vs Faith" - and no spoilers, but that's traditionally a game where nobody wins, because nobody actually has the rulebook. This is Nightvale, though, and they're a town well-used to games without ends.
This was a good book, one I had a fun time with, and still not quite like anything else. The physical book is gorgeous, too, that mouthful of teeth really pops right out of the yellow. All round, definitely one I'd recommend for fans of the podcast, and something I'll be using to try and tempt non-fans into this world.
I liked the plot of this one more than the first WtNV novel (much more focused!) and the characters were good. I couldn't shake my feeling that the more philosophical point was heavy-handed here though. Religious belief vs scientific inquiry is a very difficult argument to tackle, and WtNV is weird, surreal, and too *silly* in some ways to mesh with that well. I think perhaps this works better in the bitesize podcast stories with Cecil intoning the pithy deep but weird quotes, whereas in a longer story it does get dragged out and forced more.
What really made me wonder about It Devours though is that the whole Smiling God congregation/religion did NOT feel the same as the podcast storyline. I don't remember all the developments from the podcast and time IS weird in Night Vale, but um, I did not remember Kevin as some sort of prophet/creator of the scary toothy cult. Kevin was legit effed up and creepy and the Smiling God cult of the podcast is bloody and threatening and such, but here (post those events) it's... almost tame and prosaic. And wasn't it linked to Strexcorp...? I need to relisten to some episodes. But basically I felt disappointed in the rather comfy Darryl version of the Smiling God. And sorry, a giant centipede is not the same thing or as scary as Kevin's sunshine happiness BS and literal delight in blood and gore for decor. About the only similarity between the podcast Smiling God and the It Devours Smiling God is the horrible smiling.
Another absolutely wonderful novel about the strangest of all desert towns, Night Vale. The second original novel of the Night Vale series, this is just as fun, looney, mysterious as the first. You will devour it.
So this book was a bit of a whirlwind. I will say that I wanted to keep reading this, even through the million tangents (because oh my god there were so many tangents.) I get that this entire town is quirky and I liked most of the little anecdotes, but it distracted from the main story so much that I sometimes forgot where we were with them. I really loved the humor and the atmosphere of it all. I liked the discussion on religion and science, and how people could have respectable discussions and agree to disagree politely.
The sky once loved a certain rock. But millennia of erosion transformed the rock to dust. The sky, not understanding, still signals for its friend who abandoned it. The rock never knew about the sky. The rock only loved the wind that was slowly eroding it.
I liked the absurdity of the whole town. I liked Nilanjana and her way of thinking. The ending was a little all over the place - there were too many twists and not enough time spent to explain them so it was disappointing to know what you were expecting to be a satisfying finale to, like, not be satisfying at all? It felt rushed because of that "YOU THOUGHT!" thing. I still enjoyed it though. On a good day you could convince me to give this 4 stars, but I'm gonna stick with 3.5 for now.
P.S. THE GRAPHICS IN THIS ARE MY FAVORITE THINGS EVER
 After a good night's sleep and some pondering:
So this is the 2nd Welcome to Night Vale novel (not including the scripts) and the first book didn't live up to my expectations. And now that I've finished book two, I'm just not sure which one is the worst offender. Is this going to be another WtNV novel that we (the WtNV fandom) are all collectively going to never mention again?
Just like the first book, It Devours! wasn't bad necessarily. And it was at least somewhat faster paced and more coherent than the first book Welcome to Night Vale. More coherent doesn't necessarily mean more interesting, though, but it also wasn't less interesting, I guess?
Still, I had high hopes that the writing would at least be better than the first novel and it just wasn't. I'm sorry, I just don't think Fink & Cranor have got the hang of writing novels. Podcasts? Hell yes (big fan of Night Vale Presents!). Novels, not so much. I've tried to figure out what it is that bothers me so much about the style. I think Fink & Cranor are just really good at 'showing' things by insinuating, leaving things unsaid, or quirkily (this is now a word) describing them in the voice of Cecil or the other WtNV characters. After all, a podcast is just disembodied voices, and that's all you've got to work with, so you've got to be creative in your storytelling (and they are). With novels however, I think they are just too excited about all the space they've got to work with so that their writing becomes somewhat... unimaginative? The philosophical parts are absolutely fantastic (I wasn't expecting anything less), but they describe a lot and when it comes to action and movement it's all just bland.
I'm not sure what bothers me more, the style or the fact that the book is so inconsistent with podcast canon that I just don't know where to begin. I'm not the first one to have mentioned the fact that the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God is entirely unlike what it is in the podcast. Where is StrexCorp? Where are all the conspiracy theories? Then there are the characters. I just did not recognise podcast Carlos in book Carlos, especially his attitude towards the time he spent in the desert otherworld. Etc etc etc.
As for the characters: I liked the main characters (new and old) just fine, but the most interesting characters were in the background: the helicopter pilot and Larry Leroy (and also Gordon, somehow? Why, why do I feel this way?!)
All in all, I suppose I have to say that once again I'm disappointed, but I also have never-ending love for Welcome to Night Vale so I'll consume whatever is produced anyway *shrug*
Easily the best thing to come out of this novel is a couple of reviews calling it (and I'm literally citing one of them, but it's come up in different variations) "being profoundly anti-heterosexual and deeply anti-male". Thank you, universe, for that gem. (I wholeheartedly disagree, btw, but then I'm neither male nor heterosexual so I really shouldn't speak for the victims of this book. /s)
This story is more along the typical standards for story lines, compared to the first one. Which, for me, puts it on a different level from the first one. More of an organized storyline, meaning; very orderly and controlled chaos, compared to the first - which was a lot of random chaos as well as a chaotic story line. Hard to explain unless you’ve read both. Missed the random craziness the first one had, but this was still a great read. All in all a great book, and hit five stars, but didn’t make it to my favorites.
words cannot express how much welcome to night vale means to me. i wish they could so that people would understand and maybe (if they haven't already) fall deeply in love with this incredible world.
it has taken me four months to finish this book and it's not because i didn't like, but the total opposite. i loved it so much that i did not want to ever finish it. i cried and laughed and i was in complete awe so many times, it is spectacular and emotional and it gives you so much to think about.
the writing is (as usual when it comes to welcome to night vale) unique and precious and smart and thoughtful and i will never get over it. the plot was fantastic and the plot twist just... ;--; i cried. i cried a lot. i love these humans, especially carlos. nilanjana is a sweetheart who deserves the world. and it was so so good to see jackie and diane and josh (i am so proud of him i cannot believe my SON).
and cecil. he was not much present in this book but he was always there, like he always is, caring and loving and wonderful and supportive. i am truly tearing up, he has been there for me when no one else was, with soothing words and insightful advice and i feel so loved every time i hear his voice and i feel heard even though he is the one talking. so many time his voice was the only thing keeping me sane and i will never be able to thank these people for bringing him into my life.
wow i'm getting too emotional i'm sorry. long story short, this book means a lot to me, please read it. and listen to the podcast, it will completely change your life.
I would highly recommend LISTENING to the Night Vale books if you're at all interested. Listening to them ties them in perfectly with the podcasts, and surrounds you with the vast desert wasteland, circled by mountains that do/do not exist (depending on your beliefs), in a way that reading it just wouldn't do.
To get a few quick things out of the way:
"INTERLOPER!" & "It Devours!? Yeah, I've read that book."
I'm farther along in the podcasts now than when I read the first book, which is to say that I have actually started listening to the podcasts now. I wish I had started the podcasts before the first book, but it just took me a little bit to get used to the weirdness that is completely normal in Night Vale.
I'm still only about halfway through the podcasts which is becoming less and less halfway because they keep making more podcasts. (Not that I'm complaining.) It didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. There were things I remember from the first book that haven't really come up in the podcasts yet, and things in the podcast that I could connect here. There are little things that happen in the later podcasts that you will know of because they are mentioned in the book (and some that are openly contradictory), but then again it's Night Vale so it might just be a matter of if you believe those things happened or not.
Start wherever you like, podcasts or books, but I would read the two books in order.
This has been a review from the faceless old woman who secretly lives in your house.
So back when the first WTNV came out I read it and it took me like a month to get through and I absolutely HATED it. I rated it one star! Looking back I think I should probably give it another try because I may have been ...a bit unfair. In my defense I don't like change and it was definitely a big change from the podcast.
I decided to give this one a try because the new book about the Faceless Old Woman sounded interesting and I figured I might as well read the whole series, and I ended up really liking it! There's a lot of great stuff about science and religion in here and I really like the main character [and the cameos we get from Carlos!].
I'll have to see if I feel different reading the other one again but I feel like they MIGHT have toned the weirdness just a BIT in this one, which is a good idea because weird little 20 minute chunks of WTNV are very different than a 9 hour audiobook of WTNV. Anyway, glad I gave this a chance! Definitely a cool Night Vale story.
Eu amo Welcome to Night Vale, e esse livro não decepcionou! It Devours! é uma comédia/mistério sobrenatural sobre ciência, fé, amor e pertencimento, ambientada em uma cidadezinha do interior de Indiana, Estados Unidos, onde todas as teorias da conspiração são reais e fantasmas, anjos, alienígenas e comida invisível fazem parte do dia a dia.
Eu me diverti MUITO lendo esse livro. A história tem como protagonista uma cientista nova na cidade que quer desvendar o mistério por trás dos acontecimentos que, aos poucos, estão destruindo Night Vale. Para isso, ela se une a um membro devoto da Igreja do Deus Sorridente e tenta unir os pontos antes que seja tarde demais.
Uma das minhas coisas favoritas sobre a experiência de leitura foi como o livro sempre parecia estar chegando ao fim. Quando tudo fazia sentido e a solução do mistério estava nas nossas mãos, uma reviravolta mostrava que estávamos errados. No final, a explicação consegue unir as pistas deixadas ao longo da história e de repente tudo faz sentido, como todo bom livro de mistério deveria ser.
Gostei bastante do jeito que os autores retrataram a religião aqui. A Igreja do Deus Sorridente é uma sátira, obviamente, mas o livro consegue fazer a crítica sem ser ofensivo ou desrespeitoso. Sempre acho interessantes histórias que abordam religião, por ser um tema delicado para mim, e curti ler sobre esse Deus, seus fiéis e as pessoas por trás da igreja.
A exploração sobre pertencimento também me cativou. Nilanjana, a cientista, é uma mulher negra que chegou recentemente a Night Vale. Ela busca uma forma de se sentir parte dessa comunidade no meio do deserto, mas tudo é estranho demais: os habitantes, o tempo, a TV, a rádio local... Como ela encontrará seu lugar? A jornada é linda de acompanhar.
Para mim, Welcome to Night Vale é um dos trabalhos mais interessantes que temos hoje na ficção. O universo criado, com sua estranheza e fantasia, nunca perde a graça. Estou muito feliz por retornar a esse mundo (e por ter mais um livro da série para ler! E por ainda ter o podcast que não cheguei a terminar!). Recomendoooooo!
Now having read both Welcome to Night Vale and now It Devours!, I can definitively say that I enjoyed It Devours! more than its predecessor. The primary issues I found with Welcome to Night Vale (the scattered, unfocused plot) felt more resolved in It Devours! The main theme: science v. religion, thereby fact v. faith, was thoroughly explored and fleshed out among the plot and the characters. I LOVED that this novel fleshed out The Congregation of a Smiling God, which is featured throughout the podcast plenty of times but never explored. The concept of this novel was fun, focused, and entertaining, and just like the podcast is full of delicious and surprisingly insightful quotables. Of course it isn't perfect, because as I've said before I do think this story translates much better in the short form of the podcasts. I don't think full length novels are the best format for the stories of Night Vale. That being said, I did enjoy it and would probably read another Night Vale if it were published.
I've been a fan of the podcast "Welcome To Night Vale" for years so I was pretty sure what weirdness awaits me in this novel. And I totally loved it! Nilanjana was an interesting main character that gave us a different take on Night Vale than what we usually know from Cecil, with her being both a scientist and a person who didn't grow up in the community. The clash of Nilanjana's scientific attitude and Darryl's religious views was captivating to follow as their relationship grew. We never really got much insight into the Joyous Congregation in the podcast so this novel was a treat about that part of the community as we learnt a lot about it this time. Fink's and Cranor's writing was fantastic, as always. Overall, I loved this novel even more than the first one but I think it was simply due to the main cast of characters who were more up my alley this time. Can't wait for more of the show and more novels!
And I'll tell you, it's a wild ride. I hadn't read / listened to anything of Night Vale before, although maybe I should have. The book wasn't harder to get into because of that, but it is not your typical read! On one hand, it's a crazy mix of stuff that doesn't seem to make much sense, but on the other - it makes perfect sense and you know that's exactly the way it has been intended. (Don't ask me how this works, it's Night Vale. Nobody knows how anything works.) It's pretty wild!
If you enjoy bizarro and scifi / urban fantasy comedies, you should enjoy this.
My only previous experience with Welcome to Night Vale was hearing a couple podcasts of a very interesting small town, a desert equivalent of Twin Peaks, where conspiracy theories always came true, where W.E.B. DuBois won World War I for the allies, and where strange maladies like throat spiders are commonplace. The two authors, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, have a special talent for being equally droll to all sides in a cultural dispute. In this novel pitting devoutness against science, it would be easy to simply make a comical parody of the religious evangelists. Fink & Cranor are more subtle, subjecting scientists to spoofs about how they will knock on doors and run away, develop hypotheses such as "Everything is frightening and we should hide," and act in such glamorous fashion, the scientists get written up in gossip magazines.
The authors really are quite clever, and this book is one of the few that offers a laugh or two per page, a milestone many books claim but few deliver. The problem with the particular It Devours! in hand is similar to the problem of expecting a well-structured novel from Monty Python or The Firesign Theatre. The Night Vale duo might better have tried to publish an atlas of Night Vale, or a similar comical analysis not requiring plot development. Because as a story, this novel is fairly pedestrian.
Oh, sure, you have your alternate universes and secret police helicopters and giant centipedes, surrounded by intriguing one-liner jokes, but the character development seems B-movie. Yes, some stories need to be told that way, but this one doesn't feel exciting in the telling. The authors get brownie points for little details. The ending appears to be on the verge of ending melodramatically, even sappily, happy, until it doesn't. But the effort to get a little serious at the end stumbles in its own efforts to meta-analyze Night Vale from the view of the mountain. Residents of Night Vale don't believe in mountains, the authors even said so.
It would be fun to see mock social-scientific studies of Night Vale, or graphic novels of one or two characters. Taking the town at its silly, superficial surface may be the best way to approach the imaginary world created here. The typical printed novel just doesn't live up to the visions that the authors have for the town itself.
I’ve had this on my shelf for close to year, and finally got around to reading it! I used to be a huge fan of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, but stopped listening a couple years ago because I personally found that the content felt a bit repetitive. I also read the first book and didn’t find it really held my interest, but thought it was still worth it to give the second one a shot. I’m glad I did! It was an interesting, compelling read. While not plot-dependent on the podcast or the first book, if you take in the content out-of-order you probably will spoil yourself, just as a heads up.
Sometimes it’s okay to find something beautiful without correctly understanding it.
The book itself ran me through a lot more emotions than I expected it to. Honestly, I was almost in tears at the end of the first chapter. No joke. There’s just enough of a mystery that you’re not quite sure what’s going on without encroaching too far into nonsense, which could have been easy to do with a world filled with such fantastical elements. There were a few places where I didn’t feel quite as invested in the story as I could have, but it really held my attention for the most part.
Sometimes where you live is just a place, no matter how long you live there.
I really adored the main characters. Nilanjana was great and I liked getting to see her struggles as an outsider in Night Vale. I found Darryl really interesting as well, especially with his background and how it tied in to some events towards the end of the book. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters didn’t have much characterization. Carlos was given some depth, but I felt like the rest of the scientists and Darryl’s friends all seemed like caricatures and were quite one-dimensional.
When considering our place in the universe, we must recognize that by having this one position we are negating every other possible position we could have.
So, overall it was a fun read and I would definitely recommend it to fans of Welcome to Night Vale or to anyone else who finds themselves interested in it. I don’t see myself picking it up again in the future, but I definitely don’t regret reading it!
It pains me to say that once again I did not enjoy a novel related to my very favorite podcast. It is so sad that Welcome to Night Vale brings me so much joy in podcast format but both books well, to be honest...bored me completely.
I was thinking a lot about it and I think I know what happens. The expanded stories, in my view, end up feeling a lot like fanfiction and I unfortunately am not a fanfic fan. It seems repetitive because they keep retelling what is canon for the podcast fans all the time, and having so much time "on air" made some of our favorite Night Vale residents seem off-character.
Also, in the audible version I think that if at least Dylan had narrated Carlos it could have felt better but with Cecil narrating them all he steps out of his own role as our host and stays in a weird narrator position that did not fit for me.
Anyway, it's a shame. I wish so much I had loved this one but...meh.