Patrick's Reviews > Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink
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it was amazing
bookshelves: books-i-would-blurb

Here's the short version: This book is a marvel and a wonder. You should try it.

Here's the medium version: Seriously. Try it. It might be a little outside your usual reading habits, but it's not thick of cumbersome at all. It's delightfully clear and strange and unlike anything else I've ever read. And I've read a *lot.*

I even liked it enough to give it a blurb: "As a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink have delighted me with stories that are clever, twisted, beautiful, strange, wonderful, and sweet. This book does all of that and more. I think this might be the best book I’ve read in years."

I don't say things like that lightly.

Here's the long version:

First off, I'm going to assume that if you're a fan of the Welcome to Nightvale show (Craynor and Fink's twice-monthly podcast) then you've already bought this book.

If you haven't. You should. It's everything you love about the show and so much more besides.

For the rest of you who aren't yet convinced, here's some reasons you should pick it up.

It's amazingly well written:

I know what I'm talking about here. It's a clear and easy read. Good setting. Good Character. Tension. Plus the rarest of all writing elements: humor.

What's more, they stick the ending (Which is a huge deal, as you know. Few things are worse than a good book with a flop of an ending.)

It's delightfully different:

If you're like me, you tend to do most of your reading in a familiar genre or two. And if you follow me here on goodreads, those stomping grounds are at least partly (if not mostly) in fantasy.

And that's fine. Everyone has a couple favorite flavors of fiction they like the most. But it's healthy to try new stuff. This book will give you a chance to try something different without leaving the realm of the fantastic behind entirely.


The language is lovely.

If you're a language person, there's a lot that will please you in this book.

Do you like Tom Stoppard? Odds are you'll like this.

Did you like Slow Regard? I'm guessing there's something for you here. Not because this book is written in anything resembling Auri's odd, ornate, off-kilter phrasing. But because this book has an odd off-kilterness all its own that is marvelous to read. (And honestly, this book is much less vocabulous than Slow Regard. Which is to its credit, in my opinion.)

Also, if you're an aspiring writer, you should read this book. Then you should resist the urge to do something similar yourself. You can't.

Now I'm not saying you're not as good as Fink and Craynor (Though let's be honest here, you're probably not) what I'm saying is that they've found their own wonderfully left-of-center phraseology. They've spent time developing it, polishing the craft of it, and it's absolutely beautiful.

So don't try to play their game. You can't do that any more than you can wear their skins. (Again, trust me.) Instead, just read their book, appreciate how cool it is to see folks writing something their whole own goddamn way. Then work toward finding what *your* way is. Do that instead.


It's playful and strange:

There is a sense of play here that's rare in novels. The story and the world of Night Vale is dangerous and dark, but the playfulness of the storytelling keeps things from being gritty and oppressive in the way that a lot of modern fiction (and fantasy in particular) seems to be.

There's genuine humor here. This book made me laugh. But there's more than that too, language itself is… I'm tempted to call it whimsical, but that gives the impression that it's silly. That's not it at all. It's simply….

Let me explain it this way.

The other day I was talking to a friend who compared this book to Douglas Adams. And while that comparison never would have occurred to me, I completely understood where he was coming from. The styles aren't the same. The voice and tone of the books are utterly different. But Adams would sometimes through a little narrative flourish into his books for no purpose other than the fact that he found it amusing. It's one of the best things about his books. They're a series of lovely digressions.

You'll find similar treasure in this book.

Okay. I'm done. If this hasn't convinced you, then nothing will.

Highly recommended. Absolutely worth your time on so many levels.

P.S. While you'll probably get more out of it if you've listened to the Podcast, I'm also of the firm you can also pick this book up by itself.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 28, 2015 – Shelved
October 28, 2015 – Shelved as: books-i-would-blurb
October 28, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-33 of 33 (33 new)

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message 1: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie Ok


message 2: by Ana (new) - added it

Ana This makes me so happy. Can't wait to read it.


Rob Secundus DANGIT Rothfuss "do you like fantasy *and* Tom Stoppard?" Is the question that bypasses the free will circuits of my brain and forces me to insta-purchase a book


message 4: by Artemy (new)

Artemy Can I read it if I don't listen to the podcast?


Nico I had no idea there was a Welcome to Nightvale book. that's awesome. your review definitely makes me want to read it


message 6: by Kammie (new) - added it

Kammie Well, well, well. I just finished the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay, so I'm High-Fantasy-ed out for a bit. This sounds like it will do the trick!!


message 7: by Ana (new) - added it

Ana The audiobook will be my next Audible purchase :D


Patrick Artemiy wrote: "Can I read it if I don't listen to the podcast?"

You can.


K.T. Katzmann If you compare a Night Vale novel with Douglas Adams, you get my purchase. Would the flourishes also compare to, dare I say it, Terry Pratchett?


Cookie It came in the mail last week and is next on my to-read list (I'm almost tempted to set aside my reread of The Neverendong Story but that seems almost sacrilegious)


Patrick K.T. wrote: "Would the flourishes also compare to, dare I say it, Terry Pratchett?"

Yup.


message 12: by Alex Gilvarry (new)

Alex Gilvarry I started listening to Welcome to Night Vale at work recently. I'm taking it slow so I can absorb everything but I'm really keen to read this one.


message 13: by Abby (new)

Abby "So don't try to play their game. You can't do that any more than you can wear their skins. (Again, trust me.) Instead, just read their book, appreciate how cool it is to see folks writing something their whole own goddamn way. Then work toward finding what *your* way is. Do that instead." Smart, insightful, and exactly what I needed to hear. Kudos and many thanks, as always.


message 14: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Alright Pat. I'll trust you on this as I've never heard of the podcast and I'm not sure I'm interested in it...but I loved your review. I had to read it twice along with the book blurb before adding this to the TBR mountain. I read your review the second time for pure enjoyment as you already had me hooked the first time through.


message 15: by LeAnn (new) - added it

LeAnn agree with Mike


message 16: by Marc (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marc Sold!


Jessica Are there spoilers of the podcast? I'm still catching up!


message 18: by Cristian (new) - added it

Cristian I was skeptical before, since I've been reading a lot of negative reviews for this one, but now I'm all in.


message 19: by Jared (new) - added it

Jared *sigh* You do realize that I would read the Classifieds in the local newspaper if you told me to, right?

I've added this to my To Read list.


message 20: by asherar (new) - added it

asherar yam I tried watching the radio series but just couldn't get into it even though I realized the immense potential it had.

A "book", however, is something I can definitely get into, especially when it's recommended by one of my favorite authors.


William Ritch I don't think watching a radio series is the right way to go about this.

I loved the audio book version because... well because of Cecil Baldwin.


message 22: by Marc (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marc Having never heard of Welcome to Night Vale before Pat's recommendation, I listened (devoured) to every podcast over three weeks and just now finished listening to the audio book. I feel that much of the book's enjoyment comes from the many references to characters and events found in the podcast. As a standalone book, it is just OKAY. I am, however, eternally grateful to Pat for introducing me to Welcome to Night Vale. I live in a cave.


message 23: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Just finished and I couldn't agree more. Thanks for writing such a cogent review so I don't have to!


message 24: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Just finished and I couldn't agree more. Thanks for writing such a cogent review so I don't have to!


message 25: by Olivia (new)

Olivia Question - do you need to listen to the podcast to understand this book? I'm not a podcast person but I'm really interested in the book itself. I'm new to goodreads so I don't know if anyone is going to be able to answer this...but if you can, please let me know!


message 26: by Marc (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marc I listened to all of the 70 odd episodes of the podcasts before reading the book. Even though the book is a standalone story, I feel that much of the book's enjoyment comes from the many references to characters and events found in the podcast. As a standalone book, it is just OKAY.


message 27: by Linn (new) - rated it 1 star

Linn Løkketangen Your review made me want to read it, so i did. And now im sad i read your review. This book was definitely not for me.


message 28: by Janey (new) - added it

Janey Reading this because Patrick Rothfuss says so.


F.Ango I have to be honest, a portion of myself read this book because you recommended it and I have to say, I wasn't disappointed.


message 30: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat What podcast????????


message 31: by Christie (last edited Apr 16, 2019 10:24AM) (new)

Christie I found the writing style to be a pale version of a Richard Brautigan book (whom I LOVE LOVE LOVE!). It was annoyingly like his style and not done nearly as well nor as authentic. Sorry!


message 32: by Ela (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ela This is a lovely review! Just finished reading it myself and I agree totally!


message 33: by Summer (last edited Mar 02, 2020 01:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Summer (speaking_bookish) I haven't listened to the podcast...yet. But I want to. I'm 39 pages in and I came on here to read some reviews that would convince me it's worth my time to keep going with this. because, let's face it, this book is strange. it's completely in a world of it's own and I wasn't sure what to think of it. But after reading your review I will definitely keep on keeping on. 🤞🏻


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