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  • Welcome to Night Vale

  • A Novel
  • By: Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor
  • Narrated by: Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,638
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,324

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.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This is so good, but

  • By Christopher on 04-30-16

Maybe a little too much of a good thing

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-22-16

First off, I love the WTNV podcast. I've been listening to it nearly since it started and have even gone to one of their live performances. I'm nearly done with the book, but I do have to say that I really don't like it as much as the podcast. I think part of the appeal of the shorter format is that you only get small snippets of strange things, but here, where we're given lengthy and detailed explanations of townspeople's day-to-day lives, it looses a bit of the magic. It's sort of like seeing the monster for too long or too much in a horror movie -- it ceases to be scary or interesting, it's just a costume or a puppet or a CG model.

That said, there are a lot of good individual moments and concepts, like the flamingos or the initial description of the pawn shop. Cecil's narration is fantastic as always and was the main reason I snapped up the audiobook to begin with.

Overall though, I just couldn't really get that invested in the characters or their problems (which tend to be surprisingly mundane for happening in Night Vale) and despite having a fascinating backdrop (assuming you listen to the podcast) it didn't feel like that much was done with a lot of the major set pieces besides, for example, brief trips to the Moonlight All-Night Diner and the Library.

I feel like maybe a collection of interconnected short stories or something like that might have fit the setting better, especially since that's basically how the podcast is set up.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • The Fifth Season

  • The Broken Earth, Book 1
  • By: N. K. Jemisin
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,923
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,981
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,953

This is the way the world ends. For the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great, red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal and long-dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the Earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ORIGINAL AND MOVING, EXCELLENT!

  • By Fantasy on 12-01-15

A refreshing approach to fantasy

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-16

Fantasy isn't usually a go-to genre for me, but Jemisin's style and approach is so different from anything I've read before that I'll be checking out the rest of her work.

This was a unique approach to an apocalyptic situation, and I appreciated the conceit that such large, nearly world-ending events (the titular Fifth Seasons) happen with some regularity in this world.

The triple storyline was a wonderful narrative choice and mostly ameliorated my only real nitpick which was that the pacing seems a bit odd if you consider the events of each of the separate storylines as a whole. Syenite's story has the most action (both literally and as far as the number of events which happen during her portions) while Essun and Demaya don't do quite as much. Other than that, the rest of the story was incredibly solid (admittedly, it didn't quite hit the 'blow me totally out of the water' point for me, but I'd give this a good 90/100 for something more nuanced than a 5 point scale).

I'll admit a large part of the reason I grabbed this book out of all of Jemisin's was because of Robin Miles' narration. I loved her work on Nnedi Okorafor's 'Binti' and had been meaning to read something by Jemisin anyway. I was not disappointed!