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Publisher's Summary

Performed by Welcome to Night Vale podcast narrator Cecil Baldwin and special guests Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner, with music by Disparition.

From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves...no matter where we live.

"Hypnotic and darkly funny.... Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in." (The Guardian)

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 deerskin 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.

©2015 Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Hypnotic and darkly funny.... Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King, and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in." (The Guardian)

"Audio is THE way to experience the Night Vale novel.... For fans, it's a must-listen." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Really wanted to enjoy this

As a fan of the podcast, I truly wanted to enjoy this book. As it stands, this cannot stand up to the podcast. Maybe 30 minute segments are better to the narrator than a 10+ hour book.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Christina
  • FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, United States
  • 10-21-15

Interesting, But Slow Going and Full of In-Jokes

I've enjoyed listening to Welcome to Night Vale (the podcast) up until recently, when it just stopped being about a cooky town and started being about them trying to tell us how weird the town is just so we don't forget. Not the point, though.

If it wasn't for the title of the book, I would have mistaken this for some high schooler's attempt to write a story for English class: full of in-jokes that only his buddies would understand and kind of bland either way.

The first few chapters are pretty slow going. Cecil Baldwin's monotone but relaxing voice is a welcome sign, but hearing him go on and on about one thing for a few sentences was exhausting and pretty aggravating, especially since it rarely had anything to do with the subject at hand. I found myself yelling at my radio (I was listening to it in the car), telling him to "GET ON WITH IT, CECIL!"

It doesn't talk too much about the characters at first, but more about the environment. Normally, not a bad sign, but when your book is based on a podcast that probably not everyone listens to, some of the jokes might go over a few heads. It felt like the authors were trying to emphasize the weirdness of the environment the two women were at than the two women themselves.

It just felt like the authors were trying to say "HEY THIS TOWN IS WEIRD! ISN'T IT WEIRD! THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM YOUR TOWN! DID I TELL YOU IT'S WEIRD?!" instead of letting the reader come to that conclusion gradually. Night Vale's strangeness is not subtle which itself is not a bad thing when presented in the right way, but at times it can just be aggravating.

Overall, it's an okay book. It had it's moments, once the story actually started going, the characters were relatable (to an extent).

Would I recommend it? Ehh, if the other person had listened to the podcast, yes. If not, then no, no I wouldn't. In the end, it's pretty much up to you if you want to listen.

45 of 57 people found this review helpful

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IMAGINE A 15 YEAR OLD BOY. NOPE THAT WAS NOT RIGHT

LAUGHINGLY HE SAID THAT'S NOT FUNNY. AND THAN HE DIED. WHEN HE COME BACK TO LIFE, HE SAID THAT'S FUNNY.

THIS HOUSE HAS THOUGHTS. THIS HOUSE IS NORMAL BECAUSE OF IT'S SHAPE. THIS HOUSE IS NOT NORMAL, BECAUSE OF IT'S SHAPE.

I made it 47 minutes through this book. Whoever decided this book should be a top 50 horror needs to go back to washing cars. I bet this book set a record for people asking for their money back. I will join that massive group.

The narrator was not bad, but the mere fact that he read this, makes me hate him.

126 of 161 people found this review helpful

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Maybe a little too much of a good thing

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Some Things Aren't Scalable

What was most disappointing about Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor ’s story?

I had heard a lot about Night Vale, and was really interested in diving into a different style of storytelling. This is a case where what may be great as vignettes just does not translate well to a book. I still want to listen to the shorts, but unless there is a massive repository of inside jokes that I am just not cueing in on, I am not sure why this received such a massively positive response. <br/><br/>Listening to this book was how I imagine I would feel if I wallpapered my house with Dali paintings. Surrealism is great, but more so in small doses as a contrast to reality. Welcome to Night Vale as a book spends most of its energy on reinforcing the idea of how quirky it is, like a trope of a college performance art piece. And like those pieces, I feel like the implied response to this complaint is that I just don't "get it". <br/><br/>I developed no empathy for the characters, and spent most of the book hoping more time would be spent on the news updates or strange happenings. Will still try out the shorts, but probably not anything that requires serious plot/character development from this author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Best Described As Meh

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I'm sure there are some die hard Night Vale fans out there who will absolutely love this book. But as a sometimes Night Vale listener, for me the book was flat.<br/><br/>I really wanted to like this book. I didn't hate it, and there were parts of it I enjoyed, but I did not like it as much as I do the podcast and was disappointed overall.<br/><br/>The story overall was okay. I struggled because I really didn't like Diane. She was a nicely developed character, I just didn't like her, so I found myself groaning whenever the chapter was about her or Josh.<br/><br/>

Has Welcome to Night Vale turned you off from other books in this genre?

I don't read a ton of Sci-Fi or horror but I don't think this book will keep me from doing so in the future.

Which scene was your favorite?

I was expecting it to be more about the radio station. The intermittent "Voice of Night Vale" sessions were nice, but I would have preferred more of that. Although the "Carlos is my boyfriend" gag is getting old.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Welcome to Night Vale?

I think I would have preferred a collection of short stories about the citizens of Night Vale rather than one large story about a few of them.

Any additional comments?

I chose to listen to the audio book because it's narrated by Cecil and felt it would be most true to the original platform. Cecil does a good job. There is one spot where other characters join him, I thought that was weird considering it was a very small part of the whole book. I think it would have made more sense to just keep it Cecil for the whole narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Suddenly Preachy

its funny for a while, but then suddenly starts preaching on political topics and then goes back to funny. keeps repeating.

22 of 29 people found this review helpful

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An exploration of parenthood via absurdist fiction

What did you like best about Welcome to Night Vale? What did you like least?

Very well narrated, but as a non-initiated listener the book did not hold my interest all that well. If you have ever read an absurdist work before I don't think this has much to offer you unless you are deeply enamored with the source material.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Cecil Palmer is What God Must Sound Like

Middle is a bit slow but this book has the best ending I've ever heard or read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Cecil Baldwin wins

I could listen to CB forever <3

The story was rambing as Night Vale ever, but it was good listen because you didn't have to concentrate all the time to follow. Having litened to the podcast, I was comfortable with the dumbest puns and respected all the more elaborate brain twisters. I enjoyed this thoroughly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful