Book Review: Welcome to the Night Vale – Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Author: Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Publisher: Harper Collins
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 2oth 2015
Rating: 4.5/5

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale 23129410is 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.

When I received this book, I was so excited to begin reading it with it being something I haven’t come across before with having so many different aspects of the supernatural/paranormal, each one being as original as the last, keeping it exciting throughout. The thing I loved most about this book was how each character was linked together by this piece of paper that wouldn’t disappear, written on it the words ‘King City’ and how it brought all the characters together, even if it didn’t end up with a friendly encounter, forever creating a sense of mystery and wonder.

There are several main characters in this book, Jackie who owns the rather mysterious pawn shop where you can pay for things with your tears, is the first person that we come across. Jackie is the first to receive the paper from the man with the deer skin briefcase and becomes obsessed with finding out who he is and what she has to do with ‘King City’. The thing I love about Jackie is her determination and despite the fact that everyone tells her to give up on finding answers, she doesn’t give up and continues on her quest.
The second protagonist is Diane. Now this lady has one peculiar life. Her son is a shape shifter, meaning that one day he can look like a normal teenage boy and the next he can have the body of a spider and the head of a fly. Despite all the peculiarities, the thing that impressed me the most about this book is that it is the total opposite of real life. She, just like Jackie, is on a mission to find out about the man in the tan coat, as she herself as been given the impossible piece of paper. For example everyone seems to accept the fact that there are ghosts wandering around Night Vale, but can’t wrap their heads around the fact that there are mountains. Literally, it is a conspiracy in the Night Vale that mountains exist, its brilliant!

There are so many fun and exciting things that happen in this book, that it’s hard not to love it and you are always left astounded by what the residents of Night Vale come up with in terms of their conspiracy theories and their average way of living in this strange yet brilliant town. I think Fink and Cranor are both excellent authors who twist the normal and abnormal in such a way that you begin to believe everything that they say and despite all the strange happenings in the Night Vale, you can’t help yourself but wish you were also a resident of the town.

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