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Review: Welcome to Night Vale

Book 1 in the series


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 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.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

“She understood the world and her place in it. She understood nothing. The world and her place in it were nothing and she understood that.”

I really liked this book. I was already a huge Night Vale fan, but on this second read I feel that I was better able to appreciate the book on its own merits rather than the fact that it’s an extension of an already beloved series.

Things I liked specifically about the book itself:

Jackie and Diane being complex, at times likeable and unlikable, human beings rather than the tropes and/or cardboard cutouts a grossly large amount of female characters are.

Female friendships that develop naturally and are believable

The take on the complexities of the mother-child relationship.

The way Fink is able to use the same line over and over again while each time doing so in a way that is fresh and changes the way we consider a single phrase each time it is reused.

The narration. I was impressed the Cecil Baldwin was able to distinctly do both the narrator job and play the character Cecil Palmer so distinctly

The book adds to the universe the podcast created. Things that were never answered in the podcast story-lines are brought to a close here. It also stands on its own – making it enjoyable to NV fans and newcomers alike (something I felt strongly that It Devours! failed to do on either side).