Welcome to Night Vale

  • by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor
  • Narrated by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, Dan Bittner
  • 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Extremely Entertaining

I am one of those who have not yet listened to the podcast. I feel strongly that this book stands on its own feet. I am absolutely sure, however, that it would be even better if I knew the references and inside jokes. A great to really great experience.

It was oddly soothing and anxiety inducing at the same time. I found the story very engaging and not slow at all, as some other reviewers have stated. There were a few spots where the narrative trail faltered, ever so slightly, but they were de minimus at worst.

At its heart, this is a story about belonging- whether to a family or a town. The blurred lines of life that drive us into each other's stories. Our hang ups and fears that hold us back, along with the moments where we overcome and change. Very well done and filled with allegory.

If you don't like the Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks, or the like, you almost certainly won't like this. If you aren't a fan of circular or flowery writing, you will hate this. If you like having ordinary things turned into bizarre thoughts and ideas, you'll love it. If you can understand dark humor and allegory, you'll get it completely.

Great listen, highest marks, Well worth a credit and your time.
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- Charles

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.
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- Christina

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2015
  • Publisher: HarperAudio