My first introduction to the “Welcome to Night Vale” podcast was through a friend (isn’t it always?). I’m not really a podcast person but I found myself charmed with the 20-odd minutes spent with Cecil Baldwin – the voice of Night Vale’s community radio. I was excited, therefore, when the book was announced. I mean, quirky, supernatural, AND tongue-in-cheek? What’s not to like?!
Well, I didn’t really enjoy the novelization of “Welcome to Night Vale”. It has its moments, it made me laugh, but it just seemed like such a chore to read. Working against the book is Joseph Fink’s writing style. It’s cute and charming for a bit, however, it quickly begins to grate on the very fabric of your well-being. After reading a plethora of sentences that read similar to:
The car was red.
The car was not blue.
The car was not an armadillo.
One begins to froth at the mouth and muttered an embittered “Oh, S.T.F.U.” towards poor, defenseless inanimate objects. Keep in mind, this is the same style that makes the Podcast so successful. This brings me to the real issue with “Welcome to Night Vale” book. It’s too long. The podcasts last around 20-minutes and are narrated beautifully. The have just the right amount of quirk and don’t stick around long enough to piss you off. The book, however, is 400 pages long. I would recommend reading it in small doses, however, it reads as a continuous story.
I know it sounds like I am completely bashing this book, but that’s not entirely the case. I love the town of Night Vale, I love the characters and the subtle supernatural quality to it all. Maybe the problem is that I wanted this book to be “Sideways Stories From Wayside School”. Maybe it would have been more successful as bunch of short stories that are related and that have reoccurring characters, but are not dependent on one another.
Welcome to Night Vale
by Joseph Fink
Published: October 20, 2015