Book Review: It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
2018-09-01 16:43:40 -


By Laurel B Lujan


It Devours! — the second novel from Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, creators of the popular paranormal fiction podcast Welcome to Night Vale — gives a satirical perspective on religion, science and government conspiracies. It asks us whether we can believe in a higher power and still love someone despite differences within its surreal, dystopian world of dry humour and bizarre yet relatable characters.

With the nostalgic influences of classic horror authors like HP Lovecraft and television series The Twilight Zone, Welcome to Night Vale draws in fans of science fiction and horror as well as a wider audience looking for something offbeat to listen to. You will be pleased to know, however, that the novel can be enjoyed without prior experience of the podcast.

The story concerns Nilanjana, a top scientist, and Darryl, a devoted member of the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, who are drawn to each other through small interactions — and the fact that they are both outsiders. The town of Night Vale doesn’t take to ‘interlopers’ who are only trying to live their life there, since they can’t leave: time and space do not work like we expect in Night Vale.

While Nilanjana investigates the strange appearance of sinkholes amid the vanishing of town residents, Darryl casts doubts on his religious life — particularly since his congregation is not much trusted by the others townsfolk. Working together, Nilanjana and Darryl threaten to uncover a conspiracy of national proportions.

It Devours! is as wild as you might expect from the title and that premise, but it’s also thought provoking. Amid the ridiculous descriptions of the characters’ quirks and lives, the town of Night Vale is eerily similar to how many American small towns have their own secrets or odd ways of doing things. The difference here being that the denizens of Night Vale acknowledge, even if quietly, that all is not what it seems.

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