Welcome to Night Vale (2015) by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor Review
Fink and Cranor walk the thin line between mystery and satire that it’s as audacious and valiant as followers of the podcast claim it to be. This isn’t the horror novel that Audible staunchly advertises it to be, but is more of a mysterious disappearance with a neon coating of news issues and radio announcements as interludes to glorify the inherent enigma of Night Vale. Welcome to Night Vale examines substantiated themes and bedecks the exterior with a strip of irony and wicked humor. It isn’t as chuckle-worthy as I thought it would be, but the vision encapsulated by the novel translates into something worthwhile to read.
Fink and Cranor certainly take their time in pushing the story to its alleged disappearance, dropping subtle hints of riddling occurrences that provide a wider angle to the perplexity of Night Vale, as it certainly isn’t ordinary. A man who spordically appears unnoticed with characters having zero memory of him, a paper that says “King City”, an unnerving familial connection, all of these make up the titillating mystery of the novel. The first 80% of the read is radical in its strange beauty, intriguing enough to have me listen to more without stopping; however, the end is quite underwhelming as it never lives up to the wonders it identified in the first place. Again, the jokes fell flat on me, though behind the tantrums of half-hearted jokes, there is an interesting social commentary within the novel. It talks about family relationships, social awakenings, and youthful corruption. Behind the dazzling identity of trashy humor, it does not shy away from a path filled with parabolic morale.
It is honestly very impressive to see the two develop from small-time podcasters to a worldwide phenomena. Not only is it inspiring, but it also paints an image of allegiant companionship. Welcome to Night Valedid get lukewarm at times, but reaching to the end is artful gratification. It may get narcissistic at times with its egoistic dialogue, but the faculty that the authors and series currently have promises some thrills, mystery, and jokes that will either be a hit-or-miss for me. It is entertaining. It is artful. It is trash at times, but is a gratifying experience in the end.