Book Quibbles: Welcome to Night Vale – A Novel

We now return you to the sound of whatever is around you, which is probably a great deal more sound than you think, only some of which indicates future harm for you.

In a desert town where you are not allowed to enter the dog park, the sun doesn’t set at the right time, and the library is highly dangerous lives Jackie Fierro and Diane Crayton. Each live a simple life. Jackie runs a pawnshop, despite being nineteen for many centuries and Diane works with the PTA because of her shape-shifting son, Josh.

Their lives are about to be intertwined thanks to a man in a tan jacket carrying a deer skin suitcase that no one can remember after seeing him. Both want to find any information on KING CITY, a town not far from Night Vale that no one can get to, but many know about, and yet can give them no information on.

Welcome to Night Vale started as a podcast (now very popular.) I’ve been listening to it for a few years now, especially on long car drives. I plug my phone into my car and get lost in Cecil Baldwin’s (the voice of Night Vale) tales of the strange town. Night Vale is very strange, but to those who live there, it isn’t. The Faceless Old Woman who lives in your house isn’t strange, the house that is there but isn’t, isn’t strange, and neither are angels (except angels don’t exist.)

The book flip-flops between Jackie and Diane’s point of view and even Cecil, who gives us some excerpts from his radio broadcast that usually have something to do with what’s going on with the two women.

To those who have never listened to a podcast, you don’t have to. Many things are explained, but there are references or people those who listen to the podcast would get right away. It’s also great to get up close and personal with the characters we only ever hear Cecil quoting.

Life is strange in Night Vale so you as the reader have to be ready for that. The storytelling is eccentric. Night Vale might not be for everyone. People should realize that this may be weird to us, but it’s what life is every day there.

If you listen to the podcast, odds are you have read/are reading/will read the book and it doesn’t disappoint. You get sucked in and despite being 500+ pages, I finished it rather quickly (3-4 days which is saying a lot because I can’t seem to get into any books recently. It also helps I was on a long car drive yesterday which I spent reading.)

Who is the man in the tan jacket no one can remember? What is this strange piece of paper he leaves, reading KING CITY supposed to mean? Who is this man, Troy, that Diane can’t stop seeing everywhere? How are Diane and Jackie connected? And, what is KING CITY, a place no one can get to?

The curiosity of KING CITY keeps you flipping through the pages. Every time the two seem to be closer to an answer, they only get another question.

This was a great read and kept me interested. I highly recommend it. You may not get ALL the answers, but that’s what Night Vale is about. Not everything can be explained.


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