Series: Welcome to Night Vale #2
Published by Harper Perennial on October 17th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Science fiction, LGBT+, Dystopian
See this book on Goodreads
Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town.
It Devours!? Oh yeah, I’ve read that book.
It Devours! is the second Welcome to Night Vale novel (not including the scripts) and the first book did not entirely live up to my expectations. Now that I’ve finished book two, I’m just not sure which one is the worst offender. Is this going to be another WtNV novel that we (the WtNV fandom) are all collectively going to never mention again?
Just like the first book, It Devours! wasn’t bad necessarily. At the very least it was faster paced and more coherent than the first book, Welcome to Night Vale. More coherent does not necessarily mean more interesting however, but I suppose it also wasn’t less interesting?
I had high hopes that the writing style would have improved compared to the first book. Unfortunately it hasn’t. I’m sorry to say I just don’t think Fink & Cranor have got the hang of writing novels. Podcasts? Hell yes (big fan of Night Vale Presents!). Novels, not so much. I’ve tried to figure out what it is that bothers me so much about the style.
I think Fink & Cranor are just really good at being creative with sound. They are masters at ‘showing’ us things by insinuating, leaving things unsaid, or quirkily (this is now a word) describing them in the voice of Cecil or the other WtNV characters. After all, a podcast is just disembodied voices, and that’s all you’ve got to work with. Fink & Cranor have nailed that.
With novels however, I think they are just too excited about all the space they’ve got to work with so that their writing becomes somewhat… unimaginative? The philosophical parts are absolutely fantastic (and I wasn’t expecting anything less), but they describe a lot and when it comes to action and movement it’s all just far too detailed, making it bland and confusing.
I’m not sure what bothers me more, the style or the fact that the book is so inconsistent with podcast canon that I just don’t know where to begin. I’m not the first one to have mentioned the fact that the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God is entirely unlike what it is in the podcast. Where is StrexCorp? Where are all the conspiracy theories? And then I haven’t mentioned the characters yet. For example, I just did not recognise podcast Carlos in book Carlos, especially his attitude towards the time he spent in the desert otherworld. Etc, etc.
As for the characters: I liked the main characters (new and old) just fine, but the most interesting characters were in the background: the helicopter pilot and Larry Leroy were by far my favourites (and Gordon too, somehow? Why, why do I feel this way?!)
All in all, I suppose I have to say that once again I’m disappointed, but I also have a never-ending love for Welcome to Night Vale so I’ll consume whatever is produced anyway *shrug* @Night Vale Presents: Here’s access to my bank account, just throw all the new stuff my way okay?