Review From User :
Here's the short version: This book is a marvel and a wonder. You should try it.
Here's the medium version: Seriously. Try it. It might be a little outside your usual reading habits, but it's not thick of cumbersome at all. It's delightfully clear and strange and unlike anything else I've ever read. And I've read a *lot.*
I even liked it enough to give it a blurb: "As a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink have delighted me with stories that are clever, twisted, beautiful, strange, wonderful, and sweet. This book does all of that and more. I think this might be the best book I've read in years."
I don't say things like that lightly.
Here's the long version:
First off, I'm going to assume that if you're a fan of the Welcome to Nightvale show (Craynor and Fink's twice-monthly podcast) then you've already bought this book.
If you haven't. You should. It's everything you love about the show and so much more besides.
For the rest of you who aren't yet convinced, here's some reasons you should pick it up.
It's amazingly well written:
I know what I'm talking about here. It's a clear and easy read. Good setting. Good Character. Tension. Plus the rarest of all writing elements: humor.
What's more, they stick the ending (Which is a huge deal, as you know. Few things are worse than a good book with a flop of an ending.)
It's delightfully different:
If you're like me, you tend to do most of your reading in a familiar genre or two. And if you follow me here on goodreads, those stomping grounds are at least partly (if not mostly) in fantasy.
And that's fine. Everyone has a couple favorite flavors of fiction they like the most. But it's healthy to try new stuff. This book will give you a chance to try something different without leaving the realm of the fantastic behind entirely.
The language is lovely.
If you're a language person, there's a lot that will please you in this book.
Do you like Tom Stoppard Odds are you'll like this.
Did you like Slow Regard I'm guessing there's something for you here. Not because this book is written in anything resembling Auri's odd, ornate, off-kilter phrasing. But because this book has an odd off-kilterness all its own that is marvelous to read. (And honestly, this book is much less vocabulous than Slow Regard. Which is to its credit, in my opinion.)
Also, if you're an aspiring writer, you should read this book. Then you should resist the urge to do something similar yourself. You can't.
Now I'm not saying you're not as good as Fink and Craynor (Though let's be honest here, you're probably not) what I'm saying is that they've found their own wonderfully left-of-center phraseology. They've spent time developing it, polishing the craft of it, and it's absolutely beautiful.
So don't try to play their game. You can't do that any more than you can wear their skins. (Again, trust me.) Instead, just read their book, appreciate how cool it is to see folks writing something their whole own goddamn way. Then work toward finding what *your* way is. Do that instead.
It's playful and strange:
There is a sense of play here that's rare in novels. The story and the world of Night Vale is dangerous and dark, but the playfulness of the storytelling keeps things from being gritty and oppressive in the way that a lot of modern fiction (and fantasy in particular) seems to be.
There's genuine humor here. This book made me laugh. But there's more than that too, language itself is I'm tempted to call it whimsical, but that gives the impression that it's silly. That's not it at all. It's simply.
Let me explain it this way.
The other day I was talking to a friend who compared this book to Douglas Adams. And while that comparison never would have occurred to me, I completely understood where he was coming from. The styles aren't the same. The voice and tone of the books are utterly different. But Adams would sometimes through a little narrative flourish into his books for no purpose other than the fact that he found it amusing. It's one of the best things about his books. They're a series of lovely digressions.
You'll find similar treasure in this book.
Okay. I'm done. If this hasn't convinced you, then nothing will.
Highly recommended. Absolutely worth your time on so many levels.
P.S. While you'll probably get more out of it if you've listened to the Podcast, I'm also of the firm you can also pick this book up by itself.
From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves…no matter where we live.
Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.
Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “King City” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.
Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.
Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “King City”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.