Full disclosure: I have never listened to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. I tune out things like podcasts, talk radio, and audiobooks, so I’m not part of Serial and Welcome to Night Vale obsessions. After reading the Welcome to Night Vale book, I’m completely content not being part of the obsession.
Welcome to Night Vale is simply a mish mash of idiotic, ridiculous situations in a southwest town. This town is full of creatures, some who hold public office, and people who don’t age even though all their peers do, and angels who you’re supposed to pretend aren’t there, and newspaper editors who attack bloggers with hatchets, and alien ships of some sort in the sky, and a faceless woman who lives in your home, and so many more silly characters it’s hard to keep track. But the characters are only part of the picture. In Night Vale there are odd rules and quirky declarations (“Don’t touch the flamingos!”) and it’s all just too much. I don’t know if the podcast is exactly like this, but here the actual plot of the story is bogged down with all this bullshit. There’s so much crap to wade through that by the time I got to the middle of the book where the plot picks up, I didn’t care.
What’s missing for me in Night Vale is the voice of reason. I need an Arthur Dent to question what the hell is going on. There’s no one to ground the story so it’s asinine situation after asinine situation and we’re just supposed to accept that this is the way it is. So librarians are awful and evil for no good reason. We hear over and over again that librarians are evil, which really interested me, but once a character finally gets to the library and we meet the librarians, there’s no reason as to why they try to kill everyone. They just do. If you go to use the library, enter at your own risk because the librarians will try to kill you. Someone tell me: what’s the point of having the library then?
Welcome to Night Vale the book reads like bizarre gibberish that bypasses anything to do with world-building and plot and character development to try to make you smile. It works for a little bit at the beginning, but it gets old real quick.