It Devours!

It Devours!

A Welcome to Night Vale Novel

Unknown - 2017
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When her employer gives her an assignment to investigate mysterious rumblings in the desert wasteland outside of the town of Night Vale, Nilanjana Sikdar discovers a congregation of religious fanatics who are plotting a ritual that threatens the local community.
Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062476050
006247605X
Branch Call Number: FINK J
Characteristics: 347 pages ; 24 cm

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isaachar
Oct 09, 2018

I agree with other readers that 'It Devours' is an easier read than the preceding book, 'Welcome to Night Vale'. This may be because the main character in the story, Nilanjana, is a relatively recent transplant to the town of Night Vale (relevantly because 'time is funny' in the town and it's surrounding areas). When she isn't being loudly decried by chants of 'INTERLOPER!' by locals, Nilanjana works for the town scientist Carlos. She's dedicated to finding out why everything in the town is so strange, and why reality works differently in Night Vale than anywhere else.
In the middle of this, she meets Daryl, a member of the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, a strange and innocuous local church. Nilanjana thinks the church may have something to do with the mysterious holes appearing around town swallowing buildings and people, while Daryl thinks he can convert Nilanjana to the church. Aside from the all powerful sentient glowing cloud, I think Daryl may be my favorite character in all of Night Vale. Naturally awkward yet practiced in politeness to the point of other people being unable to tell if he's being honest or sarcastic, Daryl has an unrelenting positive outlook on life. Even when his world is turned upside down, he still adheres to the most rationally positive outlook possible.
While I enjoyed the first book more, this was a worthy 'sequel' (is it a sequel, or just another story about a different group of Night Vale residents?). As with the first book, it works better listening to it in audiobook format. I'm hoping the author does more stories about the residents of that strange town in the desert that isn't on any maps.

DBRL_AlyssaW Sep 30, 2018

Night Vale is one of my favorite fictional universes; it is so richly imagined that it feels more like a place I go than a podcast that I enjoy. With that said, you do not have to be caught up (or even familiar) with the podcast to follow the novel. It Devours contains the typical Night Vale absurdities, but ultimately centers on the interplay between religion and science. The protagonist, Nilanjana, is a scientist who begins dating Darryl, an evangelical member of The Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God. I have never read a book that portrayed religious people more sensitively and authentically than this one. As someone who used to be pretty religious (and still surrounds herself with people who are), I found Darryl to be a refreshing representation of a kind, intelligent person who wholeheartedly believes in his god. Fink shies away from the convention of making him ignorant or dogmatic. The relationship between Nilanjana and Darryl also felt very realistic to me, both in how it began and how it played out as they investigate (some of) the mysterious goings-on in the town. Despite Night Vale’s relentless oddities, I am always impressed by how deeply human and relatable its characters are in their emotions, thoughts, and actions.

SCL_Justin Aug 17, 2018

I always enjoy stories about how faith and science interact. In Night Vale that interaction is weirder and somehow sweeter than in most novels. I imagine a lot of that is because the setting of Night Vale just works differently than the world I live in, and everyone who lives there understands it differently, and you're constantly unsettled by revising your assumptions, even about what pizza means in a town that has banned wheat and wheat products (people eat globs of cheese and sauce by themselves and it is very messy).

But just like Night Vale is weird, the characters who are so earnest in their weirdness that doesn't feel weird to them makes a great way to examine what it means to live in a world guided by metaphor or by the very literal promise of a cosmic centipede devouring a town whole.

This is not a book for people who love realism, but if you like odd things this is definitely for you (even if you haven't listened to the podcast or read the first novel).

o
otterno11
Jul 03, 2018

There is something that keeps me coming back to the world of Night Vale, a refreshingly inclusive and life affirming brand of cosmic horror, in spite of never quite fully letting go of my suspension of belief in the world. Even after my ambivalent reaction to the first Night Vale novel, why can I simply not bare not to read the latest offering from Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, even as I am “only listening to the Mountain Goats,” Fink’s podcast celebrating the music of John Darnielle?

I may be a little behind on the podcast, but I requested It Devours!, the second Night Vale novel, from the library as soon as it popped up as on order in the catalog. Once again, I found myself drawn to the eerie, absurd, and yet oddly humane setting as brought to us by Fink and Cranor while at the same time not quite being able to engage in the world fully. It Devours! is, I feel, a more successful attempt than the previous novel in adapting the series to book form, featuring both a more focused plot and more engaging characters. Also, In spite of dealing with plot elements that only appear in later episodes of the podcast, I feel that this one is a stronger introduction to Night Vale for those unacquainted with the series.

With It Devours! the authors take a deeper focus on a few of Night Vale’s most enduring mysteries, not becoming quite so bogged down in quirky asides and references to the podcast (though such oddities are certainly not neglected). Nilanjana, an outsider (Interloper, in Night Vale parlance) who came to town to do Science with her mentor Carlos finds herself drawn into Carlos’ quest to uncover the secret of the House that Doesn’t Exist and the Desert Otherworld it leads to. As a series of subterranean disappearances happen all over town, she comes to suspect that the sinister religion of neighboring town Desert Bluffs, the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, might have something to do with it and enlists the aid of an acquaintance Darryl, who grew up inside the Congregation. As the machinations of the City Council oppose them, Nilajana’s and Darryl’s relationship blossoms even as their approaches to the world, science versus faith, are challenged. I particularly enjoyed the creepy evangelical literature published by the Congregation, an adept use of the style and cadence of the form.

Night Vale’s brand of absurdity comes through quite well here, and offers, as always, some thought provoking ideas interspersed with the non sequiturs about, say, how the mail in Night Vale is only delivered if you can catch the mail carrier as they sneak through town. However, I still can’t shake the feeling that something is missing. The novel’s main conceit, balancing and contrasting the differing philosophies of belief and facts, can feel a little simplistic, a little shallow. All of the weirdness and the surreal nature of Night Vale can, at times, feel a little like mere set dressing to it’s somewhat facile philosophical conceits.

Why then, in light of these caveats, do I keep coming back to Night Vale?
Perhaps, though, I think because no one else is doing anything like this, and whatever it is, it is something that I crave, that scratches an itch that dwells within me that I cannot even express myself, even if the offering proffered, Night Vale, is not quite exactly the thing I am craving, that indefinable, mysterious and ephemeral mix of the mundane and the bizarre that Night Vale comes closest to. In the end, It Devours! Was quite an enjoyable novel.

v
vanilluscript
Mar 20, 2018

This novel, although positively abstract and existential, takes a wonderful and extremely realistic viewpoint on how the characters express their emotions, and how they navigate relationships. This book may be about an ominous interdimensional being, but it says a lot about love and fluidity of life. An amazing read, and would highly recommend to anyone looking for something fresh, or an extension of WTNV content!

r
ryleigh92
Jan 17, 2018

This book was very good! I really enjoyed the contrasting viewpoints and the characters I relate the character a lot more in this book than in the first book!

forbesrachel Dec 18, 2017

It's time to return to Night Vale. The mysterious town where menacing glow clouds run the school board, where mountains don't exist, and where all conspiracies are, in truth, true. This is where the outsider, and scientist Nilanjana has come to reside. However, even though she has lived there for quite some time, and she feels "satisfied" with her life, she herself doesn't quite feel like she belongs. The second novel side story of the hilarious Welcome to Night Vale podcast follows this young woman as she discovers that there is more to life than doing science. While trying to uncover the cause of a series of mysterious pits that are devouring chunks of the town, and its people, Nilanjana gets involved with a wide-grinning cult devoted to an all-smiling god, and in particular, one young man whose faith is about to be tested. It is all around a smart and funny read, and is better written than the first. It also pulls in more of the regular podcast characters than the other. In either case, the writers do an excellent job of appeasing old fans, and explaining enough to draw in new ones who have no prior knowledge. Praise be to the new Night Vale novel! It devours!

x
xiaojunbpl12
Oct 31, 2017

At the 1st time of Carlos fondling his scientific device while complaining City Council, I acquired prescience. But I made myself distracted by Smiling God with pleasure and savor the identity of Darryl, Pamela, etc.
My fascination of this genderless robotic inorganic town didn’t last long, quite a journey of imagination, juvenile horror, and full of contemporary pulp, but never abstract nor boring. A central theme is also a long-debated subject, elevated this light read higher, a great accomplishment though, only a bonus for me.

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knhelouin
Sep 03, 2018

" 'But who would want to cover up the truth?' asked Nilanjana. 'Besides the Secret Police, the City Council, the Mayor, any number of world governments, and the invading forces from other worlds?'

'Exactly,' Carlos said. 'The Cty Council is the most likely, since they had already warned me.' "

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