It Devours!

It Devours!

Book - 2017
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From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a mystery exploring the intersections of faith and science, the growing relationship between two young people who want desperately to trust each other, and the terrifying, toothy power of the Smiling God. 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. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation's darkest and most terrible secret.
Publisher: New York : HarperPerennial, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062476050
006247605X
Characteristics: 347 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Cranor, Jeffrey 1975-- Author

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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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