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.
About the Author
Joseph Fink created the Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead podcasts. He lives with his wife in New York.
Jeffrey Cranor cowrites the Welcome to Night Vale and Within the Wires podcasts. He also cocreates theater and dance pieces with choreographer/wife Jillian Sweeney. They live in New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Awesome plot, well developed characters, and an interesting take on the classic debate over science vs religion. I listen to the podcast and love it, but my sister (who has never listened to the podcast) also loved the book and told me that she didn't feel lost at any point while reading it. Would definitely recommend if you're scrambling for a book as it is a page-turner! :)
It Devours is another story set in Night Vale from a perspective other than Cecil Palmer. This time, the main characters (for the most part) are Nilanjana Sikdar, a scientist in Carlos' lab, and Darryl, a devout parishioner of the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, a cult-like church in NightVale that came from Desert Bluffs. For the most part, you don't need to have listened to the podcast prior to this, but I do encourage it. This book is also narrated by Cecil Baldwin (who is the voice of Nightvale) in an omniscient third person narrative, so it almost feels like listening to the podcast itself. I'm not going to go on about how much I love his voice acting, because, well, the fact that I am a big fan of the podcast is proof enough. Now this story is definitely not YA, with the protagonists being in their 20s, and well, because of the setting, but I would say it is suitable for older teens onwards. The story is quite apt for Night Vale, because it explores the eternal divide between science and religion, and Night Vale is a place where both are very much real. A place with magic and weird things happening, with Glow Clouds, and sentient hazes and tons of other non-human entities, and also a place that is very much set in contemporary times, Night Vale straddles the world between the mystical and the factual, and it takes full advantage of that in this story. Nilanjana is asked by Carlos to investigate the weird sinkholes appearing in town, and Darryl is a person she meets while looking up possible connections to the church. Their relationship development is adorable, with other residents cheering them on. Nilanjana is an amazing character to see Night Vale from - she is a newer resident here, and despite coming from a world where Night Vale is not even in existence, she goes with the flow pretty well. She is still seen as an outsider to the town, though, and is frequently called out as 'Interloper' by the older residents (they do it fondly, as she later realizes). She gets along well with a lot of people (her interactions with the Secret Police pilot was so cute and heart-warming) but she is a very guarded person. Darryl sort of challenges her, in that he is a very open-hearted person, but he, too, undergoes character development to determine what he is ready to put his faith in. Overall, the story has all the whimsy of Night Vale, the subtle satirist quality of the production, and a Wonderland-like ability to make you just accept whatever is going on as partly crazy but also partly logical in terms of Night Vale. To be honest, any plot inconsistencies could simply be disregarded as Night Vale being Night Vale, but I sometimes think it forgets the whole secret government agents watching your every move thing. Like, the whole reason Nilanjana was given the task was so that the investigation would go under the radar, but then she is the very opposite of being stealthy in how she goes about it. It just feels too convenient at times, you know, how she escapes ANY notice. In terms of representation, Night Vale has always been way ahead anyway -we have Nilanjana and Darryl's interracial relationship, Carlos is also an important secondary character here, and his relationship to Cecil is also a big part of his arc; there are too many more to include in this review. The ending was a little unexpected, though, and I felt it deviated from the central arc of the story; it was, however, satisfactory enough.