I’m not a Welcome to Night Vale guy. The podcast falls into the “it is what it is” category, which is where things go if they’re too weird to be effectively critiqued. Just leave it over there, it’ll be there doing a lot of that thing it does, which in Night Vale’s case is humorously meandering about a paranormal town with many bizarre characters and rules. In my mind I’ve frequently compared the series to a David Lynch project meets Douglas Adams, but somehow falling just short of amazing each time- with the podcast and subsequent novels. UNTIL IT DEVOURS.
The Night Vale dudes blew me right the fuck away with this novel, in which they get downright linear with a plot and take some big dang risks in implementing a lil philosophy SHUT UP STAY WITH ME. The main conflict of It Devours is Science vs. Religion (STAYYY). Both are sent up. Both are accredited where credit is due, but instead of feeling pandering or ever cowardly it’s always sincere. Why, I even felt blindsided with insight a time or two. A lot of that has to do with the perspective of the awesome two main characters. This conflict also gives leeway for the narrative to explore a hilariously terrifying cult called the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God.
OKAY AND THERE’S A GIANT GODDAMNED CENTIPEDE. Yeah, like Tremors.
Oh shit, this book is Douglas Adams’ Tremors! That’s why this is rad!
The characters are nuanced to hell and back, Night Vale is still lovingly weird as fuck, and the descriptors are hilarious throughout. You do not need to have ever read any of the previous novels (but I do recommend them, especially on audio for long night drives) or to have listened to the cast. It Devours stands- crawls, devours- on its own.