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It Devours!: 01/03/20

It Devours!

It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor is the sequel to Welcome to Night Vale (2015). Nilanjana Sikdar a scientist who works with Carlos is investigating the giant sink holes that have started swallowing up buildings on the edge of town. Meanwhile, Darryl is trying to recruit for followers for the Church of the Smiling God. The tug of war of science and faith might spell the end of Night Vale.

The central themes this time are the need to belong — be it to a community like Night Vale or a church or a place of work. It's also about being true to yourself even in the throws of faith. Nilanjana needs to decide how much of herself she can comfortably change to lose her interloper status. Darryl needs to decide how much of his life he should continue giving to the Smiling God. Carlos needs to decide how to balance science and family.

As Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor are genre savvy, the Nigh Vale stories in any form make full use of the road narrative tropes to explore themes, build characters, and to entertain. This second novel moves right into the horror zone of the road narrative spectrum.

Chart showing the relative placement of the two Night Vale novels on the road narrative spectrum.

One could argue that with the coupling of Nilanjana and Darryl, as well as the marital status of Cecil and Carlos, that the traveler remains the couple between books, but I argue that it is the privileged traveler (00). Darryl makes progress because of his behind the scenes access at the church. Nilanjana and Carlos both have an effect on the wellbeing of Night Vale (for better or worse).

The destination this time is utopia (FF). For the farmer it's a trip to the land on the other side of the house that doesn't exist. For Darryl it's wherever the Smiling God promises. For Carlos and Nilanjana is their ties to the world outside of Night Vale.

The route is the labyrinth (99) as shown through the spinning of the entity that might be the Smiling God. While falling through the earth might seem like certain death, but the farmer shows it's not the case. While the other world means being separated from friends and family, it's not a dangerous place. It's a place of stasis. Travel through the old oak doors is a transformative one.

All together, It Devours is the tale of privileged travelers going to and from utopia through the labyrinth.

The third book in the series is The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home (2020). It releases in March.

Four stars

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