- Author: Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink
- Series: Welcome to Night Vale #3
- Genre: Fantasy
- No. of pages: 384
- Dates read: 05.11.20 – 10.11.20
- Star Rating: 4
- Challenge: ONTD November
Plot: In the town of Night Vale, there’s a faceless old woman who secretly lives in everyone’s home, but no one knows how she got there or where she came from…until now. Told in a series of eerie flashbacks, the story of The Faceless Old Woman goes back centuries to reveal an initially blissful and then tragic childhood on a Mediterranean Estate in the early nineteenth century, her rise in the criminal underworld of Europe, a nautical adventure with a mysterious organization of smugglers, her plot for revenge on the ones who betrayed her, and ultimately her death and its aftermath, as her spirit travels the world for decades until settling in modern-day Night Vale.
So, for those who don’t know, I used to listen to the Welcome to Night Vale Podcast when I first got into podcasts and for some reason I just stopped listening to it. That will change as I plan on doing a re-listen of the podcast. But, despite having stopped listening to the podcast, I always kept up with the book series and for my birthday my boyfriend got me the newest book in the series.
Going into this book I was a bit apprehensive. I knew I was going to find the plot engaging and the story to be quite funny but my main worry was was that I was going to not fully understand what was going on due to the fact I no longer kept up with the podcast. That was not the case. If you are considering this book series just know you don’t need to listen to the podcast. You may miss some Easter eggs but you’re not going to miss out story wise.
Starting off, I wanted to talk about the writing. It was just so engaging. The way that the authors craft the sentences and the characters was just so perfect. The writing was incredibly visual, I found myself firmly in the scenes they were describing. I was chuckling at the dialogue and was mesmerized by the character of the Old Woman.
I found the story to be mostly fast paced. You have the book split into two different sections. The story of the Old Woman’s past and then the present day where the Old Woman is trying to communicate with a man called Craig. During the sections with Craig the writing is so creepy yet really funny and due to the comedic nature and the shorter chapters the story moves quite fast. But when you get to the past, the pacing is slower and the writing is more sentimental and emotional. I quite liked the juxtaposition in pace and emotion from past to present as it showed a key change in the character.
I loved the main protagonist, the Old Woman. You follow her from when she was born all the way till she’s super old and as you read this book you feel like a friend of hers sitting down and listening to her detail her life to you. Since we spend so much time with her she just jumps off the page, we know her accomplishments, her fears, her failures and that really connected me to her. I feel like I truly knew her.
The side characters as a whole were really fun. I didn’t connect to them as much as the protagonist but I really enjoyed their presence. Especially, the character Rebecca I thought she was so much fun.
The world was really interesting to me as I couldn’t really pinpoint where we were. There would be mentions of countries and cities I know and then mentions of places that felt completely made up, I loved this blend of real history and elements of fantasy. It worked incredibly well. I even found the scenes at sea on boats enjoyable when normally scenes like that would bore me incessantly.
I think the stand out thing from this book for me is the discussion of life and the choices we choose to make. Going into this book assumed it would just be an action-packed funny origin story but what I actually got was all of that as well as a profound and layered story about life itself.
It’s very philosophical under all that action!
The next book I will be reviewing is The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan. This will be a spoiler-filled review of the third book in the Wheel of Time series filled with my thoughts and predictions for the rest of the series. If you have read the series before I would love your comments but obviously no spoilers!