Review: The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home (Welcome to Night Vale #3) by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

Rating: 7.5/10

Synopsis

From the New York Times bestselling authors of Welcome to Night Vale and It Devours! and the creators of the hit podcast, comes a new novel set in the world of Night Vale and beyond.

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.

Interspersed throughout is a present-day story in Night Vale, as The Faceless Old Woman guides, haunts, and sabotages a man named Craig. In the end, her current day dealings with Craig and her swashbuckling history in nineteenth century Europe will come together in the most unexpected and horrifying way.

Part The Haunting of Hill House, part The Count of Monte Cristo, and 100% about a faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and authors for an advance reading copy of The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home (Welcome to Night Vale #3) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

A swashbuckling origin story sure to fill the hearts of the Night Vale audience, though may be more lackluster for those who haven’t followed from the beginning. An intriguing story with a worthwhile ending.

I’ve been aware of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast for some time now, though I have never actually listened to an episode. My sister is a huge fan and even saw Fink & Cranor live a couple of years back. When I mentioned to her that I had received an early copy of their newest novel, on top of being stoked that she would have a chance to read it (LOL), she told me that if I enjoyed weird fiction, then this might be right up my alley.

And yeah, it’s pretty weird, but also very straightforward.

What starts out as a fairly strong horror story that takes a very ‘You’ approach to infatuation and vengeance turns into a full origin story about where this faceless old woman came from and why she is creeping in your home. Just from the title alone, who would have thought this would become a swashbuckling adventure story about smuggling, a rise in the criminal underworld, and ultimately, revenge. I just assumed, not having listened to the podcast to actually understand who this character is, that this was going to be a somewhat haunted house story.

Not to say this is really a bad thing; just…unforseen?

The story itself is told in flashbacks, which take up a majority of the novel. Tales from when she was a child through her death, including all of the nitty-gritty that comes with having a pirate’s life. The present story-line is brought in in chunks, giving an interesting voice to this character as she completely wrecks Craig’s life.

All in all, I am interested in taking a stab at the podcast and the first two (2) novels in the series: Welcome to Night Vale and It Devours!, just to see the rest of the fuss over the entire thing. Fink & Cranor have written a great story here with some very fascinating characters, though having more of a grasp on just what Night Vale is would probably help garner more interest.

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