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It Devours! Summary & Study Guide

Joseph Fink
This Study Guide consists of approximately 91 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of It Devours!.
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It Devours! Summary & Study Guide Description

It Devours! Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on It Devours! by Joseph Fink.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Fink, Joseph. It Devours!. HarperCollins, 2017.

Nilanjana Sikdar is a woman and a scientist who decided to move to the town of Night Vale because it is the most scientifically fascinating place in America. Having lived there for four years, she still considers herself an outsider in the surrealistic and dystopian community. Once while working on an experiment, the head scientist in the lab where she works, Carlos, calls her into his office to help him investigate the house that does not exist, which is a portal to the otherworld, a parallel dimension where Carlos once spent 10 years of his life trying to escape. Every time Carlos tries to examine the portal with his machine, an earthquake-like rumbling disrupts him from doing so. He suspects this is the work of the Night Vale City Council, who told him not to interfere with the portal after a warning they received from a mysterious person called the Wordsmith.

When Nilanjana goes out to the desert to investigate the source of the rumbling, she begins by examining a sinkhole that recently appeared at the edge of town that swallowed the house and body of local resident Larry Leroy. On her way out to the site of the pit, she meets a man named Darryl who belongs to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, a local religious sect. Darryl gives her a brochure from the church, which she later discovers was created by a person called the Wordsmith. This prompts her to turn her investigation towards the church. While Darryl is happy to answer her questions about the Congregation and the Smiling God they worship, a giant centipede-like creature that lives in a desert heaven, the Church Elders, specifically Pastor Munn, become very suspicious of her snooping around.

One day while Nilanjana is investigating the pit where Larry Leroy’s house used to be, Darryl finds her asks her on a date. She reluctantly agrees, but ends up having a good time on the date in spite of their vastly contrasting personalities. They spend the night together, but the next morning when Darryl asks her why she is so interested in the church, she discovers that Darryl is the Wordsmith. No longer thinking she can trust Darryl, Nilanjana breaks off all contact with him.

When she returns to the lab, Nilanjana notices that the appearances of the mysterious sinkholes in Night Vale seem as though they are being made by a creature. When she attempts to gain access to footage captured by the town’s observation helicopters by sneaking into the Hall of Public Records, she is caught and jailed overnight. The next day she gets a text from Darryl and decides to invite him over. Thinking she has nothing to lose, she asks him for his help in infiltrating the Joyous Congregation. Darryl agrees to assist her if for no other reason than to prove that the church is doing nothing wrong.

Darryl helps Nilanjana sneak into a church service by impersonating him while he searches through Pastor Munn’s office to see if he can find any incriminating documents that link the church to the disappearances happening in town. When they both get caught, Pastor Munn reveals the church’s plan to both Nilanjana and Darryl to summon the Smiling God from the otherworld so it can devour the town of Night Vale and purify it. Asserting there is nothing Nilanjana can do to stop them, they let her go, and once again her trust in Darryl is shaken. Nilanjana goes to fill Carlos in on everything she has learned. Meanwhile, Darryl is made to reaffirm his devotion to the Joyous Congregation after helping Nilanjana infiltrate the church. He succeeds in doing so and regains the pastor’s trust.

The next day another sinkhole appears in the Night Vale High School gymnasium, nearly swallowing up Carlos’s niece, Janice along with it. Nilanjana goes to investigate the scene but finds few answers. Later as she is driving home, she notices she is being followed by a white van. She corners the van in a parking lot and inside of it finds Darryl and two other members of the church. Darryl tells Nilanjana she has to trust him, and shows her a sacred text he stole from the pastor’s office detailing the invoking ritual the Congregation plans to use the next day to summon the Smiling God into Night Vale. After determining where the pastor plans to hold the ritual, at the old site of Larry Leroy’s house, they all drive out there and perform the ritual themselves in order to kill the centipede-like creature before it can devour the town.

They succeed in summoning the giant centipede, but are unable to kill it. When it attacks the town, they lure it into a sinkhole and trap it there before Carlos burns it to death. Everyone believes the town has been saved, and the next morning Carlos happily resumes his work of investigating the portal in the house that does not exist with his giant machine. However, that same morning the earthquakes start happening again and more sinkholes start opening up in town. That same morning Larry Leroy unexpectedly appears at the lab and tells Nilanjana all about how he was trapped in the otherworld along with many other people from Night Vale and how they were able to escape it. Nilanjana eventually figures out that the centipede was not responsible for the disappearances, and that it was actually Carlos’s machine that was creating the portals to the otherworld that people kept disappearing through. She convinces Carlos to turn off his machine, and the portals finally stop forming as all returns to normal in Night Vale, or at least as normal as it can be. After developing a strong bond, Nilanjana and Darryl decide to start seeing each other, although their relationship does not last, as their personalities and ways of life are just too different. Still, they remain friends, having shared such a powerful experience with one another.

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