The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi
Genre: Adult fiction and horror/thriller
Stars: ★★★★☆ (Actual 3.5)
Synopsis: The Night Parade follows fugitive David Arlen and his eight-year-old daughter Ellie in a world plagued by Wanderer’s Folly, that has been affecting the world for two years. His wife is dead, and with nowhere to go, there’s only a matter of time before they are found, with Ellie being the potential for a cure.
Considering I read this book over my Reading Week in February, this review is also long overdue. I will quickly explain my reasoning for rounding up the stars to 4 in my rating. I really enjoyed Malfi’s story, although the writing wasn’t anything over the top exceptional, but the story and plot he created was very unique and kept me hooked. More to come on that.
I found this book in the sale section of Kobo books when I was looking for cheap ebooks since I sadly wasn’t able to bring six books in my small suitcase. I’m really glad I found this book, and it was worth the $2 (I believe) I paid at the time. In a world where Wanderer’s Folly has broken out, I was hooked from the moment. I’ve been trying to delve further into adult fiction, and this was another great start. It’s classified as horror and thriller, although I would classify it more in the thriller side. I never found it terrifying or scary – more downright creepy, the kind of scenes that make you uncomfortable and unsettled but nothing outright horrifying.
Writing: I really enjoyed Malfi’s writing, and while it didn’t blow me away, it definitely was enough to lure me in and keep me engaged throughout the novel. I was impressed with some of his descriptions and analogies, as they weren’t the recycled ones we see over and over, especially in thriller and horror. It did seem a bit off and on in consistency throughout the novel, but nothing too drastic that I would DNF the book. There were a few sections that felt slow, but not overly so that I wanted to stop reading. The Night Parade is the first work I’ve read by Malfi and I am intrigued to read his other novels and works now. If you like thriller, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Plot: It was the plot of The Night Parade that really kept me invested. I love all things creepy and unsettling, and Malfi did not disappoint in the creep factor. There were some truly unsettling scenes in the book that still resonate with me months later. I’m a sucker for plague-apocalypse type books, so you can bet I was hooked on this one. Wanderer’s Folly, the plague spreading across the world, is definitely up there on creep factors, and I really enjoyed how Malfi decided to go for a brain-type disease that wasn’t creating zombies but making people honestly lose their minds. I’m not sure how this would resonate with those who suffer similar illnesses in real life, such as schizophrenia and the like, so if you find anything wrong with my review or the novel, please let me know and I will change it ASAP. Otherwise, I did enjoy reading from the perspective of the father, and I liked how it also contributed the fugitive aspect into the novel. I do wish we got to learn more about the plague, as some of it did feel vague, although when comparing this to real life, it does seem true that the government would do its best to cover up as possible. In regards to the emotional toll of the book, I’m not going to lie I had a hard time holding back my tears when I finished the novel, as I found the ending very moving. I won’t spoil it for those who want to read it, but it was quite emotional.
Characters: I found most of the characters intriguing, although we only follow David and his daughter Ellie for the entirety of the novel, as other characters come and go. I found David fell a little flat at some points, simply a character going through the motions of the plot, and others he was very passionate and intriguing. It could be chalked up to the stress his character went through but I do think he could have used a bit more work. I did enjoy his character development that occurred, and I thought that aspect was well done. Ellie, David’ eight year old daughter was…interesting to say the least. She definitely was not written as I expected her to be. When I began reading, I thought she was in her teens, but then I later realized she was only eight and found it very odd how Malfi chose to write her – it also seemed a bit unrealistic. Although Malfi’s set up of Ellie’s character was done well enough to believe her traits and behaviour by the end. Ellie almost creeped me out the most at some points in her attitude and demeanour, but Malfi was successful in developing her character. While it seemed farfetched in the beginning of the novel, by the conclusion I knew I understood Ellie well.
Overall, I do recommend this book to those readers who are interested in thriller and horror novels. With an intriguing plot and different characters, it’s a great quick read. Considering I usually don’t enjoy ebooks, but I tore through this one, I think that is saying something. Let me know if you’ve read The Night Parade, or any other thriller and horror recommendations you may have! Happy reading!