The Radleys [Book Review]

Title: The Radleys
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Contemporary Fiction; Paranormal
ISBN: 9781451610338
Pages: 400
Year: 2010
Publisher: Free Press
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary:

The Radleys are your average suburban family. Peter finds himself attracted to another woman when his wife, Helen, grows distant. Rowan, the school loser, is in love with a girl he can barely talk to, and Chloe is going through a vegan phase. Oh, and they’re all vampires. Only Rowan and Chloe don’t know it yet. That is, until Chloe does something that makes it clear they’re anything but normal. As we follow the Radleys through the less-than typical week that follows, we see suburban England through a darker lens.

My Thoughts:

The Radleys gives the normal suburban novel an interesting twist. By adding vampires to the mix, Haig adds some satirical bite. The book is still mostly about the dreary lives people lead; the vampires are just used to highlight the ways people suppress their desires.

To do this, Haig has to do some world-building. It’s always interesting to see how an author develops the classic vampire myth. The Radleys can go out in the sun, but it’s not a pleasant experience. They don’t live forever – just longer than us. And they can fly. The Radley’s live by The Abstainer’s Handbook which is almost a book within the book. I give Haig a gold star for all of this.

The plot got a little bit crazy. There were times that I really wanted it to slow down a little. It was like revelation after revelation and I kind of thought that just the whole dealing-with-learning-you’re-a-vampire-thing would have been enough. But it kept the pace up at least.

I totally get it if you are sick of vampires. But this one might be worth slipping onto your TBR. There’s actually some substance here.

Full disclosure: It took me a long time to read this book for reasons completely unrelated to the book itself but which still colored my opinion of it. It became a bit of a chore to finish and eventually I only did so because I was trapped on an airplane. I don’t know how to factor this in, so I just tried to give the most honest review I could (as I always aim to do).

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7 thoughts on “The Radleys [Book Review]

  1. Twitter: youvegottaread
    I am sick of vampires but then again I loved “Let the Right One In”, so I guess if it is different enough, I can handle it. I completely understand where you are coming from though. Even if there is nothing wrong with a book, but I’m distracted and it takes too long to read, I have issues loving the book. I guess the bottom line is, if a book is THAT good, it should be able to compel you even if your head is somewhere else.

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  3. I have read some varying reviews of this one lately, and do have it on my review shelf to finish very soon. It sounds as if the story was good, but the plotting wasn’t tight at times. I am still eager to read it and see what I think of it, but I am not as excited about it as I initially was. Very thoughtful and candid review today. Thanks!

  4. I’m still irrationally irritated that this book isn’t about Boo Radley’s family.

    ANYWAYS

    I think when a book does feel like a chore to finish, even if it’s because of life events, that’s going to color and affect your perception of the book. Or at least it does for me too!

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