Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Radleys by Matt Haig

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"There are such beings as Vampires, some of us have evidence that they exist". - Bram Stoker

Peter, a doctor, and Helen, his wife, live an otherwise uneventful middle-class existence in an English housing estate with their two children, Clara and Rowan. They seem perfectly normal as they listen to Radio One and throw dinner parties for the neighbours, but the thing about the Radleys is that they are anything but normal.

You see, the Radleys are vampires, but not the usual kind. Peter and Helen have elected to live a life of abstention where no blood is consumed and life is lived during daylight hours with the assistance of sunblock. Their teenage children have no clue of their vampiric nature until an unfortunate incident forces Peter and Helen to reveal the truth. Then when Peter's brother, Will, a practicing vampire, turns up and decides to stay for a few days, the Radleys "normal" lifestyle is turned completely on its head.

Will is a VB (= vampire blood) addict who has been disowned by the vampire community for being unpredictable and unable to control his urges. He is a slave to his vampiric nature and a threat to everyone he meets, evidence of the dangers of excess. Truly immoral and unrepentant, it comes down to the rest of the Radleys to stop him before their true identity is revealed.

Although slightly disappointed in how the story ended, as a whole I found The Radleys an enjoyable addition to the vampire genre. The idea of a constant struggle between morality, normality and a vampire's true nature is an interesting one, and I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys vampire fiction, especially something a little out-of-the-ordinary.

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