Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: The Radleys by Matt Haig

I'm back!!! There has been a definate holiday lull here at A Reader's Ramblings, and although I feel like I should apoligize, I can't bring myself too, because frankly- a nice relaxing holiday, spent reading but without the pressure of blogging everyday was a nice break. Unfortunately it left me with quite the backlog of reviews. So I best get on that. I debated which book to starat with, and eventually picked The Radleys, the best book I read this holiday season! So without further ado... the first review of the 2011...

The Radleys
By: Matt Haig
Author Website

Summary (from goodreads):
Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret

From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.

Review: As stated, this was the best book I read this holiday season. It was such a fun read. Admittedly I requested this book because the cover is awesome. Plus, I love reading vampire books, not because I'm a huge vamp-fan neccessarily, but because I like to see what can be brought to the table. In a saturated genre, it's hard to show up with something new. Haig succeeds where others have failed.

The best part for me was that our two teenage vampires, Clara and Rowen, are not even aware that they are vampires at the outset. That is how entrenched their parents are in the abstenence lifestyle. Watching Clara and Rowen come to terms with who and what they are, while also dealing with typical teenage drama, was great. I especially liked the big reveal, which, without giving much away, involved a She-Ra girl power bloodfest on the part of Clara. What girl doesn't wish she has the abilities that Clara has, although perhaps with a bit more control!

When Uncle Will turns up to help, the Radleys lives are thrown into upheavel, as his presence also dredges up long kept secrets for everyone. Will charecter is intriguing. He has a horse in the race and it was interesting to see the choices he made and to what lengths he was willing to go.

Another thing that I really like in paranormal books is that they are generally more then just a "vampire story". Alot of times the stories are about growing up and finding your place in the world, and for Rowen and Clara this is certainly true. More importantly though, is the message that the parent's story tells. They are living in a world where they have chosen to deny their need for blood, instead trying to assimilate to the best of their abilities. Their lives are essentially a lie and their marraige and family suffers for it. For them this story is about letting go of the past and embracing who you are. What an important message, and it's one that you don't see as much. For me, that was the beauty of this book. There was something to be learned from everyone. They were vampires, but if you removed that one facet, they were remarkably normal individuals and their struggles are easily relatable.

Overall- this is a delightful vampire story that satisfies a certain bloodlust that most vampire book lovers look for. Is also has love and lust, anger and fear, and most notably, a great message that sticks with you. A great read.



  1. I need to check this one out! Great review.

  2. Sounds like you really enjoyed The Radleys! I have to admit I was not quite as positive ( I look forward to the movie coming out, sounds like they have some good people working on that already.