Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Radleys by Matt Haig

The Radleys by Matt Haig


Rating: 4 Stars
Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love.
First Thoughts: I got this book as a First Reads off of Goodreads. The cover showed on Goodreads is what made me enter but the book I received had a different cover. The one I received had the white fence that has blood running down it. It's a neat cover, simple in a very good way. The newer cover is obviously aiming towards the YA crowd.

Writing Style: This is an example of a third person book that I don't fit well with. It kept jumping back and forth between characters and at times I kept getting confused. I found myself having to reread what I just read because I found out I was in someone else's point of view. Everything else seemed to go great though. I like hearing how each person dealt with what they were going through and Matt is really good at getting you to sympathize with the characters, even if they are monsters.

Characters: I didn't really connect with any of these characters. Clara is fine in the beginning but after the crime she committed she became a whole new person, to me it just didn't fit. When Rowan followed her footsteps he was mad at first but he stayed pretty much the same but had more courage. He started to stand up for himself and eventually ask his crush out. Helen is a lying wife who is in complete denial, I felt like I was watching a soap opera. Peter is too worried about himself he doesn't realize his wife is having "issues" and he gets pretty darn close to ruining the entire relationship. Will is just a bad person. Even though I didn't connect with any of them, each of them gave a lot to the story.

Final Thoughts: I just realized how long it took me to read this. It wasn't that it was a horrible story or anything, it was that each chapter was maybe one to three pages long. It bugged me a bit but I guess it worked out. You got to see the story unfold from everyone included in the book and got to see things that would have been shown if they were just following one character. Overall the book is awesome. What you think is a normal neighbor isn't really and weird things are always happening. I'm giving it a four because I did have some things that didn't fit well with me but I really did enjoy reading the story.

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