Saturday 4 September 2010

The Radleys - Matt Haig

The Radleys
Matt Haig

ISBN 9781406330281
Cognate Books Ltd.
ISBN 9781847678607

Much like the Harry Potter books, there are two editions of this book. The first one is for adults and the other one is for teens. They have radically different covers and cover blurbs. I really did not think something new could be written about vampires that
would be unique enough, and a different enough take on old tales and legends and the plethora of vampire literature out there, to surprise me. I could not have been more wrong. This book not only surprised me but left me with a hunger for more. Matt Haig reshapes vampire mythology; there are two classes of vampires and two types of vampires in his re-imaging of this genre. First, someone is either born a vampire from a family of vampires or they are turned by a vampire. The two types of vampires are those who practice abstinence and those who are full-blooders. Enter the Radleys, a quiet if somewhat sickly family living in the small British village of Bishopthorpe. Meet the Radleys: Peter, Helen and their two teenage children Clara and Rowan. They seem to be the typical dysfunctional family, but with a few more medical conditions than the most of their neighbors. But their family secret blows wide open when Clara not only tastes blood but devours the first person she tastes. When the Radleys need to cover up this incident, Peter calls his older brother Will, and soon everything seems to be falling apart.

This book is creative and unique, which as stated earlier, in this genre is truly amazing. It is well written; you find yourself cheering for the vampires
and hoping they can pull it all together and figure out a better way to live. You have a mix of vampires, curious neighbors, a special police unit dedicated to controlling and negotiating with the vampire hierarchy and a family just trying to protect each other. Matt Haig has created a new type of vampire novel and like Anne Rice years ago, maybe one that will be emulated, and copied again and again but never really duplicated. Well done. Let's raise a glass to Matt and to the Radleys! Cheers!

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