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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More adult vampires
On deciding to have a look at the books being reviewed on the TV Book Club, I saw this book and on reading the description, found I was intrigued.

This is a vampire story, but for a change not all about the angst of teenagers. The family, the Radleys, mum and dad with teenage son & daughter, are just living normal if somewhat boring lives in their small...
Published on 3 July 2011 by Jackie

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too cool to be chilling...
Witty, clever and inventive, Matt Haig's The Radleys shines a light on contemporary mores by superimposing our everyday foibles onto a surreal situation. In this case, The Radleys of the title are vampires. Vampires attempting to live a normal suburban life. However, there is a twist. The parents of the family have chosen this way of life - they are abstainers, dosed up...
Published on 16 Aug 2010 by Apollo 11


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More adult vampires, 3 July 2011
By 
This review is from: The Radleys (Kindle Edition)
On deciding to have a look at the books being reviewed on the TV Book Club, I saw this book and on reading the description, found I was intrigued.

This is a vampire story, but for a change not all about the angst of teenagers. The family, the Radleys, mum and dad with teenage son & daughter, are just living normal if somewhat boring lives in their small village. The kids having a hard time at school, the father a local GP and mum a housewife. However, the parents are actually vampires who have made the decision not to be practising vampires, and the teens don't yet know.

All this is, of course, about to change, as in one moment in time the daughter discovers what she really is capable of. We then go on the journey of how they tell their children what they are and what it means. A long missing relative visits and all sorts of memories and feeling are stirred up for the couple, and as will happen in a book, matters come to a head and decisions have to made.

I don't want to spoil any more of the story, but I will say that I really enjoyed the book, it was all about vampires, which I love, but with a difference. There were teen vamps but the book was not all about them, there was plenty of more adult themes and concerns. Because of this I would recommend this book, in particular, to any one who enjoys vampire books, but who is getting a bit tired of the young age of all the main characters.

I will watch the episode when this book is discussed with interest, and investigate other books by Matt Haig
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too cool to be chilling..., 16 Aug 2010
By 
Apollo 11 (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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Witty, clever and inventive, Matt Haig's The Radleys shines a light on contemporary mores by superimposing our everyday foibles onto a surreal situation. In this case, The Radleys of the title are vampires. Vampires attempting to live a normal suburban life. However, there is a twist. The parents of the family have chosen this way of life - they are abstainers, dosed up on supermarket painkillers attempting to keep their sickness at bay - whereas the children are - despite the factor 30 sunblock and controlled diets - unaware of their true natures. That is until something happens causing the proverbial curtain to be pulled back, and the truth to be revealed.

I enjoyed Haig's tale, holding at bay the obvious relationship to so many other vampire stories of the moment. The author doesn't necessarily add anything to the bloodsuckers legend, but then I'm not sure that was ever the case. My only criticism is Haig's rather affected prose style, which I found too often stood between me and a suitable pace; it's as if the author is holding the story at arm's length. That said, style is obviously a matter of taste, and there's still much to enjoy in The Radleys.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fun read, 10 Oct 2010
By 
Mr. J W "john_w" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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Most families have the odd skeleton in the closet; closets in the Radleys household seem to be more likely to be filled with pale corpses.

I will confess, I have not read any of the vampire chronicles that currently fill the nation's bookshops, nor have I been drawn to the profusion of vampiric sagas shown around the clock on satellite and cable channels. In part this is due to the fact I am no longer an angst ridden teenager and I am not, indeed am unlikely ever to be, a middle aged woman who fills her house with cats, incense and ethnic art. Any book including one or more of the following words: Dark, Moon, Red, Blood, Twilight in its title is unlikely to find its way onto my bookshelf (I am more likely to break my knees with a claw hammer). The Radleys however promised a different perspective and to a larger part it delivers.

The Radleys: the parents are abstaining from their proclivities through choice, the children abstaining because they don't know they're vampires, merely that they have some odd allergies and need to wear sunblock at all times of the year. Inevitably it all goes a bit pear shaped, the daughter is a bit low on haemoglobin having recently turned vegan, she has a confrontation and erm...'sees red' literally and figuratively. As you would expect, having a confrontation with a vampire is typically short lived and terminal, as it proves in this case. Cue some angst, self discovery, rejection and acceptance. Unable to cope with this episode in his otherwise all too dull suburban life, the father calls on his brother for assistance - his brother has something of a reputation and a lot of `history' - cue some more twists. Now, none of these twists are truly revelatory, they are all reasonably signposted; however, this doesn't really matter to the reader. The joy of this story is seeing where it is all going and tagging along for the ride. There are a few areas of the book that could have been explored further, as well as a couple of relationships and areas of the book that didn't seem to add all that much except to paint an image of middle class suburb (for me, the book club in particular didn't really add anything to the narrative). However, the Radleys is an intelligently written book that would bear a second reading. It maintains a good pace throughout, and I will read another of Haig's books on the strength of this outing. So, all in all a fun read and no claw hammers required.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood's The Thing, 16 Aug 2010
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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Of the vampires I have known the Radley's are untypical of their
kind until Clara, the youngest member of this otherwise rather
ordinary suburban family, is overtaken by her instincts when a
particularly objectionable youth called Harper follows her home with
unwholesome intentions after a party. He gets his just deserts and
Clara gets a three course feast. This can only mean trouble however.

If blood is your thing (and it's here by the bottle and bucket load)
then you will find much to enjoy in this deliciouly sanguinary
narrative. The horror is enlivened by Matt Haig's dark sense of
humour and he has made a worthy contribution to a popular genre,
the public appetite for which shows little sign of abating just yet.

In Mr Haig's world it would seem that the many undead who live
unnoticed amongst us are, for the most part protected by the police,
until their feeding habits become too public and too messy.

Uncle Will (uncle to Clara and Rowan, brother to their father
Peter and old flame to Helen, Peter's wife) is a particularly
well-drawn character. Reluctantly recruited by Peter to help sort
out the mess generated by Clara's unwitting self-actualization his
presence makes more than a few skeletons leap out of the closet!

Just when you might have thought there were enough vampire books
in the world along comes 'The Radleys'. There's certainly room
for one more, however, with a story as inventive and enjoyable as this!

Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How well do you know your neighbours?, 27 May 2011
By 
Curiosity Killed The Bookworm (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
"We're middle-class and we're British. Repression is in our veins."

The Radleys live in a village in Yorkshire. They are your typical middle class family, Peter is a doctor, Helen paints inoffensive watercolours, they have a son and a daughter, Rowan and Clara. Rowan feels like a freak at school and is subjected to daily bullying. Clara is quiet and has moved from vegetarian phase to full blown vegan. They have an uncle no one talks about and the kids don't even know he exists. To the outside world, they just seem a little odd but underneath they are harbouring a dark secret.

They keep their curtains closed on summer days, the children are painfully pale and apply sunscreen before school each day and they are pro red meat. One thing that the Radleys don't do is drink blood, because whilst you may have guessed that they are vampires they abstain.

Before you click away thinking "Oh no, not another vampire book", The Radleys is not some heady romance or action-packed fantasy yarn. No, these vampires live a fairly ordinary life. Matt Haig's prose is witty and entertaining. It's a tale about what happens when you try to be something you're not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally a good vampire book, 16 Sep 2010
By 
Ajo "ak" (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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I was a little apprehensive when starting to read this book as I already knew the 'secret' of the seemingly normal family - they were vampires. Not just any kind of vampires, but strictly abstaining vampires where only the parents know their secret, their teenage children have no idea.

Then one night the teenage daughter is attacked by one of her classmates and protects her self by killing him and instinctively feasting on his blood.

The book reads as good detective story from then on, with some interesting twists and turns, with retrospective look at the life before the parents became vampire abstinents etc.

I definitely enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking to read a good criminal story with a twist as it is not too far fetched to be believable (sort of)...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb vampire story; different from the norm, 7 Sep 2010
By 
Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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I loved this. I put off reading it as I have not generally enjoyed vampire fiction in the past, but once I finally got round to reading it, I found it hard to put down and ended up reading through the night!

The story is about a family of vampires living as a normal human family in a sleepy English village. The parents have decided to abstain from drinking blood, and have never told their children, now teenagers, what they really are. As a result the children are pale misfits who are bullied at school and cannot understand why they are different from their friends.

When Clara Radley, the (vegan!) daughter, finds herself threatened by the amorous advances of an overbearing and drunk thug from school, events run out of her control and she finds herself reacting in a way completely alien to her - as a vampire. Her discovery of her true nature leads the family to have to attempt to cover up her actions, and their parents are forced to come clean. In deperation, they contact Will Radley, Clara's uncle, to help. But he is a notoriously profligate 'blood addict' who kills carelessly and frequently, and they know they are inviting more trouble into their lives.

The story of teenage angst in a vampire context is compelling, and the author writes wonderfully. It is always wonderful to 'discover' another great author; I have not read any of Matt Haigs other books, but I'm going to now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars YA vampire novel saved by humour, 3 Sep 2010
By 
Ray Blake (Hemel Hempstead, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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I approached this novel with the view that the last thing the world needs is another young adult novel featuring vampires; it must be the most saturated literary market after biblical conspiracy thrillers.

The vampire meme is so attractive, of course, for its easy parallels with coming of age, teenage angst and the all-consuming crushes and romances of near-adulthood. These opportunities are certainly not passed over here.

What saves the book, however, and distinguishes it from the sea of vamprisim literature on offer today is its humour. The central premise of abstinence is not new (cf "Being Human", most recently) but it is held up here for ridicule rather nicely. Most of all, the lovely and cheekily libellous appropriation of all manner of artists - alive and dead - is great fun, and the 'vampire pr0n' titles are simply hilarious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I don't live next door to this lot, though for all I know I could well be..., 15 Aug 2010
By 
T. SMEDLEY "terrysmedley" (Taunton UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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Welcome to the world of the Radleys, a world very much like our own, except that vampires (or blood addicts, if you prefer) are not fictional beasts, but live, go to school and work among us, even attending book club meetings. They are to be found in cities, towns and villages alike. When we meet them, Mum and Dad (Peter and Helen) are striving to live as 'unbloods' (i.e. abstaining) and their teenage children have no idea of their true heritage. Not all vampires are abstainers however, some living as fully active creatures of the night.

The Radleys seem to be living fairly normal lives, each member of the family have their foibles and issues, though these can all be linked back to the fact that they are not human, as we go on to discover... Over the course of the proceeding days, one action sparks off a chain of events; Peter's brother Will, a fully active and charismatic vampire, arrives on the scene; the children Clara and Rowan go through an awakening and grow into their true selves; secrets and hidden desires are exposed along the way and mortals are dragged in, all of which threatens to tear their world apart.

The Radleys does something new with the traditional vampire folklore. The way in which their existence is weaved into our world, culture and society is well done, I particularly enjoyed the fact that Lord Byron, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and the Rolling Stones are all exposed as vampires! If you believe what this book tells you, Manchester is a particularly large centre of vampire activity. Their protective body, the Sheridan Society, you could almost believe to exist, together with the nighclubs and network which is there to support them and their tenuous relationship with the police.

The writing style is fairly economical, very short chapters meant I read this book quickly, yet there is plenty of humour and more than enough to keep you hooked, as you do empathise with the family despite what they are. The ending is rather predictable and all the loose ends tied up a little too conveniently, yet you feel this is the right way for things to end. The excerpts from the 'Abstainer's Handbook (Second Edition)' and glossary of terms at the end are also a nice touch to a thoroughly enjoyable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do you want to be a vampire?, 5 Aug 2010
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radleys (Paperback)
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The Radleys are a family of vampires - Peter, Helen and their children Rowan and Clara. But you would never guess from meeting them that they are anything out of the ordinary. They live in suburbia and try and lead normal lives by making sure they eat plenty of meat and staying out of the sun. Their `bible' is The Abstainer's Handbook'. Their lives only start to fall apart when Clara decides to adopt a vegan diet - a big mistake for an abstaining vampire. The whole idea of vampires trying to live normal lives and resisting the temptation to bite their friends and acquaintances is well imagined and described.

There are some interesting and serious points to be made about trying to deny your innate qualities and live a life which is completely false so the book works as a parable which can be applied in many circumstances. The characters are interesting; Peter trying to subsume his blood lust in his job as a GP; Helen putting her energies into home and children and living a normal human life. The children - Clara and Rowan - have problems at school and are regarded as a little weird. Some people even suspect what they are.

I found the book interesting in its unusual take on vampires. The descriptions of family life and conversations are well drawn and the dialogue is believable. I found the ending poignant but hopeful and the last third of the book is probably the best. The first 100 pages might seem difficult to get into but the book does repay perseverance.
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The Radleys
The Radleys by Matt Haig
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