Saturday, 18 August 2012

Book Review -- The Radleys by Matt Haig

Publisher -- Canongate Books 

Paperback - 352 pages

 Synopsis from Amazon:   

Life with the Radleys: Radio 4, dinner parties with the Bishopthorpe neighbours and self-denial. Loads of self-denial. But all hell is about to break loose. When teenage daughter Clara gets attacked on the way home from a party, she and her brother Rowan finally discover why they can't sleep, can't eat a Thai salad without fear of asphyxiation and can't go outside unless they're smothered in Factor 50. With a visit from their lethally louche uncle Will and an increasingly suspicious police force, life in Bishopthorpe is about to change. Drastically.  

When I read the blurb on the back of the book, I had no idea that vampires would be involved. Maybe it's just as well as I wouldn't have bought it. Having read and loves all the Twilight books, I had a "thirst for blood" and wanted more vampire books. Sadly a lot of authors had jumped on the vampire wagon and everything I read with vampires in from there on was absolute rubbish, so I vowed not to read anymore. Hence why I'm pleased I didn't realise the subject matter of The Radleys. This book is also a tale of family, love and relationships.

Let me introduce you to the Radley family. There's Peter, a well respected Dr in Bishopsthorpe; Helen, the housewife and mother; Teenage Children Rowan and Clare. Also making an appearance is crazy Uncle Will who has left Manchester and is living in his campervan in the street.

Everything seems normal even though at school everyone labels Rowan a freak. What no-one knows, even Rowan and Clara, is that the family are vampires and living as "abstainers" and eating raw meat and following the "Abstainers Handbook".

I am glad that I carried on reading this as I was so tempted to give up when I found out what it was about. What I loved about this book, was the short chapters, and each chapter was about different characters so it lets you get to know more about each person; their thoughts; their likes and dislikes.

The storyline turned into a fantasy crime thriller, which was well written and interesting and kept me wanting to read on. Interspersed between each chapter was an excerpt from The Abstainers Handbook - Second Edition.

Excerpt - From The Abstainers Handbook - Second Edition.

"Preventing OBT:10 useful tips. Overwhelming blood thirst (OBT) is the single most common danger facing abstainers. There are 10 proven ways to avoid an OBT attack, should you feel one coming on...............

Watch golf - Watching certain outdoor sports on TV such as golf and cricket, has been known to reduce the likelihood of an attack.

Do something practical - Screw in a lightbulb, do the washing up, prepare some sarnies. The more trivial and mundane the task, the more likely you will keep control of your blood thirst.

Exercise - Buy a treadmill or rowing machine so you can burn off excess adrenaline, which is a symptom of OBT."

Remember point 3 next time you go to the gym, as you never know who's around!

It was also an amusing read, at the same time talking about famous vampires such as Lord Byron and Jimi Hendrix.  I don't normally laugh when reading a book, but there were some amusing moments in this book. 

I'm thoroughly glad I kept reading this as all in all, it was a fun and amusing read; well thought out, with likeable characters and a good storyline.