Released : 1st July 2010
Publisher:Canongate BooksSeries : No
Buy at : Amazon - UK
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.
At first glance the Radley’s seem like an ordinary family, but all is not what you expect. Delve under the surface and you’ll find a family struggling with issues. Delve even deeper and you’ll discover the fact that they are vampires. After a fateful night all is about to unravel for the Radleys.
Peter the father is a harried Doctor, Mother Helen a suffering housewife and the two children Rowan and Clara, attend school and are branded freaks and are constantly under attack from bullies. You get to know each character and see how they evolve throughout the story. You can feel the family pulling together in the crisis. I liked the characters in the first few chapters, they were introduced well. All the way through you are still getting to know them.
My favourite character was Rowan – I really empathised for this character and really enjoyed watching him blossom throughout the story. It’s not easy to get to the age of 17 and discover you are actually in fact a vampire and your parents have lied to you! A vampire who has been made to abstain by his parents; with the consequences of terrible side effects to his body and social life.
I found the writing style was very easy going. Short chapters that chopped backwards and forwards between the characters. This was good because you got a glimpse at what was going on around with all the characters in a short time frame. I felt connected to the characters from the start; I did feel sorry for them trying to fit in with society. You do feel yourself pitying the, and hoping things improved for them.
As plot lines go it was a great outline for a story, but I found it a little bit of a slow burner and took a while to get going. I felt there was a slow build up of pressure within the family; I was eagerly anticipating the ending. I really wanted to love this book, but alas there seemed to be something missing. An unusual twist on a vampire story. Normally they are bloodsuckers, not abstainers trying to live a normal life.
Cover: 3/5 – I like the fence with the trail of blood, very apt to the story.
Story: 3.5/5 – It was ok, but didn’t grip me. I liked the premise but I was left wanting something with more of punch.