Wednesday, 13 February 2013

August 2011 - The Radley's by Matt Haig

It was a mixed review for The Radley's, although everyone said it was an easy read. It was mentioned that it felt repetitive and a bit long, after halfway it began to become boring as the author kept going over the same situations. Some thought it was better in the first half and it could have been more ''chucklesome'' on the whole. As others had read other 'Vampire Literature' before, they said the first one they ever read seemed to shape they way in which they visualised vampires and this one either did or didn't conform to some members ideas. It was neither a like or dislike book. 

All through the book there were subtle hints of previous vampire strories referred to, such as the dad being in the medical profession and Rowan Radley having skin complaints. The book had a story, it got a bit more pacey towards the end. The storyline makes good sense for a movie. The chapters were mentioned as being rather short, although this appealed to some. The chapter titles were thought to be imaginative to one or two people, for others, not of big importance. 

The characters were as convincing as they could get within a book about vampires. Dad was a bit of a drip and weak. The children were going though ''normal'' school and emotional issues as they do in real life. The characters were said to suit the plot. Will reminded some of Will Self, an author with a tendency for dry, ironic humour. Will was the most interesting character but could have been more 'bad' if the author had tried. The other characters were 'boring' and the author hadn't tried with them at all. The abstinence from blood references made parallels with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings which made a few people laugh. A few questions cropped up - why didn't the family drink VB in the first place, if it was okay to do it? Abstinence, maybe but it seemed to be a pointless part of the story as they were all quite happy to do it in the end. 
The whole book was referred to as 'teenagery' throughout the discussion. 

The musical puns throughout the book weren't appreciated, although many did like the Abstainer's Handbook for it's comical references to AA. Rowan drinking his mother's blood was thought to be incestuous and weird. Some said there weren't really any other moments or passages that struck them as profound. 

People saw the ending coming, and it didn't surprise them at all. The author seemed to be tacking things on, although he knew the ending before he started out. The book was a page turner as it was such an easy read. It could be the book that spawns more books like this one, perhaps with the same characters. The ending tied up the book on the whole and left people with not too many questions. Somebody mentioned how she empathised with the book as they were from a small country town themselves and had links with Manchester. One question - why would a father be happy with his daughter being converted by the people he hated so much? What kind of things must have been going through his head when he decided yes? 

The authors writing style wasn't offensive in any way, although it had the ideas and atmosphere, it was more suitable to teenagers such as the Twilight books. The title was the most literary part of the book with To Kill a Mockingbird reference. A cottage cheese kind of book with vanilla writing, this book had no edge, no challenge, and most of all, no bite.

Average score was 6/10 for this book.

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