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The Radleys - Guest Post

Hi all - Today's post has been written by Yasmine (aka Ms Zangalicious) a blogger, photographer and all-round wonderful lady currently living in Abu Dhabi. If you would like to be featured on Mab is Mab please drop me an email and I'll get back to you!

I can’t say that I understand what has lead to this flourish in literature of domesticated vampires coupled with an obsession with the mundane. I feel that I should try to blame Buffy in some way – but then, if I was feeling true to myself – I may have to admit that a century of vampire literature all seemed to be leading to this literary moment...

‘What moment?’ you may ask me. And I’d reply with...
‘Y’know... day-walking vampires who openly admit that the blood does not move in their veins but they’re impregnating each other and fawning all over themselves dribbling enough teenage angst to frighten the likes of Ahmadinijad. Y’know... those ones!’ I’d then point over at the massive cardboard cut outs of ‘Edward’ from the Twilight Saga that seem to be plastered everywhere.

So, I read ‘The Radleys’. I felt compelled to after Audible and Amazon were trying to push it on me. It’s strange how they calculate their recommendations really. You see, Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot’ (which I had read previously) does not have anything in common with ‘The Radleys’ except that it features vampires... which, really, Amazon needs to sort out – because there are those who like blood-thirsty, animalistic, heathenish, lusting vampires... and then there are those who just like sparkling stalkers with a fetish for blood.

Matt Haig’s vampires pretty much go against everything a vampire is ‘supposed’ to be. A trend that I feel really picked up pace after Anne Rice’s Louis from Interview with the Vampire (some of you may then perk up and say ‘oh, oh, well, what about Dracula? Huh? He was all charming blah blah. No. Just don’t go there).

Haig’s vampires go out during the day, they fly, they do not drink blood (in fact, Clara, the younger of the siblings starts out a vegan), oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that the teens do not know they are vampires at the beginning. Yes, you read correctly... they do not know that they are vampires! *le gasp!*

Tweens on Amazon are RAVING about this book, and I can see why. It is a book that gives insight in to the lives of a family of vampires (by family I really do mean the ABYSMAL trend of sexually active vampires who ‘forget’ to wear protection – argh). The family are ‘abstainers’ - a movement within the vampire community of those who choose to forsake their ‘blood addictions’ for normal lives.

I groaned and I rolled my eyes, I sighed and tutted but I persisted. It was ridiculous – BUT the problem is this. How do you tell anybody that a mythical creature is not supposed to be the way they’re depicted in fiction these days? Not only do you sound a little snobbish but just downright crazy! I mean, who holds the documentation that says all vampires must be blood-crazed lunatics out to get everybody? And I guess it was these thoughts that made me persevere with this loony book.

BUT...

There is something that I loved about this book which many other vampire novels ignore, and that is the legal implications of vampirism. There are many books where vampires are swooping all over the place, killing at will and leaving the bodies behind. The book implicates the police when it comes to the murders committed by vampires, as Haig quickly reveals that there exists an understanding between a secret branch of the police and the vampire community as to who can and cannot be victims.

Of course throughout the course of this novel there are love stories a plenty, lust, blood and teenage angst. It’s a tweens dream... but also, anybody who is a fan of YA fiction. I would... *gulp* recommend it to those who like to see vampires in a British settings, those who like vampires in love, and those who have a thing for reading about family relationships and dynamics.

Although once it was completed I felt dissatisfied and that my thirst had not been quenched (pun intentional) I still feel the book was worth my time, even if it was just to see where this genre is heading. I think I know where it is going, and I even think I may one day come to terms with how it has come to this.

So yeah, mixed feelings. Grab a copy and let Emma and I know if you felt the same way!

Thanks Yasmine! I actually have The Radley's on my "to read" pile after being given it as a gift this Christmas, so I may write my own review/supporting arguement(?!) soon!

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