The Radleys is blurbed as a new twist in the old vampire tale. And it is...and it isn't. The premise is thoughtful: a family of vampires spends their days as an average suburban family. The parents are abstaining from drinking blood and the kids don't know about the family heritage. Events unfold so that the secrets come to light for the children and adjustments must be made.
The story of this unique family trying to make dysfunction work is fascinating. The author details the challenges that arise from denying a persons true nature and the consequences that can result as well. The story bounces back from the parents' perspective to the childrens' and enables the reader to have a full view of what this family is really like. The wording is sparse and the chapters are short, evoking a tense atmosphere. The storytelling is almost lyrical at times.
In the novel, the parents, Peter and Helen Radley, face the daily challenge of not looking too pale, trying to stay awake during the daylight hours and forcing themselves to not sip from the nearest neighbor. The children, Clara and Rowan, are considered weird freaks for being pale, exhausted and weak all the time. The description of such a life seems reflective of many of the lives on display everyday and it stands to reason that if something could change the dreariness, maybe embracing it isn't always the wring choice.
The story does veer a little more on to the beaten path when the requisite 'evil' vampire comes in to derail the family and their attempt at normalcy. It's similar to every vampire stare-down since Anne Rice and more cliché that expected from a novel with such well-worded prose. It's a well-done novel and deserving of a read.
Rating: A good story, worth a second read.