Whelp, after reading “The Humans” by Matt Haig, it was only natural to try out his other book, “The Radleys.” This one is about a nuclear family of vampires trying their hardest to not be vampires. They are “abstainers.” And essentially, this life of abstaining is a miserable one filled with sickness, stifled potential, and worst of all, mortality.
I’m not going to lie. Compared to “The Humans,” this one felt like a step down in terms of writing and story. “The Humans” made me think; “The Radleys” made me think, well, this is a cute, somewhat fun story to read. It didn’t have enough…meat? Juice? I mean, in some sense at least, it was an original tale in a saturated genre. It just didn’t do a lot for me, man. I mean, I wouldn’t tell you not to give it a shot, especially if vampires are your thing — which, truth be told, I love vampire stories — but it’s not a particularly compelling story.
I think the Times in their review said it just right:
Haig has said that he wrote “The Radleys” concurrently as a novel and a screenplay. With its striking visuals, snappy dialogue and high-energy plot, the story should make an appealing movie. But while the plot propels us forward, the novel’s big themes tend to get repeated rather than developed.
That’s exactly how it reads: more like it was written for film (or television) than for a reader. Alas.