Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let The Right One In
Cannonball Read 2011: Book 1
410 pages

I don't like vampires. I don't like books about vampires. I prefer less supernatural forms of horror. I'm was pleasantly surprised to find that I could not put this book down. It is absolutely one of the most engaging books I have read in a while. It takes place in Sweden in 1981 following a 12-year-old boy named Oskar as he befriends a strange girl next door named Eli.

There is virtually no one likeable in this story. Oskar is obsessed with murder and serial killers to the point of having a scrapbook of newspaper clippings on the subject. Eli is found out to be a vampire who must kill to live. Eli lives with an older man who brings her blood because of his obsession with her (he's a pedophile). The friendship that Oskar and Eli have is perhaps the most touching thing. There is really no romance - they are 12 years old (well, Eli is really several hundred years old, but in a 12-year-old's body). They're just two lonely children who form a close bond, even after Oskar figures out who she really is.

This book also has one of the scariest moments I have ever read. I read a lot of horror, but when Tommy was caught in the basement with that horribly disfigured (he poured acid over his head earlier) thing, it was one of the most terrifying passages I have read in a book. The whole thing was just written so well. The translation was also well done. I've read a few Japanese translated novels and the dialogue tends to come out kind of clunky at times. Maybe it's harder to translate from Japanese to English, but the Swedish-to-English translation was done flawlessly here.

One thing I didn't care too much for was the abundance of extra characters. I felt that there were too many minor characters at times, which were sometimes hard to keep apart. As a whole, I see how they forward the story, but while reading it almost feels like you're being taken out of the story to read about these random people. But overall, I loved this book. One of the best I've read in a while.

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