Monday 29 February 2016

Book Review: Let The Right One In; John Ajvide Lindqvist.

I watched the Swedish adaptation of this film quite a long time ago and really liked it. Since then, I've also seen a West End performance adapting the same book, which impressed me just as much. I've been really eager to read the original book ever since but of course, being me, have only just got to it. Nevertheless, I'm through it now and excited to share my thoughts!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Let The Right One In

AUTHOR: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Quercus Publishing
PAGES: 528
GENRE: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Horror, Thriller

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumoured to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night...

What I Liked:
  • The characters in this book were so complex and that was probably the aspect that really appealed to me. Some of the people that I read about were really the dregs of society and yet for each, there was no black and white. Oskar, the hero of the story, was every bit the frightened, lonely victim of bullies and yet at times his thoughts were very dark and troubling. Eli was clever and cold, but displayed affectionate behaviour at times also. Even Håkan, the murderous paedophile came across as totally powerless and guilt-ridden. It was difficult not to empathise with such cleverly-written personalities and humanity as a concept was well-reflected here.
  • I have only ever heard of Sweden being a clean, advanced, near-perfect society so it was a shock to the system to read about dirty buildings, worn bridges, drug addicts, drunkards, poverty and prostitutes. I found the world-building refreshingly honest and gave the book a kind of authenticity that was a surprise to me. World-building is very important to me and here, it was done right!
  • I didn't realise that this was the kind of Vampire love story that I've been wanting to read! I've always said that I didn't like Stephanie Meyer's 'Twilight' or the kind of trend it set for vegetarian, sparkly vampires who did nothing but brood. Here I was treated (is that the right word?) to some deeply unpleasant subject matter. Alongside brutal, violent vampire attacks came attempted rape, horrific imagery and unsettling implications. I actually had to force myself to read a few of the scenes but I felt like this is how any story involving vampires should be. The romance too was slow-building, different, and I adored the LGBT implications (due to Eli being neither boy nor girl).
What I Disliked:
  • The story did have a few issues that slightly bothered me. For one, the pace is pretty slow throughout so at times I ended up skimming to get to a more interesting part of the story. The constant introduction of new characters frustrated me too. I did like the extra plot-lines to keep me occupied and build the plot, but occasionally it felt distracting.
Overall Conclusion:
This was a really great book and definitely a new favourite of mine, as I thought it would be. Lindqvist's writing was truly impressed me, and I loved that it read more like a Psychological Thriller despite focusing on the supernatural. The world was built really well and the characters were so complicated which made for great reading. I can't wait to, in the future, get hold of more of this author's work! 

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