Title: Let The Right One In
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
No of pages: 519
Synopsis: He is a twelve-year-old outsider; bullied at school, dreaming about his absentee father, bored with life on a dreary housing estate. One evening he meets a mysterious girl. As friendship blossoms between them, he discovers her dark secret- she is a 200-year-old vampire, forever frozen in childhood and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood.
I first know about this story after I watched the movie Let Me In months ago (I've also watched the earlier version of the same title). I'd searched for this book since after and only recently found it at Times Bookstore. I've just finished reading it and I have to say, this book rocks my socks!
The book starts off with the introduction of Oskar, a lonely bullied young boy who spends his time imagining about murdering his tormentors. He lives in Blackeberg, a place described as very dull in a housing estate with his mother. Oskar's parents are divorced and estranged to one another, this provides another pitiful state of Oskar's background. Apart from some people he's getting along with, he has no real friends. Oskar has a deep interest in cases of murders but it is not because he wishes to become an investigator or such, rather he dreams of being a murderer himself. This is because Oskar wishes himself to have more power and control over his life.
Eli is a very sympathetic character as well despite her nature as a vampire. She will not hesitate to kill in order to live. She doesn't like killing but does so because she wants to survive in a world where, being a child vampire, she is quite vulnerable. She can be cold and manipulative, as shown with her attitude towards Hakan, but shows genuine care for Oskar and even consider Oskar's feeling when she feeds on people that he knows. She has problems with keeping herself clean, as she is shown to wear unwashed clothes from dustbins. Her love for puzzles is what triggers her friendship with Oskar.
Alongside Oskar and Eli, other characters that are not focused on the movies are like the bully Jonny, the detective Staffan, Oskar's friend and neighbor Tommy, and a bunch of drunkards. All of the characters have sympathetic quality and strong background to them that are very interesting to know.
The two main characters, Oskar and Eli, gets along well together because both of them have similarities in their loneliness and the fact that they do not really fit into any social groups. When they are alone their darker sides always take control. Oskar will sink into one of his play-murder imagination while Eli goes and kill people for blood. But when they are with each other, we get to see how both of them are innocence children. They play games, discuss music and communicate with one another through the wall using Morse codes (I think it is very cute of them). I love the way Oskar thinks about Eli; he loves her very much and even invited her to be his girlfriend. He realizes about how strange Eli acts sometimes but he still wants to keep her as his friend. Eli encourages Oskar to stand up for himself when he is bullied, and she pretty much the reason Oskar become braver and happier towards the end of the story.
I really like Lindqvist sense of writing. Every word grips me as I read and he throws suspense in almost everywhere around the book. I love the different scenes describe with different characters; Lindqvist shows their emotion effectively whenever they are dealing with new situations and with it, I get to understand more about what drives these characters to act the way they do. There is not a single moment of boredom in this book, it is a definite page turner.
This is certainly the best vampire fiction I've read since Bram Stoker's Dracula and I recommend it to everyone who loves a good, beautifully haunting story.
I give this 4 out of 4 stars. :)