Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Right One In

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 rumored 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...

Title:Let the Right One In
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Edition Language:English

Let the Right One In Reviews

  • Kristen

    Terrifying, engrossing and a book that encompasses many different topics. Not just a story about vampires; this book takes on such issues as bullying, revenge, pedophilia, prostitution, drug use, alcoholism and the sheer desperation of loneliness. Beautifully written and terribly disturbing. This book sets the bar for the genre.

  • Manny

    You know that bit at the beginning of

    , where Salieri has composed this very uninspired little march, which he and the Emperor play for Mozart? Then Mozart sits down at the keyboard and says, hm, that's not quite right, is it? And he messes around with it for a couple of minutes, until he's suddenly transformed it into "Here's farewell to the games with the girls" from

    .

    Well, it's like that

    and

    . John Ajvide Lindqvist has looked at Ste

    You know that bit at the beginning of

    , where Salieri has composed this very uninspired little march, which he and the Emperor play for Mozart? Then Mozart sits down at the keyboard and says, hm, that's not quite right, is it? And he messes around with it for a couple of minutes, until he's suddenly transformed it into "Here's farewell to the games with the girls" from

    .

    Well, it's like that

    and

    . John Ajvide Lindqvist has looked at Stephenie Meyer's book and said hm, that's not quite right, is it? And he's somehow rearranged its elements into a bloody masterpiece. I wouldn't have thought it could be done.

    I can hear Mozart's irritating high-pitched giggle. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  • Tatiana

    As seen on

    I can't even find the words to describe how much I LOVED this novel. But let me start by warning Twilight lovers that this book is not about sexy sparkly vampires and teenage love. If you are not ready to read about ugly realities of human life, do not open this book.

    It is not an easy book to read. The story is complex and involves many characters, whose presence sometimes is just momentary. The action moves from one character to another very quickly. But once you und

    As seen on

    I can't even find the words to describe how much I LOVED this novel. But let me start by warning Twilight lovers that this book is not about sexy sparkly vampires and teenage love. If you are not ready to read about ugly realities of human life, do not open this book.

    It is not an easy book to read. The story is complex and involves many characters, whose presence sometimes is just momentary. The action moves from one character to another very quickly. But once you understand the pace and get used to foreign names, the story consumes you.

    I will not relay the plot here, if you want to know what exactly the book is about, there are many reviews here that describe the story well. What I am going to say is that this is simply the best vampire novel I've ever read. Yes, I am putting it higher even than legendary Bram Stoker's "Dracula." This story is so much more complex and interesting in a way that not only does it show vampires from the point of view of their victims, but it also shows the world through the eyes of the vampires. We find out how very often innocent people become those feared monsters, we go through the transformation with them, we feel their guilt and shame, we learn about their relationships with their "Guardians" (who sometimes are worse monsters than vampires themselves).

    But this book is not only about vampires, it explores the world of adolescent boys (the world I know nothing about). Surprisingly, I found out how important presence of a father in a boy's life. Without the guidance a love of a father, boys are lost to violence and abuse.

    With all the horridness described in this book, it is strangely full of love and tenderness, understanding and forgiveness.

    I highly recommend this book. You simply will not be able to walk away untouched by it.

  • Paul Bryant

    I finally got my revenge on Sweden. For most of my life I’ve been bombarded with newspapers and radio telling me how Sweden is so much much very much absolutely completely better than Britain at practically everything. Here’s some random quotes from the BBC news archive :

    “Sweden has probably the strongest freedom of information law anywhere in the world.”

    “Sweden has one of the best staffed health services in the world. But as a parent, Sweden seems the perfect place to have children.”

    “BBC's Joe

    I finally got my revenge on Sweden. For most of my life I’ve been bombarded with newspapers and radio telling me how Sweden is so much much very much absolutely completely better than Britain at practically everything. Here’s some random quotes from the BBC news archive :

    “Sweden has probably the strongest freedom of information law anywhere in the world.”

    “Sweden has one of the best staffed health services in the world. But as a parent, Sweden seems the perfect place to have children.”

    “BBC's Joe Wilson on how Sweden became a top athletics nation. What can Sweden teach GB?”

    “Sweden says it aims to completely wean itself off oil within 15 years, without building new nuclear plants..”

    “In a survey of the 26 most industrialised countries, only Sweden came out better.” (Better at what? Oh… life…love…happiness…)

    “Sweden and Denmark show most clearly what spelling reform can do. Sweden has gradually given itself a fairly sound spelling system.” (Yes, spelling reform is important too! Admittedly this didn’t make me as furiously jealous as the other stuff. But still – Sweden. Again.)

    “If you want my answer, I think we should look at how they do it in Sweden. They have high taxation and a better standard of living which means everyone feels they should contribute”

    Blah blah blah. And Abba too! Is there no end to their tall blond pretty perfection and their warm fuzzy wraparound social democracy? But now, one grungy vampire tale Let the Right One In let’s me know in no uncertain terms that Swedes suffer too. Behind the perky teeth and healthy children and universal dentistry and free housing for all and trams and no nuclear waste and Mamma Mia there’s urban decay, neglected glue-sniffing kids, violence, drunkenness, wasted lives and compellingly unpleasant vampires. This is chicken soup for my soul, with swedes!

    And not only that, but as many persons have pointed out, this is a kind of anti-Twilight, given that the only sexually attractive vampire around is a 200 year old 12 year old girl and the only attracting going on is with an adult paedophile and a miserable lonely 12 year old boy. So stick that up your sacro-iliac, Bella and Edward! I fart in your general direction!

    This book gets major points for being so accurate about childhood terrors of the non-imaginary kind (bullying). In fact it's really about childhood neglect and the vampire stuff can be read as an extended poetic symbol. But the vampire stuff is also gory and it

    , so you can have your sensitive cake and you can greedily gobble it up it too.

    Anyway, altogether, a maxillo-facial gothtastic read - 3.5 stars.

    *****

    Update : the film rocks too. It pulls a few punches and cuts out a major zombie theme but otherwise a does a great job. Rent it!

    Up-update - I was referring here to the movie Let the Right One In by Thomas Alfredson, made in Sweden in 2009 and not the Hollywood remake by Matt Reeves just released, which I haven't seen.

    Upupupupdate : I saw the American remake and that's great too - I wouldn't lie to you, I was very surprised. So - rent that one too!

    Upupupupupupdate : they're still at it! Now I'm being told that although Sweden gets a million tons of snow

    because of their

    no one ever falls down and no bus is ever late and no road is ever closed yet a couple of days of Swedish snow in Britain and

    .

    Bite them, Eli, bite them all! Don't leave a single Swede unbitten!

  • Kemper

    After watching the Swedish movie this book is based on, I thought it was an intensely creepy film and promptly got the book to check out the full story. I figured that the planned American film version would be a pale shadow of the original because there’s no way that a Hollywood movie studio is going to show that messed up tale in it’s original form to audiences in the U.S. Little did I know that even the Swedish producers didn’t have the collective nutsack to give us the full story on how godd

    After watching the Swedish movie this book is based on, I thought it was an intensely creepy film and promptly got the book to check out the full story. I figured that the planned American film version would be a pale shadow of the original because there’s no way that a Hollywood movie studio is going to show that messed up tale in it’s original form to audiences in the U.S. Little did I know that even the Swedish producers didn’t have the collective nutsack to give us the full story on how goddamn twisted the book is.

    Set in the early ‘80s, it features a 12 year old boy named Oskar whose alcoholic father and overprotective mother are divorced. Oskar is an outcast and is badly bullied by other kids in his class, and he’s developing a pretty good case of homicidal rage because of it. In fact, he’s well on his way to becoming the kind of guy who dances around his basement while screaming at his latest victim to put the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again.

    Before Oskar completely turns into Buffalo Bill, he meets Eli, a deadly vampire who appears to be a 12 year old girl. Oskar and Eli strike up an unlikely friendship that’s almost a pre-adolescent romance, but things are going off the rails around them. Eli’s version of Renfield is a creepy pedophile who is jealous of their relationship and can’t be counted on to keep Eli supplied with fresh blood. When Eli’s need for food makes her sloppy, the results are victims and traces that threaten to reveal her. Juvenile delinquents, Swedish alcoholics, a strict cop, a jar of acid and a herd of cats all collide in a variety of terrible ways.

    This is a gloriously gruesome and disturbing horror novel that would probably cause Stephanie Meyer to have a stroke if she ever even dared to hold a copy of it in her hackish little hands. Like the best horror novels, the gore and monsters aren’t the scary parts, it’s the way that the ’normal’ people treat each other that will really haunt you.

  • Kat Kennedy

    Imagine for a moment that you were at an event, like the 1995 Rugby World cup where South Africa both hosted and won. Imagine being there in the heat of that moment - the cheer and ebulation. That light, almost unreal sense that the world has faded away and there is only

    moment. Nothing else is important and you want to quietly capture the complete bliss you are experiencing and put it in a bottle somewhere. Hopefully at some future date you can take it out and rekindle those emotions and b

    Imagine for a moment that you were at an event, like the 1995 Rugby World cup where South Africa both hosted and won. Imagine being there in the heat of that moment - the cheer and ebulation. That light, almost unreal sense that the world has faded away and there is only

    moment. Nothing else is important and you want to quietly capture the complete bliss you are experiencing and put it in a bottle somewhere. Hopefully at some future date you can take it out and rekindle those emotions and bask in that one, perfect moment again.

    Then imagine that you are standing outside of a train station. A train has just crashed in front of you. Pleople are screaming, and the stench of smoking meat is tickling your nose as your eyes sting and water. There's that same feeling. That feeling of, "Is this really happening?" Light. Dizzy. Disbelief. Overwhelming to the point of nausea. You can't forget that moment. It will haunt you. Every time you catch a wiff of smoke those memories will come flooding back, whether you want them to or not.

    Same feelings, at their most basic level, but entirely different in their mode. In the first situation you jump and holler. You'll hug those around you, even if you don't know them, and celebrate together. Knitted into temporary friendship because you're experiencing the same, awesome event. For weeks later you'll tell anybody who listens that you were there. You'll tell them about how incredible it was and try to impart on them some semblance of what you felt.

    Cut back to the second scenario where you'll stand quietly in solidarity with those around you. Once again, knitted together. Brothers and sisters formed from tragedy. You may hold each other and gather around silently. When other people ask you about it, you'll get that look in your eyes that tells them you've seen

    .

    You're just as altered as the first scene, but where there was ebulation then, there is horror now.

    This is what happens when I read certain books. Books like

    fit in the first category. They touch me and move me, so I run around telling everyone that I read it. It was amazing. Share in this experience with me. I want to help you feel what I felt.

    Then there are books like this. Now I quietly tell you that I read it. That it touched me. Changed me. I look you in the eye and I don't want to elaborate. I quitely turn away and think a little bit more on what I've seen and read, and how it made me feel.

    And maybe if you've read a book like this too, you might be able to understand why there's really nothing more for me to say.

  • Stephen

    …soiled and a bit emotionally

    .

    That’s the best I can do to describe how this book made me feel. It’s dark, morose and...really…really...

    …creepy. Not strange sounds and creaking doors creepy. Creepy like that "overly affectionate" uncle who stares at you too often and always wants a hug that lasts for an inappropriate length of time. That kind of creepy.

    This book oozes it. 

    The working class Swedish suburb where the story takes place feels dingy, depressing and rundown. The p

    …soiled and a bit emotionally

    .

    That’s the best I can do to describe how this book made me feel. It’s dark, morose and...really…really...

    …creepy. Not strange sounds and creaking doors creepy. Creepy like that "overly affectionate" uncle who stares at you too often and always wants a hug that lasts for an inappropriate length of time. That kind of creepy.

    This book oozes it. 

    The working class Swedish suburb where the story takes place feels dingy, depressing and rundown. The people moving through the narrative are sad, detached and very weird (mostly) and the atmosphere is a kind of artsy fogginess that makes everything seem dreamlike and slightly…well….

    .

    All of which adds up to a big, fat, musty pants load of

    .   Of course, it’s horror, and Swedish horror at that, so creepy means its doing something right.

    Beyond the high creepy quotient, this story is hard to pin down. While the main character is a vampire, this is not really a vampire story. It's more a violent, existential character study about “outcasts” living on the fringe of society. It just so happens that one of these outcasts is a gothy, child vampire of dubious age and sexuality who moves into this economically depressed neighborhood and befriends an adolescent boy named Oskar. Here’s Eli from the movie (which I have not yet seen):

    good casting because that’s a pretty close approximation of how I visualized

    Eli.

    The aforementioned Oskar, our main character, is a 12 year old whose life is a bit of a mess. He's sad, lonely and incontinent and splits his time between being mercilessly bullied by his schoolmates and indulging in a rich, twisted fantasy world where he murders his tormentors in sick, disgusting ways. Here’s a shot of Oskar “at play”

    Oskar’s dad is an alcoholic who lives in the country and his mother, who is mentioned often but rarely heard from in the book seems both over-protective and incredibly neglectful. His life is bordering on tragic. 

    However, as far from normal as Oskar and Eil may seem, the "I'm So VERY Odd" Award goes to Eli’s “Renfield-like” man-servant, Hakan. Hakan’s job, which he does out of

    love for Eli, is to secure the vampire’s nourishment. In his spare time, Hakan is a sick, unhinged, pedophile (now you understand the shudder) who is constantly struggling with his predelictions and the awful things he has to do to keep Eli alive.

    Again...

    Trust me, by the end of the story, Hakan dumps a whole truckload of creepy all over the story. Oh and no spoilers but just remember...ACID....wow!!!

    I struggled with the rating for this book because I don't want to mislead by having my rating indicate that I thought this was “middle of road good.” Parts of it are much better than that...but parts are also worse. The book is a tad schizophrenic. There are some amazing 5 star aspects and some unappealing 1 and 2 star components, all of which coagulate into an overall rating of “I liked it” but didn't love it. 

    On the positive side, the prose is excellent and the characters of Eli, Hakan and Oskar are very interesting. In addition, Eli is an original and superbly realistic vampire that I thought was just a wonderful take on the mythos. Had the story dealt more with those three components and with the unique form of vampirism that the novel postulates, I would have been far more happy with the book.

    Unfortunately (and here we get to the bad), the story gets seriously bogged down with a handful of other characters in the town whose stories were just not compelling to me. I kept losing focus on the story whenever the narrative slipped to one of these ancillaries and it really degraded my enjoyment of the story. Also, the dreariness of the whole story did begin to weigh on me. It just got a bit too much. 

    I thought the end was well done and kept pace with the level of realism that the author was going for with the story. Overall, I just found the "non central" aspects of the story a little too dull to keep my attention. That and the "life sucks" tone that never lets up kept my overall level of appreciation a bit muted. 

    Still, good writing and a very original, character driven vampire tale. A strong 3.0 to 3.5 stars.  Recommended. 

  • Melissa

    Dear Stephenie,

    This is how you write a "vampire" book.

    Sincerely,

    The World

  • Jason

    Yo, lesson for you, Stephenie:

    is how you write a fucking vampire novel.

    So you can run and tell THAT.

  • F

    Loved it.

    Scary as hell and so violent.

    Think i shat myself along with Tommy in that basement.

    The first and probs only vampire book I will ever read.

    Loved it. And loved both films.


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