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Little Star [Hardcover]

John Ajvide Lindqvist , Marlaine Delargy
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

15 Sep 2011

One autumn day in 1992, former pop singer Lennart Cederström finds something unexpected in the forest: a baby girl in a plastic bag, partially buried. He gives her the kiss of life, and her first cry astounds him; it is a clear, pure musical note. He takes her to his wife and persuades her that they should keep this remarkable child. But the baby becomes a strange girl, made more unusual by their decision to hide her in their basement to keep her from the prying eyes of government departments. When she reaches puberty, a terrifying scene sees her kill both her parents.

When her scheming adopted brother returns to find her over their bodies, he seizes the opportunity and enters her into an X Factor-style talent competition. She quickly becomes famous. In spite of this, she remains very lonely, until she befriends another damaged girl on the internet. They form a powerful bond and soon create a growing gang of other disgruntled girls and, calling themselves the Wolves, they set out to take revenge for all they've ever suffered.

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Little Star + Let the Old Dreams Die + Harbour
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (15 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857385100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857385109
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 413,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'It might be spooky and somewhat far-fetched in places, but this meditation on nature vs nurture, music, mental illness and TV talent shows is as keen as the edge of a broken glass. Capable of slicing right through your skin. Somehow Lindqvist ducks trite when delving into this tale of homicidal emo girls by twisting up his characters so far it's hard to tell whether they're sympathetic or to be feared … This is best read with the lights on, far away from girls with black hair' The Wharf.

'A bestseller in the making' Time Out. 'Lindqvist is more thought-provoking than the majority of his peers and the stories are all the more frightening for it' Sci-fi Now.

'Excellent. And very bloody. And near unputdownable ... a superbly crafted, deliciously twisted constantly shocking tale that's almost entirely populated by loathsome characters who are fascinating to read about. Utterly compelling, it merges a series of audacious Grand Guignol setpieces with a satirical look at the music industry ... Brilliantly written' SFX.

'He's continued to write edgy, well-crafted horror ... There's an eerie, otherworldly feel that lends creeping menace throughout ... there's much to admire here, Lindqvist doing a great job of portraying the teenage mindset without resorting to cliché and his interlinking of the inherent bullying at school with bullying in the wider world is clever without being too obvious ... He builds a palpable sense of terror through the alienation of his main players, and he proves with the apocalyptic ending that he's up there with best literary horror writers' Independent on Sunday.

'What begins as a thriller quickly becomes a chiller as the Swedish author proves once again that he's Scandinavia's answer to Stephen King. Actually he's better right now' Daily Mirror. ''There's a seam of black humour running through Lindqist's book, particularly when he's taking well-aimed potshots at the exploitative pop culture industry ... Little Star is layered and thoughtful' Metro.

From the Inside Flap

Lennart Cedeström was walking in the forest when he saw it. A baby girl lying in a plastic bag. Horrified, he rushed to give her the kiss of life. But what happened next changed his life forever. Her first breath was something astounding - a perfect musical note. For an ageing singer, this incredible child was irresistible, and Lennart could only hurry her home and take her into his care. Fearing the watchful eyes of the authorities, Lennart decided to hide his foundling daughter from view. So he and his wife kept her in their basement. Was what she became Lennart's fault for choosing to hide her? Did the person who abandoned her in the woods know something terrible lay in her future? Or was it just a trick of fate to turn the little star into the most terrifying thing imaginable? In this, John Ajvide Lindqvist's fourth masterpiece, he effortlessly ratchets up the tension until the story reaches its terrible conclusion. In doing so, he confirms his place as the undisputed new king of horror.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and deeply unsettling. 11 Nov 2011
By Bāki
Little Star is my first novel by Swedish horror sensation, John Ajvide Lindqvist. I have copies of all his books, except unbelievably, Let The Right One In. But so far this is the first of them I've actually read. Following his famous debut, Lindqvist has garnered a lot of praise, and achieved a strong reputation in a relatively short time frame. With Little Star, finally, I can see why. I've read no recent horror novel quite like it.

This story is about two outcast girls with very similar names. The first of these is Theres. Theres was abandoned in a wood as a baby, discarded like trash. By chance, she is discovered by Lennart Calderstrom, a former Swedish pop star. Lennart takes the baby back to his wife, and together they decide to keep the "Little One" and raise her as their own. But they do not adopt her, or raise her in any normal lifestyle, instead they keep her hidden in a cellar. The other girl, Teresa, appears to have had a more normal upbringing, but she too is a misfit, a person who feels quite alienated from her peers and society at large.

The first section of the book focuses exclusively on the bizarre, Theres. Here, we witness the early years of her strange life and the nature of her new dysfunctional family. Theres, with her weird note perfect signing, is so strange in fact, that during this section I found myself wondering if she might later be revealed to be something other than human. I'll not give away any spoilers, but will say that Lindqvist actually doesn't answer too many questions himself, even at the end.

A little further into the book and we move on from Theres for a time, and are introduced to the other girl, Teresa. Her social isolation seems much more conventional.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beast within 17 Oct 2011
I approached this new novel by John Ajvide Lindquist with some trepidation. I'd really loved Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead, not least because they managed to do something new and unexpected with the (over)familiar horror archetypes of the vampire and the zombie, but hadn't much cared for Harbour, which started well but went progressively downhill as it headed toward its apocalyptic finale.

Thankfully, Little Star sees Linquist back on form, with the horrors emerging slowly from the cracks in modern society: lost souls haunting the internet, children running wild in the streets, the ritual humiliations meted out by TV talent shows. As with all the best horror novels, it's up to the reader to decide if there is anything supernatural behind all this.

For me (and this might be considered a spoiler, although it doesn't give away anything of the plot) Little Star is Lindquist's take on yet another classic horror character: the werewolf. This is not to say that any of the characters are lycanthropes in the accepted sense of a person who turns into a wolf during the full moon, but more the fact that the 'monsters' are forces of nature capable of unleashing their inner beasts when circumstances dictate. And like all werewolves, they are as much figures of sadness as of fear.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Adult Fairytale From a Master Storyteller 5 Oct 2011
John Ajvide Lindqvist hit the ground running with the excellent Let The Right One In, which resurrected the tired vampire trope into a new, darker being, showing the paranormal romancers how it should be done. He somehow managed to maintain the pace with the "difficult" second and third novels, Handling The Undead and Harbour and now along comes Little Star and what do you know, he's only gone and done it again.

The plot of Little Star is at once both beautifully simple and incredibly complex. The story is a simple tale of an abandoned child and the family who finds her but beneath that surface is an incredibly weird tale which I can't outline here without spoiling, so I won't. Suffice to say that singing babies, serial killing children and Abba feature heavily in what may well be the most bizarre, yet compelling tale I have read in a long time.

Perhaps it's the Scandinavian darkness that pervades Lindqvist's writing or maybe he is channelling the legacy of the Grimms but this tale, with it's overtones of raw nature and evil adults has the qualities of a dark fairytale before spiralling into gory murder, American Psycho meets Snow White. Remember also, this is a translation and clearly I have no idea how closely it matches the original but whether by design or chance the book has an otherworldly feel, the phrasing, the timing everything is
imbued with an oddness which matches and compliments the mood of the book perfectly.

The complex themes explored here, nature versus nurture, the loss of childhood innocence, selfishness in the pursuit of fame, animal instincts are all beautifully woven into the plot without stifling the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a disturbing tale of outcast teenagers 24 Feb 2013
By M. King
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first quarter of the book is a dark fairy tale of a dysfunctional family with a jaw dropping moment of horror thrown in that stuns you.

The remainder feels a slightly more mundane tale of the horrors that a group of societies loners could commit if they found a common cause. But what's interesting is that your sympathies do go out to these girls.Often in such tales you just want to give the homicidal teenagers a good slap but, with these characters and they way they are written you watch on in horror but without disliking them.

A brilliantly disturbing tale.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quickly becoming one of my favourite authors.
Published 1 month ago by sulkycat
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
This is a nasty horrible book. If I had not read some of his other work I would not have chosen this to read. It does not even deserve the one star.
Published 3 months ago by Angela Owens
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good one!
J A Lindqvist is definitely a Swedish Stephen King. I'veread 5 of his books now, and have loved every one. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tony T
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm
I have read Let the Right One In, so I knew this wouldn't be a lighthearted romp. If anything, it was far more graphic and violent than LTROI and not really for me.
Published 5 months ago by jo helgeson
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak second half
I have previously loved other books by this author and this started brilliantly but I just felt it got weaker towards the end. Read more
Published 6 months ago by K. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and intruiguing but flawed.
Little Star is the intriguing tale of a foundling child, Theres, her astonishing gift and the havoc she wreaks in making sense of the world. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Sera69
4.0 out of 5 stars A good thriller
I thought it was good, I like this Author and have all his books, well worth a read, exciting, great.
Published 14 months ago by Muffin
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't go anywhere
I must admit I did only read this after reading 'Let the Right One In', arguably the authors most famous novel. However, to put it straight, this book doesn't even come close. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Charlotte
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of the authors best IMO
I have read all of this authors books and found this to be one of his weakest. The plot somehow didn't quite work and felt we didn't really get an explanation of where the main... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Cosmo
3.0 out of 5 stars dragged on a bit
Little Star was a bit disappointing for me, personally. The story took a long time getting to its point. Read more
Published 16 months ago by john
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