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Little Star Hardcover – 15 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857385100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857385109
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 471,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'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

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bâki on 11 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By Colin Leslie on 5 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. W. T. Taylor on 17 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
LITTLE STAR is a difficult book to describe. As it is the first book by Lindqvist that I have read, I wasn't sure what to expect in regards to his writing style. The back of the book didn't give away a lot either - a child is found buried in a shallow grave in the woods and as she is given the kiss of life, she produces a perfect musical note. For this reason alone, the man who finds her then becomes obsessed with his find and takes her home. For those who may want to read this book for themselves, I too won't give too much away. What I will say is that this very brief synopsis doesn't include any information about another important part of the story. Instead, you are allowed to discover this for yourself. However, what I would add is that I very nearly gave up on this book. The beginning of the story is very compelling but then attention goes from Theres (Little Star) onto something else. Admittedly, at first I did wonder how the two strands were going to come together. Also, the tone of the book seemed to really go down too. Although I hadn't read any books by this author before, I am aware that he has been likened to Stephen King - well, at times, I wondered where this had come from. I guessed that he was building the tension before the climax of the book and I was right. I am glad that I persevered with it. The ending is disturbing for a variety of reasons. The images that it conjures stay with you long afterwards, whether you would like them to or not.
So, overall I would recommend this book but I would suggest that you stick with it right to the end, so that you can appreciate the full horror of it.
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