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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A coming-of-age fable - with vampires
Let The Right One In, the English translation of the novel Låt Den Rätte Komma In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, is a vampire novel that has as much to do with the rites of passage one young Swedish boy passes through as it does with the existence of the undead and their feeding practices. Oskar, a 12-year-old boy dealing the problems of verbal and physical bullying and...
Published on 26 May 2009 by Dr.Feelgood

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3.0 out of 5 stars Original and beautiful, but flawed
What an imaginative premise; loneliness, isolation, poverty, the trials of growing-up, all examined through a story about the friendship of a little vampire and a bullied schoolboy on a sink estate. The writer sets the story up beautifully, using such skill that he was even able to give a paedophile his basic humanity. Three people; vampire, boy, paedophile, all painfully...
Published 18 months ago by Kindle Customer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chillingly contemporary twist on the vampire genre, 26 Oct. 2009
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
I've read quite a few vampire books recently - they have all been rather cosy or had a good sense of humour. But then they've been mostly aimed at teens and young adults. Then I came to the Nordic vampire novel Let the Right One in, and found something truly dark and horrific that needed a strong stomach and nerves of steel. It is a real contemporary chiller, full of violence and gore, totally relentless - yet at its heart is a the redemptive relationship between a twelve year old boy and a 200 year old vampire frozen into the body of a young girl.

The book is set in and around an anonymous housing estate, built at the edge of a forest in the suburbs of Stockholm. We are introduced to Oskar, twelve years old, fat and geeky, who is the chief victim of the class bullies, and we immediately feel for him. But then we meet Håkan, a quiet newcomer to the town; but he's also a seedy forty-five year old in a raincoat and has 'serial killer' written all over him - he's carrying a cylinder of anaesthetic, and he's prospecting for a victim - it doesn't take long, and then it's horrorshow time! Meanwhile Oskar meets Eli, a strange young girl who only appears in the evenings in the playground. They gradually strike up a friendship and once they realise that their bedrooms share a wall, they start to send morse code messages to each other; Eli's the first girl who's ever noticed Oskar. The rest of the supporting cast comprises a group of old men, drifters and alcoholics who meet at the pub - one of them thinks he saw something on the night of the first murder but they're all too scared. Eventually all of these character threads come together.

I won't expound any more on the plot as it would spoil the suspense; suffice it to say there are some particularly disturbing scenes in its 500+ pages. The relationship between Oskar and Eli is fascinating; Eli is of course a vampire. When Oskar finds someone to love it is touching, it is also the beginning of his growing up, being able to stand up for himself.

Oskar held the piece of paper with the Morse code in one hand and tapped letters into the wall with the other...
G.O.I.N.G. O.U.T.
The answer came after a few seconds.
I. M. C.O.M.I.N.G.
They met outside the entrance to her building. In one day she had ... changed. About a month ago a Jewish woman had come to his school, talked to them about the holocaust and shown them slides. Eli was looking a little bit like the people in those pictures.
The sharp light from the fixture above the door cast dark shadows on her face, as if the bones were threatening to protrude through the skin, as if the skin had become thinner. And ...'
What have you done with your hair?'
He had thought it was the light that made it look like that, but when he came closer he saw that a few thick white strands ran through her hair. Like an old person. Eli ran a hand over her head. Smiled at him.
'It'll go away. What should we do?'

This novel was entirely different to any other vampire story I've read. It was thoroughly modern with no hints of Gothic melodrama at all. It was too long, but thoroughly gripping if you have the stomach for it. Moreover it takes our current fascination with all literary things Nordic, particularly crime novels, to another different level. Read it if you dare! (4.5 stars)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good debut, 28 April 2009
By 
DustyShinigami (Staffordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this novel. I decided to read it when I discovered the movie was only showing in the US and not in my country. Overall, it's a very good debut from John Ajvide Lindqvist and I'm curious about his other works. I doubt I'll enjoy them as much as this one though.

I found I couldn't put this novel down and I became attatched to the 2 lead characters. I was even afraid something bad would happen to Eli at the end. The characters are certainly more fleshed out in the novel than the movie (especially the secondary characters) and the book's more gruesome/bloody/disturbing too. A number of questions people may have from having seen the movie will be answered.

I'm not particularly keen on Eli's twist near the end though and some of the secondary characters and events, such as Thomas and Staffan, don't really add very much to the main plot. And although some people's questions will be answered, from having seen the movie, they may not be 100% satisfied. The answers/explanations laid out may suck the mystery out of the film. I think the movie is much better in regards to keeping things subtle and ambiguous. The ending seems to be an issue for a number of people too. It wasn't so much for me after I first read it, but thinking about it now, it does seem a bit too short/rushed and certainly not as touching/sweet as the ending of the movie.

Overall an enjoyable/engaging novel that I recommend to fans of vampire stories.

4/5
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly heart-warming, 13 Feb. 2011
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
John Ajvide Lindqvist takes us to a dark place, a suburbia where disparate characters are thrown into each other's lives and vices are explored. Oskar is a young boy, bullied constantly, dreaming of killing his persecutors. One night he meets the mysterious Eli, and the two children gradually build up a delicate and tenuous friendship. As a backdrop to this, we watch as murders are committed and the people of Blackeberg come to realise that they are haunted by a vampire.

On the face of this, Let The Right One In is a horror story about a vampire - but it does not take long for the reader to recognise that this is, in fact, a story exploring the monstrousness of human beings. The latent urge in all humans to commit monstrous acts. We have alcoholics, drug takers, paedophiles and bullies. In that company, the vampire turns out to be the most compassionate and reasonable character.

The prose is both visceral and staccato, with a deeply tragic air right from the first word. And yet it still manages to evoke a feeling of hope, and establishes that acceptance and friendship can succeed in saving a young man's life.

Despite the aforementioned staccato rhythm, the story unwinds with a slow deliberate menace. It starts with a searing picture of a victim of extreme bullying: "Let them think someone had been killed here, because someone had been killed here. And for the hundredth time..." Gradually the story presents us with some grisly pictures of a man with his face burned away by acid, blood pouring from every pore of a vampire, cats attacking a woman. And yet it is still those shocking moments of human cruelty that strike the hardest and make you vulnerable to the power of this book's prose.

It is a grey, dark and unremittingly grim novel that has a great deal to say on the true nature of the beast. One line really leapt out for me as an illustration of what this novel is truly about: "All these pathetic lonely people in a world without beauty."

With all of the above said, I should comment on the fact that Let The Right One In also had me quaking as I read it at night in an empty house. It is deeply scary and some scenes will stay with me for long after this last page has been closed.

The characters, as a whole, were not people you would generally root for, but the warm heart of the film is Eli - yes, a vampire, but a character that is confused, overwhelmed, loving, desperate, and with a strong sense of being unnatural. Eli holds the novel together, especially the elusive friendship with Oskar - the gentle growth of trust, the giving of self-confidence, the childish games and puzzles, the laughter. Within this novel, that makes a very warm heart indeed.

In my opinion, this is a hard book to love, but I have a great deal of respect for it. I will remember it for a long, long time. It is well-crafted and beautifully-written. It is dark and grim. But above all it is a memorable treatise on the monsters amongst us. Both riveting and compelling - this is one book you just can't look away from.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy book to read!, 14 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
I decided to purchase this book before seeing the newly released `Let Me In' which I still have not seen.
The book is set in Sweden and I'm sure the bleak descriptions of the surrounding areas are intentional and it makes for heavy reading at points as does the realisation of the relationship between Eli and Hakan. At points I had to put the book down to give myself a bit of a breather as some of it was shocking.
However, the relationship that forms between Oskar and Eli is beautifully written and lets you understand the complete need for each other, Eli just wants to be a `normal ` 12 year old and Oskar wants acceptance....and a friend.
This book took me a lot longer to read then most as I usually fly through books and I feel that it's because the numerous sub plots are a bit distracting and I'm not sure if they are all needed, they do all tie together but in a somewhat protracted manner.
However, this book has stayed in my memory and I'm now desperate to see the original Swedish version of the film as well as the American remake.
Be warned, the end is somewhat chaotic and slightly.....unbelievable.
However, the book is definitely worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and sad but brilliant, 21 April 2010
This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
What a read. I must say it took me a while to finish this (through no fault of the author, I just have limited reading time) but I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm sure previous reviews have re-counted the story and given away spoilers so I won't do the same.

I watched the dvd first, and LOVED it. I do truly think that the film-makers did a very good job of adapting such a large novel, however I'm glad I was able to find out more about the characters from reading the book afterwards. There are indeed some shocking parts, perhaps not for the really squeamish reader, but his descriptive qualities are like no other which somehow keep you reading through even some of the most stomach-churning prose. I felt very involved in each charater's individual story, some more embellished than others, and even found myself smirking at some of their little quirks. It's touches like these that make a novel in my opinion.

I would 100% definitely recommend this to any vampire as well as non-vampire fans, because the story itself reveals much, much more. You won't be disappointed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just horrific enough.., 27 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
'Let the right one in' is a hard book to classify, from the outside I expected this to be a book about vicious vampire killings and for it to really lean on the horror book motif. Instead I found it to contain one of the most fragile and believable romances of modern fiction.

Whilst there is a supernatural element to this the real evil is present in the paedophile secondary character, If you have seen the film and are interested in the book then know that he will steal the show later on as the book diverges from the cropped version of the plot in the film. I found myself thoroughly gripped through certain stages of the book and even now a good 3 months after finishing the characters are still vivid in my memory. The only reason this didn't get 5 stars was I felt it occasionaly centred too much on some of the slightly less interesting secondary characters and I ended up missing the delicate love story that was tieing it all together.

Do watch the film after reading as well, It's also excellent but has a slightly different flavour to the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let this book into your library, 21 Oct. 2009
By 
L. R. Richardson (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
This was a different spin on the vampire mythos, something much needed in a genre flooded with wimpy vampires like Edward Cullen, and oversexed, cookie-cutter vampires like the ones in the Southern Vampire mysteries and the Anita Blake series. This book tells the story of Oskar, a young boy who is constantly picked on in school and dreams of revenge. He meets Eli, a young child who ends up being, of course, a vampire. She proves to be the impetus for Oskar to grow into his own and stand up for himself. Yet there is a darker undertone to this coming-of-age story (shocking, of course, what with vampires and all). The book investigates themes of pedophilia, drug & alcohol addiction, violence, murder, rape and attempted rape, and other sordid topics. Many of the characters are morally grey, rather than lumped into the false dichotomy of good/evil. A worthwhile addition to the vampire and horror genres, this is a book I would definitely recommend, and the film is a wonderful adaption.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly mesmerising read, 18 Mar. 2008
By 
J. Potter "johniebg" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Let The Right One In (Paperback)
Before I go onto the gushing part of this review I feel some perspective is called for. So I will start by telling you what this book isn't, for me at least. For a start it wasn't anything like any Stephen King novel I ever read, despite claims that it is. It really is a different type of story and to compare in that way does this an injustice. Nor did I find it horrifying or scary. But I don't think that was probably the authors intention.

What this IS: A wonderfully observed coming of age tale centred around young Oskar, a bullied boy on the verge of adolescence who wets himself and shoplifts for therapy. The beauty is in the friendship he strikes up with Eli: the girl living next door - who just happens to be a 200 year old vampire stuck in a twelve year old girls body.

The creation of these two young and desperately lonely children, and their attempts to just get through each day given the challenges of their individual lives. Is the absolute strength of this. Their emerging friendship and Oskars coming of age, given these obstacles, especially Eli's condition, is absolutely mesmerising. Keeping me transfixed through every page over one weekend, and there are over 500 here.

There are a whole bunch of peripheral characters, the local drunks, parents, sex offenders, the bullies and the kids living on the same estate. All are vivid but at no time do you ever feel like they are anything other than mechanisms to hook the stories of Oskar and Eli. Hooks that worked brilliantly because all we are really interested in is Oskhar and Eli.

PROS: An absolutely wonderful tale of two young children, one a boy coming of age, the other a twelve year girl who also happens to be a powerful vampire. Utterly engaging, with an amazing end that is built up from almost the first page and the books title. The technical detail of a vampires biology was very imaginative.

CONS: The story of Hakan slips into parody. I was not sure whether this was intended as a homage to the classic books that exist in this genre. Or a slightly clumsy mechanism with which to manufacture a specific moment towards the end. Either way it didn't quite sit with the quality of the rest. There is also a big twist two thirds of the way, the purpose of which will only be known to the author. It didn't entirely work for me.

Summary: Not the next Stephen King, that does both authors an injustice. This is a wonderfully fresh and original coming of age story premised around a genre you might have thought had been done to death. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But I preferred the movie. . ., 4 Oct. 2010
By 
G. Jones (Brighton UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Let the Right One In (Hardcover)
For the first pages I was disappointed, because it seemed the movie had been such a faithful copy, every line and storyboard frame, that I was reading a screenplay. Then the story's sad humanity kicked in, and I was hooked. For the last two hundred or so pages, however, although I was still appreciative I was not hooked. I've felt the same was about Stephen King novels, there comes a point where the added bulk is just over-familiar filler. In some places in the later passages things went well over the top, close to mere parody, where the movie maintains a restraint and a poignant realism between the shocks. I still thought the set pieces were good, especially the swimming pool, but I agree with those who've said that a significant "plot twist" (not featured in the movie),was a waste of time.

Nevertheless, a terrific, innovative and different vampire story: belongs on the roll of honour.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heartbreakingly beautiful drama, 11 Dec. 2009
By 
M. Y. Ker "ophelia" (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Let the Right One In (Paperback)
This is not a horror fiction at all, and it would absolutely disappoint hardcore horror fans who are after nothing but page turning qualities, a lot of blood and make-you-jump moments. This is more of a drama but with supernatural touches. It is poignant, sad and at the same time, it feels true, honest and real. Every character is clearly drawn. As is rather often in horrors, characters tend to be placed at points for no purpose other than to be slaughtered/disembowelled/etc. when the plot calls for such blood-letting. But in the case of this most... strangest (?) of books, they are not just cutouts there to be shot down to serve the momentum of the plot.

Even when the plot takes a much more sinister twist and the pace picks up, it is still rather more melancholically beautiful than nail-biting, scary etc. etc. In short, this is a beautiful book with great sympathy and compassion, a lot of heart and warmth - which is a strange word to use considering the atmosphere shrouding the whole story is the depth of Scandinavian winter. It is snow-covered landscapes and well-wrapped up children with their equally well-wrapped up grown up counterparts. Yet the book is warm and passionate in the freezing, unforgiving conditions. The two characters created the little boy and the androgynous vampire, are characters that are not going to go away easily just because you turn your last page.
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Let the Right One In
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Paperback - 22 Jan. 2009)
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