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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Let the Right One In
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on 10 July 2009
I am a fan of vampire genre and 'Let the right one in' is a vampire tale but with a whole new take on the genre.

'Let the right one in' (named after the Morrissey song 'Let the Right One Slip In') is a brilliantly well written book, John Ajvide Lindqvist has created two characters in Oskar and Eli who deserve good things in their lives but due to certain circumstances have not had good lives, they finally find it in each other with their friendship.

The main story is about Oskar and Eli, with the underlying tale of Eli's vampirism and the lengths she must go to, to survive, the individual she depends on to her help her and the ripple effect it causes, suddenly the residents of a bleak housing scheme in Stockholm are living in fear.

Oskar and Eli are both lonely in their own way, Oskar by the constant bullying he receives at school, trying to work out his place in life and Eli still struggling to deal with her past and what she is now, in each other they find a friend and the main feelings of the book are shown, their loyalty and friendship to each other.

As I said, the book is brilliantly written, you feel the pain that Oskar and Eli go through, I found myself becoming more and more protective of them both, the isolation of their environment is described brilliantly, you feel the bleakness, the cold weather.

If you enjoy reading vampire genre books, I recommend 'Let the right one in' but read it with an open mind, there is gruesome parts, parts that will make you feel uncomfortable but they are written in such a way, that you are able to read on, to finish the journey with Oskar and Eli.

I know I will re~read 'Let the right one in'.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 19 October 2017
If you like stories about paedophiles, dysfunctional families, broken homes and a gang of middle aged low lifes who appear to spend most of their time in a Chinese restaurant smoking and getting drunk and in which none of characters, including the children, possesses little if any any redeeming qualities then you might like this despicable effort. Seldom have I read a book in which the author appears so much to want to paint a loathsome and degrading portrait of human kind. I hate not to finish a book so I had to struggle to finish this.

And finally, it’s not even well written. As for comparisons with Stephen King – purlease!
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on 26 May 2009
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 the consequent incontinence he suffers from, is desperately in need of a friend. He takes refuge in his imagined alter ego - an unafraid Oskar who kills his tormentors - and takes out his anger by stabbing trees in the woods near his home. Then, one night, Eli appears, a girl of the same age who he soon discovers to be a 200-year-old vampire. Meanwhile, a series of strange killings are taking place in the neighbourhood.

The narrative cuts between the lives of Oskar and his blossoming romance with Eli, his teenage acquaintance Tommy, and a group of alcoholics and unemployed semi-drifters who are the victims of the attacks.
The story is, without doubt, riveting - but only really takes flight in the latter half. The author spends the first hundred pages establishing a background, which can often feel sluggish, as the constant cut between narrative voices results in a plot which takes far longer to establish than it should. There are strange ticks in the writing - such as Lindqvist's tendency to italicise all his narrators' fragmented thoughts in a way that is almost artistic but more often irritating - and the author frequently strays into territory regarding Eli's past that leaves explanation or elaboration lacking and ultimately seems unnecessary.

The drive that the story maintains after the inital background compensates for the failed attempts at stylistic prowess. The constant plot twists, the developments in character relationships, and the new treatment of the ancient vampire fable keep the reader hooked. Ultimately a great thriller, but not nearly as art-house as the consequent film adaptation. There are moments of genuine beauty, particularly in the introduction and perfectly rendered conclusion of the text, and Lindqvist's writing is never garden-variety, of course, it just falls short of the stylistic beauty it aims for.
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on 19 January 2011
I read this book a little while ago and more recently watched the movie version (The original Sweedish one) I'm not sure judging by the reviewers on here if people actually realise a Sweedish film was made....before the American one? Highly reccomend it if you have read this book!
Anyway I would say this is like no other vampire story i have read, I am a big vampire fan - books, tv, films etc. It is pretty hard going at times I must admit and I took some time to read it whereas I usually read books in days, it can also be somewhat confusing with the amount of characters in it....plus they all have Sweedish names so easy to get confused. The story itself is a lovely one and you genuinely feel for both Oskar and Eli, whilst being fairly repulsed by Hakkan - This book isn't for the feint hearted and I dont know if i would read it again....well not for some time anyway. Only because I found it pretty hard going in some places. It is written well and the writer really draws you in, I did think there were some un-neccesary characters though.

Torn between a 3 star and 4 so I have given it a 3 and a half!
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on 11 April 2009
Let the right one in caught my attention because a film based on this book did win several awards and is now considered one of the best vampire movies of the past decades. So, before watching the film, I decided to read the book and I must say it took me by surprise.

The story is centered on the 12-year-old Oskar, a lonely kid who finds the perfect companion, a 12 girl who has recently moved next-door and turns out to be a vampire. But this is much more than your typical vampire story. It's a beautiful and disturbing tale describing the love, loneliness and violent reality of its characters. Also, as strange as it may sound, it feels very real and has some creepy moments that really stay in your mind.

I strongly suggest that you read this book and then see the original Swedish film (because there is an American remake on the way).
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 January 2009
Vampire stories tend to come in two flavours -- either they're creepy horor stories, or celebrations of goth hotties tortured by their immortality.

But John Ajvide Lindqvist's "Let The Right One In" is neither kind or story. Instead this haunting, atmospheric Swedish movie is a poignant look at a very unique friendship between a young boy and a vampire child. His spare prose has a haunting poetic edge even in the violent scenes, and is littered with moments of pure creepiness and beauty.

A man and a young girl have moved into the apartment next to Oskar's. But he's more concerned with the savage bullies that attack him every single day.

But as he vents his frustrations by stabbing a tree, he sees a ghostly young girl named Eli, who informs him that she can't be his friend. She turns out to be as much of an oddball as Oskar -- especially since she only ventures out at night, smells like death, and is unaffected by the winter cold. But despite her odd greeting, the two strike up an innocent friendship.

At the same time, her servant Hakan is going around town killing young boys for Eli's sake, and trying to blackmail her into sleeping with him in exchange for blood. Oskar realizes that Eli is a bona fide vampire -- and not really a girl -- but doesn't intend to let that get in the way of their puppy love. Yet when Hakan's errands go horribly awry, Oskar finds himself to be the only person Eli can rely on.

Trust me, "Let the Right One In" has no sentimental ideas about children (even vampiric ones) -- they can be more violent than anyone, because they are more vulnerable. The adults are all distant and/or alcoholic, leaving the children to fend for themselves -- which makes the tender, clumsy connection between Eli and Oskar all the more striking.

The plot starts out slow, with Oskar expressing his anger and loneliness in violent fantasies, and Hakan being all creepy and pedophiley as he harvests blood for Eli. The story gradually grows tenser and more murky as the tensions grow more overpowering, leading to a gruesome clash in a cold swimming pool (with shattered glass "over the water like myriad white stars").

While Lindqvist's prose also starts out stark and spare, it becomes more dreamlike and haunting once Eli and Oskar start meeting at night. The words become more poetic ("Her fingers were long and slender as twigs), and even the brutality of Eli feeding off a teenage boy is written beautifully. Simultaneously, Lindqvist pares down the conversations between Hakan and Eli to mere brief exchanges, and thus keeping Eli's true nature a mystery.

And Lindqvist does a brilliant job with the vampiric angle. It's eerie rather than bloody or scary, and he manages to come up with some new twists (Eli's "dead" smell and matted hair). But this book's heart is the bittersweet, strangely innocent romance between Eli and Oskar -- they play with puzzles, laugh on the swings, and listen to each other through the walls.

And their moments of violence -- Oskar's rage and Eli's bloodthirsty feedings -- are only reflections that these children aren't meant to be out in the grimy daylit world. Oskar grows in courage and confidence thanks to Eli, and the lonely otherworldly Eli finds the one person in the world who really cares. Oh yeah, and there's the creepy Hakan, Eli's grotesque "guardian" who tries to starve the young vampire into having sex with him.

"Let the Right One In" is the sort of vampire novel that comes along only rarely, full of violence, darkness, beauty and a haunting wintry world of loneliness. Definitely a must-read.
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on 23 April 2011
I purchased this book as part of the Kindle Spring Sale for £1.01. Not only was I excited to get a bargain but I was also thrilled with the book. Having not seen the Swedish movie or the American remake, I was introduced to the story for the first time by reading the novel that the movies were based on. From being recommended the movie by family and friends, I had a rough idea what the story was about - A Vampire love story.

I've read a lot of Vampire stories recently, and have become a little tired with them to be honest. I do love my True Blood series but everything else seems to feel like it's jumping on the Vampire bandwagon. As more of a classic horror novel, I decided to give this a go and was very glad I did.

The story follows 12-year-old Oskar, targeted by the class bullies and wishing he could disappear. Near to where he lives, the police find dead bodies, which they believe to be caused by a `Ritual Killer'. At the same time, he meets and befriends a neighbourhood girl called Eli and soon realises that maybe his new found friend and the murders are linked.

I really loved the character of Oskar - although only 12 and bullied by his classmates, he is extremely intellegent and has a wonderful imagination. The writer has created scenes where Oskar believes he's someone else, a hero, slaying bullies and bad guys. John Ajvide Lindqvist has captured the imagination of this 12 year old outcast perfectly. Oskar, with very few people in his life and only books for company until he meets Eli, creates this heroic alter-ego to get him through his days.

The story itself felt a little long but it was well paced and the way the writer went from character to character really pulled you into this Swedish estate. There are so many characters - from Oskar and Eli, to Eli's `Dad' Håkan, Oskar's teenage neighbour Tommy, the bullies, and a group of alcholics who not only bare witness to the murders, but become victims also. The whole group of characters seem seperate and unrelated at the beginning, but soon their paths are brought together, and only the reader will understand their significance from their backstory.

The novel had a very Stephen King-eqsue quality to it. It mixes a `coming of age' story of friendship and love, with the horror of the supernatural. Particularly in the last scene of the novel at the swimming pool, I had flashbacks of Stephen King's Carrie, along with many other King classics throughout the book. Being a fan of Stephen King, of course this is only a good thing!

Overall, it's a really enjoyable novel. Although long, it's packs into the story so many characters who are directly and indirectly affected by Eli and the murders, and they are all brought together very well as the story concludes. Lindqvist has done a marvellous job of creating potentially horrific characters that you feel attached to, and combining a sweet story of friendship with that of a supernatural thriller.
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on 16 September 2016
How did I miss this when it first came out? Just brilliant!!!
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on 19 March 2011
I have read all the True Blood novels and the Twilight saga and whilst I love them dearly this vampire love story has a lot more bite! (Pun intended)I was aware going in that this book is intended to be a horror, a genre I don't normally read, but was not prepared to actually be creeped out quite as much as I was. It left me wondering if the film will be as gruesome and stomach churning and I can't wait to watch it. The main characters Oskar & Eli are both worthy of your love and attention and you will find yourself feeling protective of them and shocked by their actions. The plot is excellent and refreshing, whilst the mood is sinister and dark. Some readers may find parts of the book a little uncomfortable but all in all it delivers what can only be described as a chilling horror story. I will definitely be reading more of this authors work. Hints....maybe don't read after eating....or in a house alone....or in a dark room with a little night light on.....or whilst babysitting for small children who may or may not be ancient vampires in disguise!
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VINE VOICEon 7 April 2009
I have only ever read three horror novels, two of which became too boring to finish (lumpen prose, clunky dialogue etc). As with one of the other reviewers I wouldn't classify this as horror, rather it is more of a fable that is set against the underbelly of Swedish society. The setting is a 'sink' estate and at the core of the novel is a highly unusual relationship between a boy and a girl (I'll say no more than this). The writing is crisp and fluent, and the story unfolds at a satisfying pace. The injection of Scandanvian humour gives the novel a sardonic edge. Highly readable, this is a very orginal take on vampires that focuses on human failings and the power of friendship.
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