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"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

"He couldn't have pulled back the lock, they couldn't simply have climbed over the sides of the stall in all of three seconds, because those weren't the rules of the game.
Theirs was the intoxication of the hunter, his the terror of the prey. Once they had actually captured him the fun was over and the punishment more of a duty that had to be carried out. If he gave up too early there was a chance they would put more of their energy into the punishment instead of the hunt." --Let the Right One In
At school, twelve year old Oskar is a target for bullies and is ostracized. At home, his greatest pleasures involve scrapbooking about serial killers and imagining what it is like to be one. When he isn't being hunted, he's pretending to be the hunter. When a boy Oskar's age is found murdered in the woods, it's all he can think about until he meets his new neighbor... Eli -- a strange, sickly girl, who lives with what Oskar assumes is an abusive alcoholic father -- moves into his apartment complex. And in Eli, Oskar finds a clean slate. She doesn't know him, so he can be whoever he wants to be when he's with her. He doesn't want to be the monster, he wants to be her hero.

This story is slow, dark, and suspenseful. Oscar is bullied. Ellie is sick. How can you not feel bad for two children fighting to survive? And I think that's what makes this book so unnerving. That the main characters are children and childhood should be a time for innocence, not a time to learn survival of the fittest.

Their story, overlaps with the stories of several other characters, all caught up in the devastation left by a serial killer. The town drunk's best friend is murdered, and the love of his life goes missing. He tries to find out what really happened to the people he cared about as he loses his grip on reality. Then there is Tommy, the teenage thug, who's pretty much got thing figured out, even as the police refuse to believe the evidence. As if anyone is ever going to believe a deadbeat with a drinking problem or ask a street kid for information.

There were plenty of plot twists to keep the reader entertained and horrified with themes that were well thought out. The negative, and in this case extreme, effects of bullying combined with two haunting questions: How far would you go to protect someone you loved? How far would you go to simply survive? -illuminates one of the things I love most about Mr. Lindqvist's writings. He depicts protagonists who are as unnerving as the monsters. By the time you know who the "bad-guy" is, you're a little slower to point finger.

This is one of those books, that I've read over and over just to better admire and understand the nuances.

Rating 5/5

Original review posted:

Apr 11, 12

2 comments:

  1. I love plot twists and mystery! With your 5 star review I need to read this!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's plenty to sink your teeth into with this one, no pun intended!

      I don't read a lot of horror, but I'm in love with this particular author. I couldn't believe how well he re-imagined vampire lore, when you consider how many people have written about vampires....

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