By John Ajvide Lindqvist
The other day I wrote about Twilight and my dislike for what Meyer did to the vampire, so I thought I'd balance that out with my favourite book of last year that did vampires right! Now I know this book was published originally in 2004 but I didn't come across it until last year, and it certainly jumped right up to the top of my favourite books list.
The book has since been made into two film adaptations, first in the original Swedish and then remade by the Americans (re-titled Let Me In) starring Chloe Moretz (from Kickass) and Kodi Smit-Mcphee (the fabulous young Australian actor from The Road). Both films are supurb but the real winner (as always) is the book.
Let the Right One In is vampire romance as it should be done. Oskar is a lonely boy bullied by many of the boys at school who keeps a scrapbook of serial killer newspaper snippets under his bed. His life is forever changed when Eli moves in next door, a mysterious girl who seems impervious to the Swedish winter weather. Coincidentally (nudge, nudge) a series of deaths seem to be taking place at the same time that Oskar and Eli forge their friendship. As they grow closer Oskar gains a greater understanding of who Eli is and the odd relationship she has with her 'father' and certain choices must be made.
I said this is a vampire romance, but that probably isn't quite true, friendship would perhaps be the better word to use, however it is a friendship far greater and far deeper than any normal friendship. This book succeeds where Twilight doesn't, the vampire within this story has/is a fatal flaw, it puts up all sorts of roadblocks and causes great problems internally and externally for all the characters. I don't want to give away who the vampire is or any other secrets here even though they're fairly obvious, because I hate to think I'd potentially spoil the experience of reading this book for anyone. I'm probably being overly protective here, but the essence of surprise or simply learning/realising things for oneself is part of the joy of reading, so vague I shall be!
I recently read Lindqvist's novel Handling the Undead which is his zombie novel and I have to say that this is an author I intend to follow for as long as he writes. In both books he uses mythical creatures to exemplify the dark side of human emotions and he does so with such sophistication. His writing style is simple yet extremely vivid and evocative and devoid of unnecessary description (take note Stephenie Meyer). Though the book is over 500 pages long it flies by, before I knew it I was facing the inside of the back cover with tears streaming down my face. A truly remarkable experience that I think everyone should take part in, especially if you thought Twilight lacked that certain something.