Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

12-year-old Oskar’s new neighbour is a strange young girl. He only ever sees her out and about at night.

When the boys at his school increase their efforts in bullying him, Eli’s presence by his side is a steadfast pillar of strength. But soon, he realizes just why she seems so mysterious and what truth is lurking beneath her quiet disposition.

This book had been on my TBR for ages before I finally picked it up.

Image Courtesy – Goodreads

A Swedish historical-fiction, fantasy novel, it weaves a gory tale around the friendship between an almost-teen boy and a 200-year-old vampire. While it seems like an odd pairing, Eli’s nature makes their friendship believable.

Running parallel to Oskar’s story is that of a series of murders occurring in town. And soon, you begin to put two and two together as these storylines intersect.

I haven’t read any Swedish books before. I’ve never been to Sweden. So it was interesting to see glimpses of the place and its customs through this translated work.

Now, fair warning. Those of you who have picked this up because you either like fantasy novels or are fond of vampire fiction might be disappointed. The fantasy aspect of the novel isn’t front and centre. It’s a secondary plot point that mostly is used to drive Oskar’s character arc. I actually found this approach to be quite intriguing. Especially since the vampire character isn’t whom you’d usually peg to be a vampire.

What is compelling about the novel is the way it lays bare the truth about parental neglect and bullying.

The portrayal of the children reminded me of Golding’s Lord of the Flies – a system bereft of order upheld by unruly kids. They aren’t even seniors. How then do school authorities have no grip over what goes on amidst their students ON SCHOOL PREMISES???

John Ajvide Lindqvist’s writing has a long-winded, rustic tone to it. It is focused on details about setting and character motivations, which somehow felt a little reminiscent of Stephen King’s writing.

A couple of chapters felt dull and draggy. But I was curious about how things would pan out and how many of the characters would fit into the conclusion. So I had enough and more reasons to remain engaged.

There are some content warnings you should be mindful of – paedophilia, gore, sexual assault, and misgendering.

Let the Right One In wasn’t what I’d pictured it to be. Nevertheless, on the whole, it was a good first book to pick by a Swedish author.

Published by Meera Nair

A 27 year-old freelance Content Writer, who spends all her free time ensconced in the pages of a book or writing to her heart's content about topics that excite the creative spirit in her.

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