13 Nov 2010
Review: "Let the Right One In" - Petra Pan the Vampire Girl
So I picked up "Let the Right One In" in Heathrow Airport because I desperately needed a book to read in the evening. As there was not a lot to choose from, I was very pleased to see that they had "Let the Right One In" by John Ajvide Lindqvist as I really like the film adaption - "Let Me In" - and have been wanting to read the book.
Have you seen the movie? If yes, you will have a really good idea about what this book is about because the film follows the book quite rigidly. In a good sense, that is.
This is a different type of vampire fiction, more reminiscent of the Anne Rice vampire fiction than of Twilight.
Oskar lives in Swedish suburb Blackeberg with his mother. It is a pretty grey and grim world with not a lot of happiness in it. Which is very much to do with the bullying that Oskar is subjected to at school. He is bullied in that nasty, violent way that some boys experience, getting his head "washed" in the toilet and getting beaten up. He is such a poor lonesome kid that the first part of the book almost broke my heart.
But then Oskar meets the girl Eli who has just moved in next door and comes out to play at night. There is something different about Eli. She lives with an elderly man who takes care of feeding her... And this means that Blackeberg suddenly expriences some violent, awful murders.
We also meet some of the other characters in Blackeberg - the bums, check-out ladies and other lonesome existences who all in one way or another come entangled with Eli and Oskar and as the plot unfolds, it becomes a more and more sticky situation.
What I really liked about this book are the small twists here and there. Nothing is what it seems. The poor old man is actually in my opinion more of a bad guy than Eli who is just trying to survive. And Eli is a sort of unlikely, involuntary Peter/Petra Pan who is trapped in a youthful exterior. And Oskar, Oskar is such a sweet boy. He really loves his mother but at the same time the only way he can find to deal with the violence he experiences at school is by inflicting torture and pain in his daydreams.
I kept wanting to take him by the hand and show him some kindness.
This is a strong mystery, vampire fiction tale. However, it is also a tale of bullying, betrayal and survival of the fittest. It is somehow a gruesome yet sophisticated story about the frailness of human beings. I liked it. And if you are looking for an antidote to romantic hot vampires then this should fit the bill.