Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

let-the-right-one-inOskar was weird, in the bad-kind-of-way, which is probably why he’s a soft target for the bullies in his school. Oskar was more of like the quiet guy who sits at the back of the class, who had no friends at all. Oskar could be described as dull, without anything sticking out of him at all. Oskar himself lived inside a broken family. His mother was probably the only person he had a connection with, his father’s status unknown. Alcoholic, he was assumed to be living in the countryside.

The harsh bullying  he received and the loneliness which followed caused him to have an unnatural tendency to collect clippings of articles regarding crimes and murders. With a quick deal with his friend Tommy, Oskar had acquired a knife for himself, where he could spend his time plunging the blade into wood. He would fantasize himself plunging a knife into the gut of the ringleader of the bullies–Jonny.

Every bullied kid feels that way. Oskar is an example of someone that has been broken inside. There are many psychological things that would come with bullying and neglect. Oskar was described to be a very quiet boy, unable to stand up for himself to the point where he couldn’t even raise his own hand. He even had a piss-ball, making the torment that he goes through daily just something that should be faced without a fight, so that he could escape the problem faster. Oskar longs for somebody who could protect him, even to the point where he was ready to tail a policeman and hopes to get offered some form of shield from himself and the bullies.

One night, he found himself face to face with his new neighbor, Eli. She happened to be a vampire, although he didn’t realize it at all. He also didn’t realize that she had nearly decided to drain his blood. Their friendship formed because they had many things in common. For example, Eli shared Oskar’s love for puzzles. From the rubric’s cube to the progressed to communicating to each other through Morse Code through the wall. A relationship started to bloom, with Oskar was very much in love with Eli.

Eli was in a tight situation herself. A vampire, she needed a protector and a person to drain blood for her and clear up the crime scene. That would be Hakan, an ex-teacher, who also happened to be a pedophile, and was in love with Eli. Hakan’s personality was very complicated and ugly. His past life involving him being fired due to his possession of child pornography and turning into a hobo. Hakan himself has a sympathetic nature, and has a hard time with his victims. In the end, he would always settle for boys 13-16 years old to give Eli. But his nature gets in the way, causing him to be careless and very sloppy, making the duo move around often to avoid detection.

On a hunt for blood for Eli, with the promise to be able to sleep next to her that night, Hakan became careless. He got himself caught, after trying to trap his victim in the changing room. To try and get the police off the trail of Eli, Hakan pulled out his trump card. He splashed Hydrochloric Acid on his face, which took out most of his features. This had caused incredible problems for the police.

This story is like a blend of the Twilight sagas, and some of Stephen King’s books. Some scenes are extremely innocent, and just about what every other story would have. But what makes this novel unsuitable for young children is the gory contents of the novel and the surprising twists and turns in it. I can barely catch onto the character development of each and every one of the characters–how they managed to fall into insanity, and how they try to make themselves better for their loved ones. This book is like a roller coaster ride without any breaks, judging on how fast it was going.

Eli had probably took Hakan in to be her helper because she had no other choice. She needed somebody she would be able to manipulate, and Hakan was just right. Eli had lots of money and property, probably the money she stole from her victims when she killed them. Eli was castrated when she turned into a vampire, her original gender a guy. But probably for convenience and to outwit people, Eli dressed up as a girl anyways, letting her hair grow long. Being turned into a vampire at such a young age, Eli was trapped at the age of twelve. In this blog, I’ll continue to refer towards Eli as a girl, mainly because it was the gender that she’s leaning towards.

Eli, now unable to have Hakan decides to gets victims for herself, which ends in a bloodied mess. Her victim was a woman named Virginia, who only just escaped death when her on and off boyfriend Larke intervened. The two humans had also the plot line moving at them, with the both of them part of a group of people investigating the death of Jocke–another earlier victim before Hakan was captured.

Viriginia turns into a vampire, due to the fact that Eli had bitten her, and she didn’t end up dead. It took a while for her to realize, a few days after locking herself up, constantly self injuring herself to drink her own blood, and feeling pain when exposed to sunlight. She eventually ended up in the hospital, and was trapped in binds. When she came through, she realized what she has become, telling the nurse to open the curtains to allow her to burst in flames. It was said in the story that many people would prefer to be dead instead of living on as a vampire forever. It is understandable. People would rather kill themselves instead of losing their humanities.

Virgina’s descent to insanity was one of the best parts of the novel. It’s sort of surprising for her, in the descent to turn into a vampire, and her way of trying to decide which parts were sane and which parts are not. I totally understand when she chose to end her life instead of living with the consciousness of having to kill people and sucking out their blood. I also admire Eli for being able to live out at least two hundred and fifty years walking around, slaughtering people for her own survival.

I guess there’s just a point where you can’t feel it anymore. The guilt.

When Oskar realized what Eli was, he was scared. It was expected of him too. In the film Jurassic World, one quote really stood out to me. ‘We are just used to being the cat.’ Eli was an entirely unknown entity, a possibly dangerous source to Oskar. Oskar avoided Eli for quite a while, but made up with her, accepting him as who he is. The two still continued on their relationship, Eli promising to stay a little bit longer before she flees. They had caused enough suspicion already.

Oskar himself had changed ever since he had met Eli. He would stand up to the bullies, managing to hit Jonny with a stick on an ice skating trip in an attempt of retaliation. Although Eli was the worst nightmare to everyone, she still had a positive impact in the life of Oskar. She loves Oskar, and it is hinted that she wants to use him as her next helper–or maybe fellow vampire.

John Ajvide Lindqvist is a Swedish writer, which explains the names of characters and locations in this book. It is remarked that he is the new ‘Stephen King’, with influential ‘horror’ stories. I really like this book. It’s bloody and questions humanity. It’s a really good book, and I recommend it to teens and above.

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