I watched the American adaptation of this book (called Let Me In) years ago with a friend and I remember thinking it was quite good. I didn’t realise it was actually a book, so when I found it, I bought it instantly. Then much like my other books it sat on my bookshelf for a while, not getting read. But when I did eventually read it, I was so glad I did. It was another one of those books where I read it and say ‘Why haven’t I read this before? It’s so good!’
Let the Right One In is about a boy called Oskar who lives in Stockholm with his mother. He meets a child called Eli who moves into Oskar’s neighourhood, but soon finds out that Eli is actually a 200 year old vampire. For me, this is pretty much a big plot point that should be revealed in the book at the relevant time, but it was in the blurb so the story is pretty much spoiled from the get go. Having already watched Let Me In I already knew that Eli was a vampire so it didn’t matter. Maybe I will be more cautious of reading blurbs from now on.
The story wasn’t just about this friendship between Eli and Oskar. Through the book the POV (point of view) switched more and more to the other characters, Oskar’s neighbour Tommy, Eli’s companion Hakan, the group that hang out in the Chinese restaurant. Keeping the POV with Oskar would blind you to how Eli’s presence and need for blood would affect others, as Oskar had been blinded to it for most of the book.
My favourite thing about the book is one of Eli’s victims turning into a vampire. There’s a group of people who hang out at a Chinese restaurant and Eli attacks one of them, a woman called Virginia. Virginia dealing with becoming a vampire despite believing that they don’t exist was really good to read. She didn’t even want to accept it when she was covered in cuts after drinking her own blood.
I’ve tried to avoid pronouns when talking about Eli as much as possible because when you start the book you assume that Eli is a girl even though Eli is a boys’ name. It’s actually revealed that Eli is a boy, who had been castrated and then tuned into a vampire! What I liked most is that Oskar wasn’t too bothered by it, he still maintained his friendship with Eli.
One thing I noticed that when reading you often assume that the person whose perspective the story is from is the good guy, that you should be on their side. There’s a couple of parts that are form the perspective of Jonny, who is a bully. All through the book he’s been a dick to Oskar so you hate him and I did. Despite this I still felt bad when I found that that Oskar had burned Jonny’s desk that contained an album of very precious family photos.
It felt different to read than other vampire books. For a start, the vampire was a child and there aren’t many others in literature. In most universes involving vampires, child vampires are usually frowned up or even illegal. It was also different in the way that when a vampire bit someone, the victim became ‘infected’, meaning that they would then become a vampire. Rather than the traditional ‘Drink all of yours, drink some of mine’ routine.
The title for Let the Right One In actually from the Morrissey song Let the Right One Slip In. I really like that especially as when you listen to the song it sounds completely different to the tone of the book. Although I once heard Morrissey and his band The Smiths described as ‘moaning to a happy tune’. So here’s the song to play you out, enjoy!