Written By John Ajvide Lindqvist
Published By Quercus
12 year old Oskar is bullied, tormented and ignored at every turn by everybody in his life. Although he thinks about his absent father constantly, his life just feels so void that he begins an obsession with murders, even keeping a scrapbook of the crimes.
That’s when he meets Eli, a centuries old vampire girl. Together they form a bond that is unbreakable and go to extreme lengths to protect each other from the dark world around them.
Set in the 1980’s in a suburb of Stockholm, this book is a very dark and very bleak novel indeed. Reminiscent of early Stephen King with flashes of Dean Koontz, Lindqvist has written a very gripping and disturbing book, offering glimpses in to the darker underbelly of human life. Nothing is glossed over here as the tale involves extreme violence, bullying, existential angst, pedophilia and even murder.
The idea of a vampire novel isn’t a new one at all. In fact the glut of novels such as ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and the ‘Twilight’ series have filled the literary world full to bursting with their cookie cutter accounts of vampirism. Yet this novel offers a completely new perspective.
The life that Eli leads isn’t one of fancy parties or beauty or anything like that. It’s one of brutality and blood drinking just to survive. The fact that she’s so childlike yet at the same time so world weary adds a new layer to the character. In fact, in parts you can’t help but feel sorry for her.
The same goes for Oskar. Even though the character is quite a messed up young boy because of his circumstances, you can’t help but root for him to be happy and gain revenge on all those people who have wronged or hurt him.
All in all a brilliant novel. If you want a vampire novel that manages to be original while keeping the dark beauty of such writers as Stephen King and Dean Koontz then this is the book for you.