Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: Let the Right One In

(Previously published on my Goodreads page)

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

This was a fantastic book. In Eli, Lindqvist has created a vampire for the modern age- one that is a vampire in the physical and emotional sense. The idea of vampirism as a living being - a symbiot - is also a neat twist in the idea of the "curse" of vampirism.

The book is neatly paced, and well grounded in it's setting of Sweden in the early 1980's. Something I felt would mar the book for me, but in fact helped me enjoy it more, is the fact that Oskar, the boy who strikes up an intense friendship with Eli, is not an instantly likable character. Whilst it was easy to empathise with him as a victim of bullying, and sympathise with the fact that he feels isolated and misses his father, the fact that he shoplifts, and is proud of doing so, and that he also has a morbid fascination with murders, does set him apart from other characters in the vampire genre. All the characters are well-rounded, and backstory is provided where relevant, and in a way that eases the book along, rather than feeling like a detour from the plot.

At the end of the book the story is brought together neatly, in an appropriate manner (I'd say "realistic" but that's not really the right word given the nature of the book) but also left potential for more of a story. I wanted to keep reading the book to see what happened at the end, then at the end I wanted more.

Highly recommended!

Review: The Great Gatsby

Er, yes. Been a while. Good intentions and all that.
Anyway, I've made a conscious decision to blog more, and do the reviews I kept telling myself I'd do.

At the start of the year I began reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I'd heard good things about it, and it is touted as a masterpiece, a definition of the Jazz Age, and the greatest love story of the century.

I really couldn't get on with this book. I found the pace too slow, it was only in the last twenty or so pages that the plot (to me) came to fruition. By then it was too late- it was only then I felt a tiny amount of sympathy for Gatsby, who wanted a specific love. Up until then I'd found him irritating- I appreciate this may have been the intention- none of the characters are appealing, wrapped up in themselves and the silk and glitter of the age, but the actions at the very end of the book removed that sympathy.

I read this book decades after it was written, maybe I just read it in the wrong generation. Morals regarding love and relationships have changed over that time, but even taking that into account, the love story does not shine through as much for me as I believe it was meant to.

This book is not getting a re-read from me, and the paperback will be heading back to the charity shop from whence it came. I may read other works by the author- I have been told that Tender is the Night is a better work, but it's not something I will be going out of my way to do.