(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.