Friday, April 1, 2011

Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (CBR #8)

Who makes creepier monsters than a ghost or demon or beast? A kid. There is something inherently creepy about kids even on a good day. And when you add in things like vampires, bullying, and piss balls (yes, piss balls, read the book), then you've got some pretty creepy ass kids.

The cover of this book is a boy and a girl holding hands in the snow. Cute, right? Except that the girl has straggly greasy hair and the bottoms of her feet are bloody. Ewwwwww. I totally wanted to read the book after I saw that. Not even being sarcastic.

This is a vampire book, but my experience with vampire books comes from reading the True Blood series, which seems like a trip to Disneyland compared to this one. The story takes place near Stockholm where some grisly murders have been occurring. We meet several characters, including Oskar, a 12 year old boy. Oskar, who is bullied at school, finds a friend in Eli, a child who has recently moved into his neighborhood. Although Eli is a bit strange, Oskar is intrigued and they slowly develop a friendship. But don't let this give you warm fuzzies. There isn't much room for those in this book. The murders move closer to Oskar's neighborhood and he slowly learns Eli's deep, dark secrets, all the while dealing with his own demons.

I really liked this book. The imagery was great and the characters interesting. Although I wouldn't describe it as a scary book, it would definitely make for a scary movie.

Speaking of movies, there are both Swedish and English versions. Apparently I am the last person on earth to know this (or second to last if you are thinking, "huh?!"). If you don't want to read the book, at least see the movie.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (CBR #7)

The zombies have taken over the world, but slowly, life is returning to normal...if that word exists anymore. World War Z is an account of the zombie war as told through interviews with a range of characters from simple survivors to politicians to those who were on the front lines.

Pros? The story is told through a range of perspectives

Cons? The story is told in bits and pieces and sometimes, just when it starts to get really good, the "interview" ends and you're on to another character.

Overall, I liked the book but it didn't have me on the edge of my seat. I can appreciate the style in which the story slowly unfolds through the eyes of various people; but occasionally I felt the voices were contrived. Rather than reading like a book, sometimes, the text reads more like a script. And at times, I could imagine a character as an actor sitting on a stool onstage, speaking his monologue. But the monologue seems more like someone reading lines, as opposed to speaking extemporaneously...if that makes sense outside of my little head.

Anyway, if you're into zombies, give it a go. It may not be the best one, but it may not be the worst either.