“Everyone is actually called something else. Inside every person there is another person. Talk misleads and behind the words are other words. We can be seen only when is dark. We can be heard only when there is silence.”
Those of you who have read my Top 5 Favourite Novels post know that this is my favourite book of all time. So rather than give a short synopsis about the story that I did in that post I decided to write a review on it so I can explain to you why I love it so much.
First of all though the reason why I love this book so much is because of the author himself. John Ajvide Lindqvist – No I have no idea how it’s pronounced – has often been described as the Swedish Steven King and there’s no surprise why that is. Lindqvist can create dark and thrilling stories which are horrific, tense and at times unpleasant to read. He is able to write stories which are both simple and complex at the same time.
His most famous book Let The right One in he tells a simple love story between a young boy and girl living in Sweden. The little boy Oskar deals with everyday problems such as bullies, family issues and of course having a crush on the girl next door. The twist however is that the little girl Eli is actually a two-hundred year old vampire forever frozen in her young body, having to deal with her afflictions and trying desperately to resist the temptation of biting Oskar. The whole story is a great spin on how vampires are seen in the world as rather than the cliché, tall, dark and corpse like creatures the vampire in this story is a little girl and despite being two-hundred years old she’s still a child at heart. The book is basically twilight done right with realistic characters and a love story that people want to see succeed in.
Little Star shares the same simple and complex story telling as Let The Right One In and indeed with every other book that Lindqvist has written before. Without trying to give too much away the story focuses on two girls Teresa and the one simply known as Theres. Both live two completely different lives – Theres has been in captivity her whole life to the point that she has never stepped outside the door and has developed a fear that the Big People will eat her if she does. Teresa is much like Oskar in the way that she deals with her own problems in life such as her family, being bullied by people at school and constantly being repulsed by her own physique.
Teresa is looking for a way to escape the life she has. She hates her family, hates her friends and hates the person she is. She isolates herself from groups and her friends and instead becomes lost in her own world of poetry. It is only when she meets Theres that she starts to be happy and takes pride in knowing there’s someone out there weirder than her.
Theres is a girl who was found buried in the forest by a man named Lennart Cederström. She has a pitch perfect singing voice which Lennart discovers after giving her the kiss of life and is because of this that she is kept in captivity so that Lennart can keep this talent from the world. Lennart knows she is different from regular people and believes that if her gift is revealed then the real world and the media would eat her up so to speak. As Theres fear of the world grows she develops a psychotic mind and starts to kill all the Big People who are seen to be hurting the Little People.
At first Teresa is horrified from what she sees and how casually she can murder another human being without feeling any moral guilt towards her actions. However over time Teresa starts to see life in Theres’ eyes and becomes a killer herself and soon they create their own little cult of little girls known as The Wolves who perform a wide spread massacre of all the Big People in town.
Ok I know I said I’d try not to give too much away but there’s so much in this book that needs explaining just to be able to get an idea of these characters and how they change over time. Trust me when I say that there is so much more to this book that I have barely even touched anything in this review. Until the last 100 pages or so I didn’t even think this book had a story or a climax to get to. For the most part of the book it’s just a study and exploration into these characters and how they reflect of each other’s completely different personalities.
Unlike most of his books, Little star was written almost in reverse as Lindqvist thought of the ending first and then worked backwards to create realistic characters who would develop over time in order to get to this ending. By taking us through the girls birth and childhood we know exactly how they became these killers and it becomes more real as we know that they didn’t just suddenly wake up and poof they want to become killers all of a sudden.
John Ajvide Lindqvist is my favourite author of all time and it was this book which made me admire his work so much. He writes a very simple story of a young girl growing up in Sweden and collides it with the complex world of a emotionless, psychotic, ABBA singing killer which is heartfelt, gory and leaves you with plenty of ‘What the hell did I just read?’ moments.