After recently watching the brilliant movie based on this book written by swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, I felt I had to read the book as well, and so I did. It turns out that the movie is a lot better than the book. It is much tighter and keeps the focus, while the book is drifting around quite a bit. So the short advice is to see the movie and only read the book, if you feel you have to.
What comes next will contain ***SPOILERS***, so don't read on, if you want to see the movie/read the book later.
Some reasons why I liked the movie better than the book:
- Compared to the movie we learn that Eli is not really a girl. In fact she is a castrated boy named Elias. It made a lot more sense in the movie where Eli was not a girl because she was a vampire. Not because she was a boy.
- The extended parts about Håkan walking around with a hard-on and almost no face left sounds like something from a bad b-movie, and I'm glad they didn't include it in the movie.
- Some of the unimportant characters(for the main story) get too much attention in the book. It works a lot better in the movie, where we follow the development of the main characters and not so many other people.
- The dream sequences that tell a bit about Elis background are vague and don't make a lot of sense, nor do they explain a lot of interest. They could have been important and interesting if they had been better constructed and better written, but as they are in the book, they aren't really worth a lot. And again, it makes a lot of sense that the movie left them out.
It is not exactly a bad book though. It just isn't nearly as good as the brilliant movie.
[2007, GB-forlagene A/S] (released in Sweden in 2004)