Hmmm, a very hard book to rate. It's almost a writing exercise----stark, depressing, almost clinical in spots, depicting the lives of people that contain no hope, no excitement, humor, creativity, longing, imagination, etc., etc., These people lead not just boring lives, but empty ones as well. To add a vampire to the mix is almost sadistic, because these characters have already been drained. Even the putative hero is....nondescript, as if he's been emptied conveniently for cleaning. None of them have character, opinions, or standards; all the characters act pettily or passively, or both.
Oskar is a not-exactly little boy living in an artificially-spawned burb located in a bland hellscape in a winter that wasn't bad enough to be interesting. The original movie Oskar creeped me out more than the American version, because he looked....undercooked, like half-boiled pasta. The American one displayed actual emotion. Of course, the American version fudged Eli's gender.
In a novel like this, where everything is hints and impressions, nothing ever feels definite. Fear intensifies emotion, but this book evoked little on me, so disconnected were its characters from....well, everything, including every other human they encountered. I had trouble keeping track of all the depressed, depressing characters, from the cat-hoarder too stupid to spay, to the various middle-aged drunks that made up the victims.
As an exercise in stark storytelling, this was a success, but it didn't scare me, which ought to be the reason for reading it. Maybe this is fine literature and I'm too much of a peasant not to see it, but I still like my old-fashioned movie monsters. I COULD make room in my personal pantheon for a scarily-logical version of various monsters, but alas, haven't found that yet.
I think part of the attraction for me is the way humans can be made to re-asses life if they're not quite the apex predator we think we are. However, in this book, Eli is just another sad, little, polyester-clad cypher with no hopes, fantasies, or inner life. Yes, ironically, the book comes across as honest, but why bother? There's nothing here.
There is some discussion of pedophilia, which some reviewers at Amazon freaked out over. It's one of those I don't get.....nothing seemed to have a purpose in this novel.
I didn't hate it ir love it. I will never reread it again. It was not interesting enough in the end. There were no sparks.