Posts Tagged ‘Stieg Larsson’

Book Review – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey there.

While I try to figure out where I am trying to go with my blog, here is a lovely book review.


Normally I try not to read a book after it has gone all main stream, I like being a partial hipster and ‘discover’ a book before it has a Wikipedia page.  But some books are amazing and should be read no matter what.  The Millennium Series is such books.

Written by the late Stieg Larsson, his trilogy starts with the well-known ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and introduces us to Lisbeth Salander, Mikael Blomkvist and many other unforgettable characters.  The first book takes the world head on, and it rips away the friendly Sweden presented by IKEA and shows us a darker underworld.  It is not the true face of the world they live in, but it is a face.

As far as the movie goes, I only saw the American version and it was very dark.  Not as dark as the book but in terms of accuracy, it was as dead on.  At first I felt like Lisbeth was too weird to relate to.  As I read more, I realized I wished I could be more like her.  She is like a female Batman who is willing to take that last step over the edge to save more lives.  You know which one.  But she also remains true to herself and her convictions.  Also I would never want to be on her bad side.

The next book continues some time later in ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’ where Lisbeth is accused of three murders.  To my annoyance and delight, the book follows everyone BUT Lisbeth so you have no idea what her reaction or even her guilt to the murders.  It was a great move on Larsson’s part and I wish he were alive to write more books about her.

Finally, in ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’ Lisbeth is on trial.  This book above all others is more of a conspiracy novel and it reads as such.  Is it still good?  I say so but now I want out go out and solve crimes.  There ought to be a warning label.  But the base plot revolves around how women are treated by men in Sweden.  To be honest, it is a bleak view of how many women are treated all over the world.  Does Lisbeth come out on top?  You will need to read yourself.  All I know is that her sense of justice in the world comes from her upbringing and in her shoes I don’t know if I could be half as good.

Another key plot is the matter of her sanity.  Without going into detail, I do feel she is not normal. She feels little or no fear through the series as a normal person does.  She sees a problem, finds a solution, and protects herself like a one woman army.  Is it dangerous?  Yes.  But she is not some weak little thing despite her outward appearance.

In terms of the book itself, I could go on and on about how great it was.  I will instead point out a few cons.  My biggest issue was the unreality of it.  Rather than pick a woman lead who the reader can relate to, I found someone I wished I could.  The ideal heroine.  Does she have relatable qualities?  Yes but they are the extreme in everything.  She is super small, very antisocial, genius smart, computer whiz full of calm rage against those who are wrong.  Its un real.  But amazing.

Also, he head jumps.  This is more of an editing issue, and it is unfortunate that he died before any of the books were published.  This is most evident in book three when you get a head view of multiple people in a scene.  It’s annoying but does not really detract from the story and the majority or readers would not notice.  But if you write, that is certainly something to be on the watch for.

My last con is that the book is slow at first.  There were many chapters where I wanted to skim over the dates and facts that were part of the history.  There were more than a few sections that could have been deleted.  At around 800 pages for each book, the word count is a little too high and could have done with some cutting.  I think part of why this was not done is because these books are the last ones he (the author) ever wrote.  Every word is precious and it is something to remember.  At one point he felt it was important.  And we all know that any time we need to cut something out there is a little whimper from our manuscripts.


Please read these books.  They are amazing in their own way.