"Salander heard a sound and saw a movement out of the corner of her eye just as she was putting the key in the door of the Honda. He was approaching at an angle behind her, and she spun around two seconds before he reached her." (The Girl Who Played with Fire, Page 193)Welcome everyone to this month's round of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. Make sure to make the rounds and see what everyone has been reading over the past month.
A couple of weeks ago I finished up the second book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium series, The Girl Who Played with Fire. I was going to review the third book in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, over at The Random Book Review, but I haven't quite finished it. It's kind of been a busy week for me but, hey, I'm still reading!
This is the part where I make the assumption that everyone under the sun has heard of Stieg Larsson and his Swedish Millennium series, but considering that not everyone enjoys the same genres, I won't make that assumption. When reading Larsson's background, it's really not surprising he chose topics such as misogyny, sex trafficking, and corrupt political systems to use in his books. Here's a little bit about Larsson's background according to this website:
Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) was a Swedish writer and journalist. Prior to his sudden death of a heart attack in November 2004 he finished three detective novels in his trilogy "The Millennium-series" which were published posthumously...Altogether his trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries, and he was the second bestselling author in the world in 2008. Before his career as a writer, Stieg Larsson was mostly known for his struggle against racism and right-wing extremism.He liked extreme storylines, to say the least. There is supposedly a fourth book hidden inside Larsson's computer, but much controversy surrounds who should own the rights to Larsson's estate: his father and brother or his life partner Eva Gabrielsson. Feel free to visit the website I listed if you're interested in checking out the controversy.
About the book:
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, two people are brutally murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander's innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Slander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.
If you've read the first book in the trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, then you know that The Girl Who Played with Fire picks up roughly a year or so after the first novel. After Salander and Blomkvist's harrowing ordeal in the previous book, Salander has skipped the country with her loot and has spent time abroad. We find her in Grenada at the beginning of the story, doing what she does best: saving a young woman from certain death at the hands of her husband. This element is important because as the story unfolds we see that Salander's past, which is riddled with abuse, will come back and rear its ugly head.
Where in The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo Salander and Blomkvist spend a large portion of the book together, in the sequel, they only come in close contact with one another at the end of the book. I struggled with that a little bit, because I was expecting more one on one work between the two of them. The third book is shaping up to be much of the same, but I've yet to finish it (I have about a third of the book left), so I don't know if there will be any resolution to their relationship. I'm hoping so (but please don't tell me how it ends)!
Overall, I enjoy the hacking capabilities of Salander. I'm very fascinated with every nuance of the hacking world Larsson creates. I have no idea if what he's saying is true about how hacking works, but at least it makes for an interesting read. I do struggle with Larsson's portrayal of women in his books. None of them seem like the type of woman a man would want to settle down with and raise a family. Berger, Blomkvist's longtime love interest, is tough as nails in the publishing world. She knows what she wants, goes and gets it, and stops for a little hanky-panky if the need arises. Which seems to be quite a bit with her and it usually borders on kinky. For whatever reason, Larsson feels the need to divulge all the ends and outs of the female characters' sex lives, but he doesn't go too much into the mens' unless they're the ones doing the sex trafficking. Salander is a very damaged individual and more of who she is comes out in the second novel. When Blomkvist learns the truth about her rape, I feel it's disappointing how he rationalizes his physical relationship with Salander. She had come to him not long after her rape, so that meant it was okay. Sorry, but that's just sad. What the girl really needs is someone willing to listen to her, but Larsson builds her into an individual full of mistrust and the need for isolation that all I ever feel for her is pity.
|The hard-looking Lisbeth Salander from the Swedish films.|
If you've not read the book, know this: the story feels dated. Larsson drops so many brand names, especially with computer technology, that it loses some of that here-and-now feel. Grant it, the book does deliberately state that it's 2004, but time can be tricky when it comes to contemporary thrillers. Readers are constantly wanting to feel the technology and brands of today. Palm pilots may have been cool in 2004, but I don't know anyone still using them now. The book also tends to become a tedious read. There are some pretty long passages of information dumps and over explanation of the basic facts that at times the storyline gets swallowed up. As a whole, though, Larsson weaves a great story concerning Salander's background. Which, is why I had to read the third book.
Have you read any of Stieg Larsson's books? If so, what's your opinion?
Make sure to check out the rest of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse reviews: