Even better than "The girl with the dragon tattoo". Keeps you reading from cover to cover. I didn't want to put it down. Flows very smoothly from begining to end. Keeps you on the edge of your seat.
#2 Millenium trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Salander returns home from her year-long sabbatical away from Sweden, settles into a new home and tries to figure out what to do with her life. She hasn't seen or spoken to any of her acquaintances since returning, but when she hacks into Blomkvist's computer to see what he's up to, she's stunned to see that he and his colleagues are working on an exposé of the sex trade in Sweden, specifically in importing penniless young girls in from foreign countries to essentially become slaves. She gathers some information and goes to see the young couple who are working specifically on the issue and the couple ends up brutally murdered just after she's there.
Blomkvist, who had called them to say he'd drop by some paperwork that was needed, discovers the bodies. When Salander's fingerprints are discovered on the weapon and her guardian is also found dead, she becomes the victim of a frantic witch hunt with painful details of her past splashed all over the papers--but for some reason, no one including the police, the prosecutor, or the newspapers has any information about the most important incident of all, the thing she calls "All The Evil" which occurred around her thirteenth birthday. Blomkvist and his team try to solve the murders of their co-workers independently of the police, as he does not believe Lisbeth is guilty.
Ok. I'm going to say right now that it took me weeks to read this book. I give the author an A for the storyline and plot, but the execution of the idea was, in my opinion, rather poorly done. The book seriously needed editing--it was way too long with way too many insignificant tangents and details about minor characters that were totally unnecessary and irrelevant. The writing style itself was very uneven--sometimes I was captivated and sucked into the story, but then a few pages later I had trouble concentrating because the writing had changed to superficial claptrap--for example, when Salander was furnishing her new home, there were three pages of prose listing the furniture (including brand names from Ikea) and the decor, yet when I was done reading that passage, I had no sense at all of what the place really looked like.
It was almost like there were two people writing. There was also the dichotomy with the characters--Salander was fascinating to me, but Blomkvist was dead boring. I also had to wonder why, with the supposedly wonderful medical care Sweden has, no one even whispered the term "Aspberger's Syndrome" in connection with Salander. I'm not a professional, and yet it was fairly clear to me (even in the last book!) that she likely had some form of that malady.
I've decided I'm not going to torture myself and read the third one. I know a lot of people loved this book, and when I had such an opposing reaction, I really did take some time to figure out if this is just me being contrary (as I have been known to be on occasion!) or if I had some valid criticism. I think my criticism is valid. The whole premise of the book and the story was a superb idea, but in my mind it was just poorly brought to life. This was not a book I couldn't put down, this was a book I HAD to put down and read in small bits in order to finish it. I can't help but wonder if the author had lived if the editing done would have been better. I guess we'll never know.
Faster moving than the first book. Great story line, the only problem I had was keeping all the names straight - many sound very similar and are unusual to me. Not crazy about all the unnecessary sexual stuff, but if you can read past that it's quite a story.
Unlike the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE sucked me in right from the start, and relentlessly demanded my attention until the bitter and exhausting end. Whereas I felt ambivalent about recommending the series after having just read the first book, this one nudges the series firmly into my like column.
Lisbeth Salander is, without a doubt, a remarkable character. Misunderstood and abused at a young age, this precocious but reticent woman goes about her life in a quietly defiant way, usurping expectations and social norms, that I am honestly in awe of. You dont exactly what to be her, per semore like, if you were like her, had her issues, then you would want to BE her. Does that make sense? Probably not. But thats the best I can explain it.
The majority of the book centers around the happenings of a tight very few days. Its almost incredible to think how 600 pages of a book could be devoted to, like, one week in these characters lives. However, Larsson is painfully meticulous about his details. Sifting through all the descriptions feels like you are a detective of a huge case, trying to determine which facts are relevant and which are just red herrings. His writing style, then, is rather appropriate considering the genre, and so I didnt mind the overwrittenness.
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE ends on such a nervewracking cliffhanger that you should be sure to have the third and final book by your side. This is very good, very engrossing escapist fiction. If, like me, you were skeptical about continuing on with the series after the end of the first book, dont worry. This will totally blow your mind and have you cancelling appointments left and right, just so you can stay in Lisbeths world.
Loved all three books in the trilogy. Great characters, smart, suspenseful, topical and well written. What a shame we won't get to read the other seven books planned by Stieg Larsson before he died. He was an exceptional talent.