I’ve put off writing this review and I feel a little guilty for it, so here I am!
I bought the first two books in this series ($7!) at a bookshop, and I’ll admit that I pretty much bought them because they were bright & pretty & thick & cheap. Sue me. I’ve heard a lot of hype about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and I knew it was made into a movie, so I figured it would be a decent weekend read.
It was much more than a decent read, Nuts. (And it took a bit longer than a weekend, but in my defense, I was busy and had some trouble focusing.)
Armageddon was yesterday, today we have a serious problem.
First of all, there were a lot of characters, and they’re Swedish so I can’t pronounce half of them and the other half I got mixed up until about a third of the way through the second book. I love that. Maybe that’s confusing, but I actually adore books with a lot of characters; I have a love/hate relationship with constantly flipping back and forth between family trees or character lists. That’s one of the reasons why Game of Thrones interests me so much, even though I often get confused when everybody’s dying and I can barely keep up with all the Brandons and all those Freys.
But I digress.
Second, the characters are extremely complex and realistic and I adore most of them. I often found myself struggling not to like or dislike a character based upon which PoV I was reading; for example, when Salander (AKA The Girl) was the main focus of a particular passage, I found myself viewing every other character more harshly. It’s incredible. My opinion of someone could change from chapter to chapter and back again. And character development? Wow. I don’t want to give away a lot, but every main character grew so much over the course of the series, but in such small ways. It was incredible. I can’t think of another book where a character’s core was maintained so well through a trilogy.
Salander in particular (she’s my all-time favorite, in case you couldn’t tell) was written magnificently. She’s a total badass and she doesn’t take crap from anybody, and yet Larsson managed to give her weaknesses that never contradicted her overall persona. Most writers couldn’t do that, not even for an adult characters whose traits are majorly set in stone. I’m still impressed.
But she wished she had had the guts to go up to him and say hello. Or possibly break his legs, she wasn’t sure which.
Third, this novel explored the gritty, dirty aspects of journalism (and later, to some extent, politics and law enforcement) in a way I haven’t seen in fiction. In a way, Larsson reminds me of Kathy Reichs, if she were a journalist rather than a forensic anthropologist. Larsson (and Reichs) used his particular field to expand upon an already impressive storyline, and Blokvist became not only The Good Guy, but the Crusading Journalist, fighting for the rights and well-being of all Swedes and maybe All Mankind! It annoyed Salander to no end, but I appreciated the insight into such an interesting field. And it made the entire series a hundred times better and more realistic.
These books were a roller coaster of emotion, excitement, fear, and anticipation. I’m extremely satisfied with the ending (even though I wish Larsson hadn’t died and he’d written a thousand more), and overall I’d have to give it ten massive, gleaming gold stars. If crime, mystery, adventure, travel, humor, and hyper-realism are your thing, go check out these books. Buy them. Love them.
Oh, but I wouldn’t suggest reading it if you’re a young teenager or sensitive to violence or sexual scenes. And it does have a lot of triggers, from rape to abuse, so I would be careful if you have a history of reacting to them. If you want to know anything specific about the books or would like a run-down of the triggers, feel free to contact me!