Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good-bye, Lisbeth Salander

It's been more than 3 years since I last read and wrote my thoughts on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. So it's been more than 3 years since I was first floored by Stieg Larsson's talent and thought how unfortunate that we'll never read more of his works.

In the 3rd and last book of Larsson's Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next, it seems that the author went all out to give Lisbeth Salander a grand farewell. However, I found myself wanting that it somehow lacked the thrilling action elements present in the 1st and 2nd book. We saw Salander fight it out in the first 2 books. In the 3rd, she's mostly in her hospital bed, with only a PDA to keep her connected to the Internet.

I was surprised with a number of things as I was reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. It turned out to be your 'thinking thriller', filled with lengthy expositions about the organization that played a large role in Salander's circumstances. There's also a good number of characters to keep track of, and the Swedish names does get some getting used to. I was surprised that the one person whom I thought would face Salander at the conclusion is murdered early on.

One thing was not very surprising though -- how you know that Salander would be acquitted with all the charges against her. Considering the sheer number of people who seem to be at her side knowingly and unknowingly, her vindication seems a foregone conclusion. Still, it was very satisfying to read her enemies brought to their heels in a fascinating courtroom drama. You can't help but smile.

Of the 3 novels, I especially love The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Perhaps it was the novelty of getting my hands on Scandinavian crime fiction for the first time that made me really like the novel. Or maybe it was the novel's closed murder room mystery that worked for me. I love murder mysteries and the 1st book was a brilliantly conceived one. Nevertheless, it was a treat to finally finish the trilogy, even though it took me a few years to get to it.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is one 'talky' novel. Lots of dialogue is found on the page. Larsson's characters have well-developed voices, making the dialogues easy to follow. And you have to hand it to Larsson for making sure to tie everything together in the end. By the close of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Salander is redeemed in every aspect, perhaps even in her personal relationships. Farewell, Lisbeth Salander. I'll miss you. I'll miss the girl who kicked ass.

Read this book if:
  1. Scandinavian crime fiction is your thing.
  2. You are a completist. You just have to read all the books that make up a trilogy or a series.
  3. You can't get enough of Lisbeth Salander.


Jack said...

My daughter has a big-ass fire-breathing dragon tatoo that covers half her back, and for that reason, I got her The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo for Christmas. She loved it, and bought the rest of the series on her own. I haven't indulged it yet (though I'm going to), but I'll try to strongarm her into getting on here for a discussion with you. She has an English degree, and is one of the gooder writers in the family, so maybe you guys can get into it!

Peter S. said...

Hello, Jack! Yes, you should try this out! The first novel is quite good, very accessible.

Monique said...

I already miss Lisbeth Salander. :(

Peter S. said...

I'm just looking forward to the Hollywood movies. Hehehehe.

Stepford Mum said...

I enjoyed book 1 most too, Peter, but also liked the last. It was bittersweet knowing there wouldn't be any more. As I've said before, I think Blomqvist (the book protagonist, not the film version) is incredibly sexy. And I would have loved to know what happened to Lisbeth's sister.

Peter S. said...

Hello, Stepford Mum! It would have been interesting to have another storyline that focuses on Lisbeth's twin, no? She was barely mentioned in book 3.