*** About the Book ***
Financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist is in trouble. His magazine, Millennium, published an expose he wrote about a dirty industrialist named Wennerstrom. Wennerstrom in turned sued Mikael ... and won. Now Mikael has been convicted of libel and sentenced to 90 days in prison. He's also taking a leave of absence from the magazine to allow it to recover. At this very low point in his life he's offered a freelancing job by a wealthy, retired industrialist named Vanger. Vanger's beloved niece disappeared over 40 years ago, possibly at the hands of another family member. Vanger is an old man and wants Mikael to find out the truth about the disappearance before he (Vanger) dies.
Then we have Lisbeth Salandar, a secretive 20-something who freelances as a background investigator. Her work bring her into contact with Mikael and the other main players in the Millennium, Wennerstom, and Vanger dramas.
*** Why I Read It ***
I'd never have picked this up if not for my book club; it was chosen as our November book. It was impossible to get it from the library considering that there were 224 people who'd reserved it prior! So I purchased it via the Kindle App on my phone and read it that way.
*** My Thoughts ***
It is clear that this book was meant to be the start of a series. Like many other firsts-in-a-series it spends a great deal of time setting up character background. It was slow going for a while but when I looked at it as part of a series rather than an individual book I was able to enjoy the journey.
That said, the story didn't really pick up until more than half of the book had elapsed, though at that point things began to happen very quickly. I guessed the solution to one of the big mysteries long before the truth was revealed, which could be a good thing or a bad thing; it means that the climax didn't come out of nowhere but it also means that part of the story was a bit predictable.
The author's wording choices often seemed awkward to me, but this could be the fault of the translator rather than the author. Still, some portions were consistently difficult to read. Lisbeth's dialogue is a good example. One line reads as follows: "If you even try to hurt me I'll have to do you an injury. You'll be sorry." See what I mean? Can you actually imagine someone speaking those words? Also, the word "anon" was used quite often. I wonder if the translation of that word is common in Sweden or if the translator could have picked a better word in English.
I don't read a lot in the mystery/thriller genre so this is definitely not a book I'd have picked up on my own. That said, it was pretty good (though slow to start) and I enjoyed it. What I don't get is why this book is so wildly popular. Is it really that different from others in the genre? It didn't seem so to me, but again I don't read a lot in this genre. It wasn't a bad book but it wasn't a great book either. I just don't get the reason for all the hype ...
WARNING: There is a fair bit of sexual violence in this book. Sexual harassment of women is one of the main themes, and Larsson reiterates this fact by quoting crime statistics at the beginning of each book division in addition to includes it in the various plots.
*** The Movie Version ***
I haven't seen the movie yet but I do plan to. Like I said in my warning above though, there IS a lot of sexual violence in this book. I'm not sure how that will be played on in the movie and I'm very leery of it. Here's the official trailer if you want to check it out:
*** Your Thoughts ***
- What, exactly, is it about this book that made it such a huge hit? It is really that different from other mystery/thriller novels?
- Did anyone have the same thoughts regarding the translation?
- For those who have read the rest of the series, is it worth continuing?
- For those saw the movie, what did you think of it?