Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Lisbeth Salander Series, Stieg Larsson

Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
Author: Stieg Larsson
Rating: Good

I am very late to the party on these, but I did enjoy them when I finally got around to reading them.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is quite good.  It introduces new and complex characters well, and even manages to overcome my lack of knowledge about Sweden without coming across like a textbook.  Bloomkvist is an interesting person, and feels real, but Salander is the heart of the book as I read it, and the central mystery of her story is what the subsequent books follow.

Book two - The Girl Who Played With Fire - suffers from a very long and slow introduction.  150 pages in I almost gave up, but then it picked up.  Larsson was positioning his pieces and getting ready to tell his story.  I could wish he'd done so more quickly or in a way that didn't drag on so long, but the rest of the book is quite good, and we start understanding Salander's background and the reasons she is who she is.  It ends on a cliff hanger, though, so be prepared with the last book if you go down this route.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest picks up right where TGWPWF leaves off; no introduction, no summary.  It just jumps right into the middle of the action, which is where Larsson's writing shines.  We watch as Salander (with the aid of Bloomkvist) deals with the rest of the fallout from her childhood and the story comes to a close.

There are a few things I might quibble with in the overall plot, and Salander's software and hacker skills aren't as realistic as I - a programmer by trade - would have liked, but overall it isn't too bad.  With the exception of the intro to TGWPWF, Larsson wrote well, and I am sorry we won't see more works by him.  Good stuff.