“She has been called a psychopath, a murderer, and a lesbian satanist. There is almost no limit to the fantasies that have been circulated about her.” – From The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
From Lauren’s Perspective:
In the third and final installment of the Millennium Trilogy we continue where we left off in The Girl Who Played with Fire. Salander is in the hospital and slowly healing from her serious, if not quite fatal, wounds.
If I had to be honest, I’d have to say I didn’t fully enjoy this book in the same way I did the first two. This is a weird thing for me to say given that I read it with the same desire and curiosity. However, in retrospect, this book was filled with a lot of unnecessary information, so much so that I found myself skipping over large sections of the story. Although Larsson does use this style consistently throughout the series, over explaining every minute detail, it seemed to actually hinder the storytelling in this instance. Every character he introduces gets an extensive background written for them, and every faction of the police or government he brings up gets a complete historical text written on them that lasts for pages. It was hard to stay focused during these parts and I don’t feel as though they aided in the story in anyway. In fact, in many cases, the characters were promptly forgotten not to be brought up again. It left you slightly curious about their purpose, but mostly frustrated with the wasted time.
In addition, considering this was the final novel of the trilogy, I felt as though a lot was left unsaid. We saw the demise of Salander’s father (rather insignificantly, and unfortunately not at the hand of Salander), and we witnessed Salander’s name being cleared on all counts. However, she didn’t really make any strides with herself or, more importantly, with Blomkvist. Yes, she did claim to be over her feelings for him, and able to be his friend once and for all, but there was not much of a lead up to this. She simply saw him for the first time in a long time, and the feelings were no longer there. It didn’t feel believable, it felt as though Larsson was lying about it or had simply lost interest in their connection.
Overall, the novel did still have its entertaining moments, and I did still strive to understand the inner workings of Salander’s mind, but the storyline just didn’t have the same pull as the first two and unfortunately ended on a rather dull note.
Plot – 3 out of 5
Writing/Style/Form – 2 out of 5
Characters – 4 out of 5
Enjoyment/Entertainment Value – 3 0ut of 5
Overall Score – 12 out of 20
From Krista’s Perspective:
This final book in the Dragon Tattoo series brought numerous new plots and characters to light. It became a little overwhelming at some points to keep up with the new bad guys, new cops, etc., but it all built together to create a great finale to this trilogy. It was violent, it was gory, it was intriguing, it kept you guessing. The best way I can describe this book is to use a quote; “It had exploded in a brief orgy of violence neither of them was prepared for”. I’m not referring to the graphic sexual violence seen in the other novels but a different vigilante revenge-seeking type violence. Yet again we see Salander defy all odd’s, inspire women everywhere to adopt the same type of strength, and a vigorous attempt to set rights to the many wrongs within the plot.
My favorite thing about this book was how much more we learn about Salander considering the last two books where she was extremely closed off. I’ll be careful what I say for people who haven’t managed to read all three books yet but this third book creates a necessity for Salander to reveal more of herself and I greatly welcomed it. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was reading about Berger’s takeover of a new magazine as it really provided an inside look at the world of journalism. As someone who is impassioned by writing it is a fairly natural step to question the idea of becoming a journalist so this behind-the-scenes look was especially interesting to me. One last thing I really enjoyed about this final installment in the series was the emphasis placed on SAPO and the old-timers who were once powerful men now essentially re-emerging from the ashes to fix the mistakes of the inferior young men who had replaced them. At one point Gullberg defines themselves as, “The ones who don’t exist who no one will ever thank”, and it sent chills down my spine. It has always been some childhood silly fantasy to be a spy (probably enhanced by my obsession with the old TV show Alias) so this quote appealed to me and revealed how clandestine the SAPO life had been before reaching this point of Salander’s trial.
But with the good comes the bad. I won’t elaborate on the bad too much but two things particularly irritated me, although possibly no one else would feel the same irritation. First of all, the fact that two extremely severe brain injuries in one plotline where a surgeon miraculously can save both in those first few crucial hours was just a little too unbelievable for me. I believe in the power of a surgeon, of miracles, of prayer but I also believe in the reality of how infrequently these miracles can take place. I felt as though Larsson could have used any other medical emergency to develop this plotline. The second thing I found irritating was the frequent usage of online chat and other internet usage. Yes, it was crucial to Salander’s character to elaborate on this hacker lifestyle and her comfort in the online world, but I fail to see the reason behind simply writing “Lisbeth typed“, “Plague typed“; what did they type? I agree with leaving some things up to the imagination of the reader but if you are explaining an online hacker society then it is not sufficient to only acknowledge the fact that they are typing. The reader wants to know what was said, to who, why, etc. Give us more info!
But I can honestly say that the best thing about this book is knowing some of the history about it. Steig Larsson died in 2004 supposedly leaving behind an unpublished book to be added to the Dragon Tattoo series. Obviously tragic that he suddenly passed away before seeing all of his works published for the entire world, but how thrilling to know that there might be a fourth installment in this captivating series. If his family decides to publish this unfinished manuscript then Larsson’s legacy will continue to live in what I can only hope will be another exciting addition to the Salander story.