Recommended Age: 18+ (triggering scenes, mature scenes, gore, violence)
Favorite Quote: “Hey, you fucking creep, in this shithole! I’ve got a monopoly on that one.”
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.
I, like everyone else, had heard about this bestseller when it first came out. I just thought the summary sounded weird. Until recently I didn’t have an urge to pick up the massive book and read it. And I’ve technically still not read it. I listened to it by audio tape instead. But I now regret not reading the book first because from what I heard on the audio tape the book is extraordinary. The main cast of characters are highly develop and complex, the plot is very well laid out and developed, and the pacing is perfection. While the pacing can be slow most of the time, the explanation of the case requires the pacing to be that slow. There is a lot that goes on in this book and while it can be confusing at first, it all comes together beautifully in the end.
My only concerns are that there is quite a number of secondary characters, which makes it confusing to keep everyone straight, and not every lose end is tied up. There are some minor strands that are left open at the end. I know this is part of a trilogy, but it just felt strange since every other plot strand was solved. My main complaint is that when you walk away from this book you tend to forget some of the plot and thus have to read or listen back over previous parts. There is a massive amount of information that the book covers, sometimes in a short period of time, and that is also very overwhelming for the reader. I also found that the author seemed to have a fascination with breasts. I’ve never read or listened to anything that mentioned breasts so much!
I also thought the book did a good job at being an inspiration for women. The book made a ton of mentions and brought up a lot of statistics about violence, especially sexual violence, against women. It presented a multitude of women who handled their sexual violations in different manners and it also showed women in a high seat of power. In some ways that’s very inspirational, but I felt that the book could have done a bit more to be diverse. The book also only touched upon, but did not openly discuss, sexual violence against men. Overall I found the book highly enjoyable. I’d recommend it for mystery/thriller buffs and for anyone who likes kick-ass female characters!