I was blown away by Larsson's first two books in the Salander saga. The last one took me forever to read because I found it meandering and meaningless. The characters were difficult to remember because there were so many of them, and most of them were barely developed. The plot line was dull. Salander was not likeable or interesting. Blomquist was presented as a not-quite-simple womanizer. What happened? Knowing that Larsson died in 2004, I theorized he must have been hurrying to get it all down. This was not the same caliber book as the other two.
I was a little lost at the beginning, but the last 200 pages made it worth the read. Salander is one of the most interesting characters I have ever read. Larsson died unexpectedly, and he had already begun the 4th in what was to have been a 10 book series. I don't think he hurried this one up. Did you pick up on the thread that was not unraveled in this book?
I did not know that more Larsson books were planned. That is interesting. I'm not sure I know the unraveled "thread" you are thinking about. I really had a tough time retaining my interest, and the only reason I got to the end was because I wanted to know what happened to Salander, who I agree was a great character in the first two books. I thought the ending was anti-climactic in the extreme. But tell me more and maybe I'll at least modify my opinion a little. I wanted to LOVE the book.
Oh, yes, that missing link! I thought she was going to emerge in "Hornet's Nest." I was surprised that she didn't. She probably emigrated to the United States, is living in a small town in Iowa, bakes apple pies and watches "Dancing With the Stars."
I too thought that the twin sister would emerge in the third book(maybe to throw a spanner in the works in the court scene.) I'm guessing somewhere on that mysterious laptop Larsson's girlfriend is sitting on are plans for Salander's twin to emerge, Salander's financial empire to topple and Ronald Niederman's background developed.
I have not finished it yet, but I can't put it down. For me, it is the best of the three books. The complexity is what does it for me. It is true to life - intrigues, interests, counter-interests, information, disinformation. I never find myself thinking that Larsson took an easy option, or an easy way out, just of the sake of a thrilling story. I have to force myself to put it down because otherwise I'll read it all in one go and I know that once it is finished, there is no more ...
This is really a love it/hate it kind of book, I guess. One other person in my book club has finished it, and she was bored silly, too. She is blown away -- as I am -- by the positive reviews. I guess it all boils down to "different strokes for different folks." I LOVED the first two books, and "Hornet's Nest" was a huge disappointment.
Wow!!! what a diverse lot of comments. For the series was brilliant and before I read the third volume I re read the first two, it certainly refreshed my memory about the characters. By the time I had read the third in the series I was completly drained and blown away. How sad that there will be no more from such a talented author.
I couldn't agree more. I found the book turgid and for the most part predictable. If you haven't read it yet skip the first 500 pages and you won't have missed much. It may just be that I have have grown weary with the style, however, I enjoyed the first book, thought the second was over long and almost lost the will to live reading the third.
Larsson seems to want to dive down every literary cul de sac he can concieve of. Just how many departments of Swedish Law enforcement does he need to conjure up? There seemed to be a cast of thousands ( of Police Officers and Security Agents) all chasing each other endlessly round Stockholm or was it through an IKEA catalogue? It may be a petty point but endless repetition of street and district names do not help establish a sense of place if you are not already familiar with the city.
What purpose did the whole Berger side story have ? It wasted space in book 2 and even more in this book.
On a lighter note I am only slightly older than Blomkvist so I think I will move to Sweden for the sake of my sex life. Or is this Larsson wish fullfillment?
Ah, yes; a trip to Sweden. The unpronoucable street names, the endless cups of coffee, the strong, glamorous women and the Mikael Blomqvist seduction technique.................I don't think we need Stieg Larsson to finish that sentence: lost, high on caffiene and beaten up by some blonde Swedish Amazon.
I thought that Blomkvist's success with the ladies and the Niedermann character were straight out of a Bond movie, Niedermann's ultimate demise in particular. Good job he couldn't feel pain or he would have been through the ceiling with the first shot ( don't want to be more specific in case there is still someone out there who hasn't read the book)
As we are obviously greatly in the minority I would like to offer an Olive Branch to those who may be outraged by my flippant remarks. I think the major problem is that what could have been a very engaging finale was spoiled by the fact that Larsson died before he could get round the table with a really good editor. The book in its current state has all the elements needed to draw the trilogy to a satisfactory conclusion ( leave aside for one minute that it was meant to be No. 3 of 10; Gawd help us!) but as it is currently laid out it is a grindingly tedious exposition of how bad people will get caught. As such it becomes a boring self fullfilling prophecy with lots of coffee and place names thrown in and a Bondesque ending tacked on.
I started reading the books because I have been watching the Wallander series on tele (The "Girl with/who.." films are made by the same production company) and there had been some interesting articles in the press that got me thinking that I might like to read some Swedish crime fiction. I know that Henning Mankell writes the Wallander books; and he is regarded as the doyen of Swedish crime writers, however for daft reasons that I won't go into I chose Larsson's trilogy. I may give Mankell a go soon.
Anyway, my flight for Stockholm leaves shortly....................... Here goes,"God morgon. Jag heter Mickael Blomqvist"
They must have a Starbucks on every unpronouncable street corner.
One little detail did intrigue me. I think it was Armansky who at one point orders a double espresso with a teaspoon of milk. WHAT IS THE POINT? What possible difference could a teaspoon of milk make to a double espresso: unless Swedish teaspoons are HUGE.
Shows how tedious I found the book when that is one of the major details that stays in my mind after 700 pages!
Apparently Scandanavia countrys have the highest per capita consumption of coffe in the world (possibly due to the price of alcohol!) So get over there!
Hi Testa - re Larsson's sexual wish fulfilment, that was the one thing that most irritated me about this whole series.
It really was so obvious. Blomkvist very clearly was Larsson on paper, and Larsson was very clearly projecting. I've seen the first film, and I noticed that the filmmakers dropped the whole thing about Blomkvist the Lady Magnet. Maybe the people making the film found it just as irritating as I did.
They also kept the politics out of it. Obviously Larsson was entitled to his views, but equally obviously, not everyone is going to agree with them. He certainly spoke from the point of view of the then widely shared Swedish middle class liberal consensus. But things were already changing when Larsson died, and as recent elections show, his views are rather old-fashioned now.
I'm looking forward to the third movie to straighten out all the characters and subplots in Book Three. That's the only way I'm going to get it all straight -- putting faces to names. After watching the first two movies, my reaction to Salander was somewhat different than my reaction to her in the books, the result of having a casting director and the overall director trump my own inner vision. I was definitely a Salander groupie while reading the books. After the first two movies, I wondered what all the fuss is about. She's not even remotely likable. And her heterosexual sex is like onanism. What could Blomkvist possibly desire in her? Maybe it's the caffeine. I think that coffeehouse idea in Sweden is a good idea!
I just finished reading the ... Hornets Nest. I loved all of them and the final one was amazing. Finished all the 700+ pages in around one day. I guess thats why i loved it. I think the key to reading the last book is to finish it in one go, well maybe 2 :) the book is so complicated that if we read it in parts the interest might wane. I liked the way all the threads came together, well almost ..... camilla ? maybe shes the wife of Prince of Wales :)
I read all three books in the series back to back. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a riveting story and clearly an introduction to the characters and their backgrounds. The Girl Who Played With Fire kept me reading until I arrived at a somewhat sudden and surprising ending. Whilst it had drawn a line under certain threads it kept many open in readiness for a climactic finale. Which, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest does deliver regarding the main plot in the form of a high brow courtroom drama. However, those little sub-plots and relationships mentioned in the above comments would have been good to resolve, I can only imagine Larsson had much more in store for us. Such a shame.
It is great how we all see characters differently. I don't think I ever really warmed to Salander so when I saw the first movie she was just like I had imagined. Roomi Rapace's portrayal of her was so in tune with my image of her that I was completely captivated by it. I really enjoyed the film. I though the sense of place; of wintery isolation, was captured beautifully. Apple Muncher made a good point about the film makers ignoring Mikael's sexual exploits. I think the film was a lot stronger for it.
I haven't seen the second movie yet so I am curious to see how the second book is treated. I am not sure if I would watch the third except out of morbid curiosity. As you have probably gathered I didn't really like the third book; to the point that I almost have no interest in seeing a film adaptation.
I think you are spot on in your opinions about her sex scenes. I think if I had been Mikael I would have been out the bedroom window like a shot as soon as she came through the door.
I don't think Larsson was very good at bringing emotional depth to any of the relationships. I think the biggest twist/surprise in the third book was that the Big Blond Amazon actually fell in love with Blomqvist! Just what vein of affection did Larsson explore to make this believable?. Coffee, sex, love - just like that!
Apologies, I refered to you as Apple Muncher in another post! That is why I call myself Testa Dura!
I think the film makers did an excellent job in extracting the meat from this story and leaving the offal behind; although I conceed that some people like offal!
I haven't seen the other movies yet. I would like to see the second but am pretty lukewarm about the third. If the wield the scalpel as effectively as in the first it may make an enjoyable 30 minute TV drama.
I picked up the Hornets nest in a rush at the airport when it was first released in the UK, without realising it was the third and last in a series. I couldnt put it down, and it has to be one of my shortest and most enjoyable flights. I think it only enhanced my pleasure when realising there were two previous books to read, and certainly now having read them all, I feel no loss of pleasure in reading them out of sequence .......maybe they were released in the wrong order :)