Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Review : Millennium Trilogy - Stieg Larson 9*

Dragon Tattoo, Played With Fire and Hornets' Nest have been the publishing sensation of the decade, and rightly so, Larson's tight writing and intricate plots are gripping stuff.

Without giving away too many spoilers, the plot of the three novels follows the fortunes of dark anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander.  At the start of the first novel she appears almost peripheral to the main plot where journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to seek out the truth about a four decade old disappearance.  As the story in Dragon Tattoo unfolds, Salander takes an ever more important role, and as ugly truths and malicious lies are uncovered it becomes apparent that Salander is central tot he story but the story id much, much bigger than her.

Larson handles plots and sub plots with aplomb, and whilst the numerous side stories may seem baffling and abstruse at times, he has a deft touch when it comes to tying all the strands together.  The Millennium trilogy is populated with a host of great characters, from the honest and brave journalists and police officers to the scheming and criminal secret police, the characters are well penned and believable.  My only beef with the whole series was the rate at which women got into bed with Blomkvist, a book written by a male journalist in which a string of beautiful women are bedded by a male journalist ? On the other hand, maybe the Swedes just behave like that, I wouldn't know.

Millennium is far and away the best thriller I have read in ages, the plot is compelling, and perhaps more so because it takes its inspiration from actual events in Swedish political history.  Lisbeth Salander is a fine literary creation, with her absolute black and white view of the world she carries her own moral standard and never wavers from it.  This trilogy was published posthumously, Larson had written the series almost as a hobby away from his investigative journalism and did not live to enjoy the massive world wide success his novels have become.

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