-Might be considered to contain some minor spoilers, if it does they are really tiny, and it is all stuff that, if you read the book and have a bit of brains, you can figure out from the beginning-
This is the second book of the acclaimed ‘Millennium’ trilogy. The magic word for me is trilogy, it means that if I read one I need to read the others, no matter how bad I think they are, which is also exactly what happened for Twilight and The Hunger Games.
I read the first book about three years ago and mainly because it was a present. This is really not my genre, and if I had known that it was a huge advertisement for Apple products I would have never considered it in the first place. As you might guess I didn’t really enjoy it despite finishing it in a couple of days. Actually, I’d like to point out that just because a book is read fast it doesn’t mean it is a good book, there are many reasons why a book is read fast: you can be sitting at the beach for days and all you want to do is read (that is what happened to me); each chapter might leave you on a cliff hanger and you want to know what happens next (The Hunger Games); or it’s so badly written that you can’t keep your eyes of it in hope it gets better (Twilight); or, and this is I find to be the most common case, the writing is so simplistic that it feels like you are reading a children’s book but with adult content (Fifty Shades of Grey).
Back to the book then, I decided to read it because only having read the first one felt utterly incomplete, and I guess I was hoping it would improve… Boy I was wrong, the first one was fine literature compared to the second one.
One of the things I truly disliked is Lisbeth’s description. She is one of the two main characters and she is described as being gifted with a photographic memory (as in: I-shut-my-eyes*click*I-have-taken-a-picture-with-my-XMen-power, this type of photographic memory); she is also a flawless hacker, possibly the best in the world, or why not, the universe; she is extremely gifted at whatever she does, she is a mathematical genius who picks up a degree-level astronomy book full of fucked up equations and she understand it perfectly. In short, she is described as every modern kid wanna-be. I personally dislike it when characters are portrayed as being the closest thing to perfection, and when their flaws are emphasised in a positive light. There is nothing, in the entirety of the book, that makes the reader think: ‘wait, this is not such a good trait to posses’; I mean, Lisbeth is a hacker and as much as I’d like to be a computer genius, there is no way that hacking can be justified as one of the best qualities a person can have; and when she, a 26 year old woman, has sex with a 16 years old, possibly virgin (as she makes a point to tell the reader), guy it is rape, there is no way around that one, and the fact that there is no consequence for her actions is a big no-no.
The book mainly follows the two main characters’ adventures in the land of espionage journalism and revenge. Mike and Lisbeth, the protagonists, rarely meet through the book so that the chapters are very distinct between them, following one or the other and focusing on each’s point of view; unfortunately Larson fails at offering distinct points of view as the characters are totally interchangeable. When I say interchangeable I mean that, even though there is a sensation that, since they are different characters, they have different experiences, there is no substantial difference in the narration of the chapters; what I would have liked to see was for the single chapters to focus a bit more on the personal experience of the people due to their different traits -I hope this makes sense, it does to me, but I’m not sure it would to anyone else. A question of messed up interchangeability, to me could also be found in the descriptions of every other character that was not Lisbeth or was not Mike; for instance, apart from the big bad final boss, the smaller thugs could all have been numbered rather than named, I didn’t find them memorable in any way.
Another thing I did not appreciate very much, is that a lot of characters are very mysogenistic, which of course is a literary devise (since the original title of the first book is something along the lines of Men who Hate Women), but they are so badly written that their nasty comments against women seem to come from the author rather than them, making you question the author’s ideas. It is one thing to say out loud: ‘I believe in equality of men and women everywhere’, and it is one thing to truly believe it; to me Larson tried to hard to show that he believes in equality.
Of course the book is not all bad, it also has its nice moments and one of the best parts, for me, was the Pippi Longstocking reference, mainly because it was one of my mum’s favourite books growing up, I have read it, and my sister absolutely adores the old tv show: I guess you could say it’s a family thing. However this was not the only enjoyable moment, I appreciated the instances in which characters were compared to trolls, it gave it a very Northern European sense, as well as functioning as a very good description whilst spending just a few words.
When I set off to write this review I didn’t mean to be so nasty, it kind of came of its own accord. I am sorry about it.
This review can also be found on Goodreads [click here].