Monday, May 31, 2010

Page 22: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The conclusion to Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy is bittersweet.  The first two books, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, were so well written and plotted it did not seem possible the third book could outdo them.  Now that it has, you realize there will be no more books from this great writer who died in 2004 at the age of 50.  Larsson created one of the most amazing characters in the thriller genre.  Lisbeth Salander is small and thin in stature, but a giant in intellect and courage.  She and investigative reporter Michael Blomkvist, the other main character, take on a secret organization within the Swedish secret police that has been responsible for unlawful and heinous treatment involving Lisbeth since she was a child.  More of this history is revealed in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Instead of telling you more about this book and revealing what happens ( this would be a real spoiler), here are some reviews that will give you a good preview.  Let me be clear here, please don't read this book until you have read the first two, and in order!  There are many reviews of the Millennium Trilogy, especially now that the last book has been published.  I will give you only a few here.  Please check out the others starting with your favorite search engine.

Review 1: "A thoroughly gripping read . . . Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson's fierce pixie of a heroine, is one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while--a gamin, Audrey Hepburn look-alike but with tattoos and piercings, the take-no-prisoners attitude of Lara Croft and the cool, unsentimental intellect of Mr. Spock . . . Owes less to the Silence of the Lambs horror genre than to something by John le Carre."
---Michael Kakutani, New York Times

Reiew 2: "The literary equivalent of a caffeine rush . . . Larsson was one of those rare writers who could keep you up until 3 a.m. and then make you want to rush home the next night and do it again . . . Larsson is something like John Grisham [but] Larsson held an extra ace: the creation of Salander."

Review 3: "Larsson has produced a coup de foudre, a novel that is complex, satisfying, clever, moral . . . This is a grown-up novel for grown-up readers, who want something more than a quick fix and a car chase.  And it's why the Millennium trilogy is rightly a publishing phenomenon all over the world."

Just so we all don't get too maudlin about the end of this trilogy, I have some good news that you may not have heard.  The Swedish film industry has already made the first two books into movies and is coming out with the third.  Also, not to be outdone, Hollywood is making its own versions.  For what it's worth, I don't think any movie will be able to capture what Larsson created in print.  But that is only my opinion, and I do plan to see all three movies.  After all, Peter Jackson made The Lord of the Rings into great films.  Let's hope this trilogy will be worth seeing on the silver screen.

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