2010: 12. & 13. Two by Larsson

“She lay on her back fastened by leather straps to a narrow bed with a steel frame.”

The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, Steig Larsson

     I read the first Larsson book last summer, and enjoyed it well enough, but not well enough to hurry out and get the sequel.  But then when I went to Ireland my mom asked me to pick her up the third book, which hadn’t yet been released in the U.S., and then we got stuck (thanks, Iceland) and I ran out of reading material (except for, yuck, Finnegan’s Wake, which I gave myself permission not to have to read on my vacation after struggling through two chapters), so I figured I might as well get the second book, and if I liked it I could read the third quickly before I passed it on.  And obviously I read both, so you can gather that I like the second book at least enough to read the third.  And I will not deny that I found each book to be reasonably engrossing, and parts of each to be absolutely page-turning.  

     And yet, I have to say that I’ve found the series as a whole to suffer from the law of diminishing returns.  What I really liked about the first book - the classic mystery elements - was nowhere to be found in the next two, which are more about (SPOILER) spies and  action.  And violent crime against women, which was one of my least favorite aspects of the first book.*  I still did like the character of Lisbeth Salander, the prickliest and oddest heroine in a genre that is dedicated to strange and messed up women, but she was often sidelined (especially in book three), and I missed her.  I don’t want to trash what is obviously a fun series - especially, as discussed in the footnote, in light of the fact that the author died, and that he might have made some edits that never got made, but on the other hand, I kept wishing that the books were a little different and better than they were.   

Date/Place Completed:  April 2010, Rome, Italy (book two), Washington D.C. (book three)

Categories: Fiction

*I mean, I appreciate that Larsson took on such an important topic, and I certainly found that aspect to be more plot appropriate and less gratuitous in the second and third books, but still, enough is enough.  And, wouldn’t the whole series have worked better if the stuff with the serial killer and prostitutes from the first book somehow was referenced back in these two? Though I guess Larsson died before they were published, so maybe he wasn’t able to make that sort of tie.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017