The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest: An end to the Millenium

It took a while, but I finally got around to reading the final book in the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, “The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest“. Before continuing, feel free to check out my reviews of “The girl with the dragon tattoo” and “The girl who played with fire” if you haven’t already.

I don’t recall reading too many trilogies, outside of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Christ Clone Trilogy“, but one thing I’ve come to notice the third can be a bit of a let down, since the second usually contains the meat of the story. This one was no different. Throughout the final book, Lisbeth Salander is kept out of the action, and Mikael Blomkvist is thrust into the forefront as he uses his investigative skills to help dismiss the many charges laid against her. To me, what made the books work best was the combination of Blomkvist and Salander working “together”.

One other piece of criticism I had with the book was way too much repetition. I understand that authors like to give readers a refresher of the story, but I found myself skipping paragraphs as they went through a constant rehashing of events.

All that being said, the final scenes in the courtroom were entertaining, and helped end the series off well. As was expected, the storyline cleaned itself up conveniently and the good guys got off scott free and the bad guys went to jail for their crimes.

I hate giving this one a low score but overall I just wasn’t that into this third installment: 2/5

For the series though, I just have to do the math (4/5 + 4/5 + 2/5) = 10/15

What did you think of the series? Were you let down by the final book or did you think it was a good end to the series?

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Top 5 books I’ve read in 2010

I love to read. I’m pretty sure I’ve made this clear over the last while, and if you’re regular reader of my blog you’ll see my many book reviews. I tried to read 26 books in 52 weeks, but it appears that may have been too lofty of a goal – it might have something with me reading books that are 800+ pages too.

Anyway, I think I’ve read enough to compile a serious top 5 list of my favourites. This is a list of the top books I’ve read this year; they didn’t necessarily come out this year. I’ve included a link to the previous reviews I’ve given so as not to repeat myself again and again:

5. The Girl Who Played With Fire

This is the second book in the Stieg Larsson trilogy, and I felt the character development of Lisbeth Salander was much better than the first, where she was still a bit of a mystery. Find out more from my review which I posted on July 23.

4. Gratitude

A great World War II novel that takes place in Hungary, which I liked, because anytime I read something, fictional or non-fictional, that happens outside of countries like Germany, England or the United States, I have a better appreciation of what happened during the war. Here’s my review which I posted on February 24.

3. Secret Daughter

An amazing book about the culture clash that occurs between couples coming from very different backgrounds and how that can affect families as the children of those couples grow and want to adapt to one culture or the other. My review of “Secret Daughter” was posted on September 29.

2. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

An amazing story about a father who made the decision to give up his first born daughter because she had Down’s Syndrome. He lied to his wife and told her she was a still born, but for years he held the secret, and his wife went into a deep depression, which affected her love for the boy they later had together. You can read the rest of my review, which I posted on May 5.

1. Through Black Spruce

In 2009, Joseph Boyden’s first novel “Three Day Road” made it to number two on my top five list of fiction books, in 2010, he’s improved on that with “Through Black Spruce”.

To steal from my earlier review of the book (my first review of 2010), “This is story is a universal one of self discovery. The path the characters take aren’t ones they’d want to go through, but because of those experiences they have a  stronger understanding of who they are and what’s important to them, in the end.”

I’m anxiously awaiting the planned third book in this series, and who knows, if it comes out in 2011, it may make the top of the pile again!

What is your top book you read this year? Did any of the books I read make it?

My review of “The girl who played with fire”

The 2nd book in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, “The girl who played with fire” comes in at spot 12 for my “26 in 52 Challenge“. Every time I write one of these posts, I go ‘oh I’m so behind’ etc, and this one will continue that trend. It’s been taking longer to read books of late; though in my defense these two come in at over 700 each, and I’m a notoriously slow reader. Anyway, moving on…

As Lisbeth Salander’s life begins to move to better things, she gets accused of three homicides and there’s damning evidence which makes her the prime suspect. Two of the three murders are colleagues of Mikael Blomqvist, conveniently enough. He doesn’t believe Salander is guilty and tries everything he can to prove her innocence. Unfortunately for him, she hates him and doesn’t do much in the way of help, until later on. So the story continues on as we follow Blomqvist and Salander as they try to uncover the mystery of who shot those three people. They don’t appear together until the end of the book, but they follow parallel paths to figure things out.

I found this one a bit slower than the first, but still quite enjoyable. What I enjoyed most, was learning the background of Salander. Finding out what made her who she is only made her character seem that much more interesting. She seems like the underdog who can’t catch a break in life, so though she’s crass, you want to cheer for her, every step of the way.

The story line seemed a bit over-planned to me. Where the first book felt like the series of events that happened were natural, this seemed like every character that was introduced was just a convenient plant for a plot twist. I know that may sound weird to say because all books are planned, but that’s just how it feels for me.

While I have a few issues with the book, I give this one a 4 out of 5.

Have you read it yet? Thoughts? Here’s the trailer:

My review of “The girl with the dragon tattoo”

The late Stieg Larsson‘s book “The girl with the dragon tattoo” takes spot number 11 in my “26 in 52 challenge“. Being week number 24 I’m still a book behind. I’ll have to either read a short one or buckle down and finish two books in two weeks at some point. I’m still looking forward to the challenge!

After reading this, one thing was decided; I now have two others penned in for future reading. In fact, the 2nd one, “The girl who played with fire” is sitting beside me with the bookmark freshly placed inside.

When I bought this book, I didn’t pay much attention to the storyline, I’ll admit. I was mostly buying it based on hype, and the fact that I used a birthday gift card and had nothing to lose. My presumption of the book was that it would focus completely on the loner with a dark past, Lisbeth Salander, but it was equally (or more so) about her and tarnished journalist, Mikael Blumqvist.

Both of their stories come together as the two of them try to solve a murder mystery, which during the early stages gave the story a “Clue” feeling, but investigating a murder from 60 years prior. Of course, the book wouldn’t have garnered such enthusiasm if it had been a simple murder mystery, but I won’t ruin it for you, if you haven’t read it.

A major thread throughout the book that I found interesting is the relationship experiences of Blomqvist and Salander. First, Blomqvist, divorced with a teenage child, is in his 40s, has a “friends with benefits” relationship with his longtime pal and business partner; he also has been known to seek out women on a regular basis. Salander on the other hand had a much more disturbing experience.

Much of her past has yet to be revealed, but Salander has had multiple partners, both male and female, and is goes about life disconnected from her emotions, especially when it comes to love. In the book she also goes through a terrible rape by her legal guardian who blackmails her into doing his bidding (against her will is an understatement here). This only builds her mistrust for men and further causes her to bury her emotions.

As the two stories collide, both Blomqvist and Salander being spending much more time together and though they would seem the most unlikely pairing, there’s a bond between the two that can’t be stopped. I enjoyed the extremes of the two characters and how they came to meet somewhat in the middle as the book went on.

I enjoyed the book quite a lot, but I wouldn’t say it’s deep enough in character development just yet to say this one will be on my top 5 or 10. I’ll hold back judgment until I’ve read them and can be a better judge. I’ll give this one a 4/5.

For the next book, I’m not sure how they’ll bring the two back together again, but I am sure if the writing in this one is any indicator, it’s sure to be an entertaining read.

Movie-wise I have yet to watch the Swedish version, but now that I’m finished the book I’m curious to see how they portrayed the characters. Watching the trailer I found it looks well done, and while interested I’m kind of not interested in the Americans taking it over and making it their own.

Have you read the book or watched the movie? What did you think?

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