I read book two 2 years ago, but recently watched the Swedish films (as well as the Hollywood version of book one). I was reminded that I still haven’t read book three and that it had, in fact, been sitting on my bookshelf for a little over a year now. I figured it was about time to finish the series.
Without giving too much away, book three focuses on the more political events that occurred as a result of book two. Salander is critically injured and lies helpless in the hospital. It is up to Mikael Blomkvist (that damn journalist again, as Salander would say) and various other allies of Salander to piece together the truth of what is really happening, and in doing so, they discover a massive political conspiracy, with Salander as the most unfortunate victim. Mikael and the others must try to figure out the entire story in time for Salander’s trial, where her enemies will try to have her locked away forever in an insane asylum if they can.
When I first started this book, I was a little surprised that I was not really as into it as I was the first two. I chalk it up to a number of factors — Lisbeth Salander, my favourite character, was out of the action and laying in the hospital for a good chunk of the plot; I have no idea how the intricacies of the Swedish government (or, any government, I guess) really work; and there were a lot of new characters introduced in this one, so it became a little difficult to remember who’s who sometimes. And there was just something I can’t quite put my finger on about the first half of the book or so. It wasn’t particularly engaging, I suppose. There wasn’t very much action, and I felt it was a lot of explanation, textbook-style, rather than a novel.
However, I have to say, the book did pick up tremendously after the halfway point — coincidentally (or not so coincidentally!) this was also when Lisbeth Salander was healthy enough to once again participate in the plot. And from that point on, I was reminded why I love the Millennium series and how it was made of sheer awesomeness. We got the crazy computer hacking again, we have people stalking people, people tailing people, people having sex with people, and people pointing their guns at people … It was thrilling again and I stayed up entirely too late finishing this book last night.
One of the final scenes, Salander’s trial, was my favourite of all. I was so in the zone while reading that, I couldn’t stop. It was one of those moments when reading where you had to keep reading, you had to find out what happens next. And I know, I know, there’s going to be those little nit-picky readers (hopefully very few of them) who will be like, “A real trial would never happen like that, yadi-yada.” Whatever, guys! I still think the entire trial was clever.
At the end of the book, I felt very satisfied with how things wrapped up. This book was really good, though it did feel a little weaker than the first two. A part of me wants to rate this a 5 just because it ended off so well in my opinion, but I think I will have to settle for the 4.5, because of the slow beginning. And some of the relationships, I felt, could have been handled a little better. For example, the mini plot with Erika’s stalker seemed unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, and primarily served as an awkward way to bring Lisbeth and Erika closer, in my opinion. There was also Mikael’s new relationship with Monica which totally had lots of potential but ended up with a wishy-washy, non-commitment kind of ending where you still have no idea what’s going on between them.
I digress. Point is, if you’ve read the first two books and plan on starting book three, you won’t be disappointed but at the same time, book three may not seem as good as the first two. Still, it’s really great and certainly memorable.