Well this book definitely demands a review and I had started writing it long back but forgot to complete it. So if people haven’t read this series, I believe, it is very much worth a read for those who enjoy reading novels of crime and investigation genre.
Millennium series is one engrossing and spellbinding work of Steig Larsson (1954 – 2004, a famous Swedish journalist and a political activist who was not fortunate enough to enjoy the tremendous success his fiction work ought to have fetched him.). All the three books of the series are based on crime, investigation and journalism aspect, often bringing out the dark shades of human behaviour in an absorbing manner.
The two interesting protagonists of this book, Mikael Blomkvist and Lizabeth Salander, who quite form the partners of opposites, are the ones who keep the readers riveted to the story all through out! Unlike Sydney Sheldon who gives an extra leverage to his antagonists, Steig has done unconditional justice in projecting his protagonists in a fascinating fashion all the way till the end. The entire series is not just about chaining the ruthless and diabolique strata of the society and bring them to justice eventually, but also exploring the not so common side of a human being which is often not so well accepted, when it comes to any kind of society.
The first book, The girl with the dragon tattoo, introduces the readers to the above mentioned protagonists who come across as striking personalities with their inimitable combination of weirdness and intelligence. Of the two central characters mentioned, I find Lizabeth Salander the most intriguing of all. Perhaps I was hooked on to this book only because of her. Her character in this novel is portrayed so surreal, that it takes a while for the reader to understand her wierd nature, especially when this female being a gifted hacker with an unimaginable IQ possesses a bizarre inclination towards sexuality. Yet, her insatiable penchant for hacking computers, her unstoppable determination in bringing justice to people denied and her uncanny methods of digging information for investigating firms overshadows her flaws of being a social misfit, a confused bisexual and a knotty recluse. Her obnoxious personality that is exhibited with weird piercing, strange tattoos and her unruly impulsiveness towards taking risks often camouflages a troubled soul that silently withstood the rogue waves of a dark past that almost destroyed her then. However, a born genius that she is, she meticulously plans her every move, her every course of action, well enough to draw little attention from people as she is branded a mentally unstable female with a history of psychological disorders.
Mikael Blomkvist on the other hand comes across as the pleasant down-to-earth guy, although he too has his closet full of skeletons. After one of his investigation against a business tycoon takes an ugly turn with him getting slapped a 3 month prison time for defamation, life gives him a second chance to work with a business magnate Henrik Vanger, who is obsessively searching for his long lost niece, who he believes may not be dead! This is where our middle aged hero gets introduced to our hacker pal, Lizabeth who along with Mikael helps in delving into the morbid past of the Vanger family only to uncover disturbing lies and facts that have been concealed in perfect oblivion from the entire Vanger family. At least, when I started reading the first book, I could not keep my hands down!
The second book, The girl who played with fire focuses on a new case concerning drug and sex trafficking and here our hero Mikael jumps into action along with another young journalist Dag Svensson. However, the investigation takes to the murkier side with Dag and his lovee getting killed by an unknown assassin, followed by a gruesome killing of Nils Bjurman (who is apparently Lizabeth’s guardian and also a pervert of the highest order). Coincidentally, with all the circumstantial evidence pointing towards Lizabeth, who has now anonymously disappeared into thin air, a tight cat and a mouse game starts, with the police hunting for our eccentric heroine, with Mikael trying to reach out for his creepy partner who he believes is innocent and Lizabeth herself hunting for an unseen enemy she has been trying hard to get to. The only way Mikael connects to her is through the virtual world of computers, where Lizabeth gives him clues to the missing blocks of puzzles he desperately tries to find answers for! This book is apparently more engrossing than the first one as the whole story weaves into a complex web around Lizabeth, her unknown intentions, her unseen but known enemies and her relentless pace at which she meticulously plans her move to meet the real adversary with whom she supposedly has a lot of unfinished business!
The third book The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest brings out the real picture hounding the actual drama that takes place in the second book right from the beginning. Apparently it is a long staged war between a highly secret political cult and a silent witness to its atrocities, between a renowned psychiatrist and a mentally abused teen, between a highly insensitive father and a distraught daughter and above all, between the evil and the good. As the reader scours through the book, not only are the bitter facts concerning the intelligence force, about its involvement in a nasty world of crimes and trafficking is exposed, but also Lizabeth’s disturbing past and events leading to her alienation from the society pertaining to people who wronged her for no reason, come out in the limelight. The third part contains a lot of court scenes and the arguments are highly declarative. This book completes the series in a perfect way! Or should I say, the ending couldn’t have been better…!!
After reading the series, I would very much like to watch the movies too which are more or less a complete adaptation of the series. I hope this review was useful. I have not overrated this book by giving a complimentary review. In fact, the story may appear clichéd as there could be a jillion books with a similar story line or may be based on a similar genre, but not every book would contain a Lizabeth Salander who steals the show right from the beginning to the end! So, happy reading…!!