Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

There's must be something in the cold Swedish air that produces great spine-chilling mysteries. Two Swedish mysteries have recently been dramatized and released to audiences worldwide. The Girl Who Played With Fire is a sequel to Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, that stars Noomi Rapace as the punk sleuth/avenger, was released to American audiences in 2010.

Book Review of The Girl Who Played With Fire.

Lisabeth Salander continues to be meticulous, ruthless, and self-reliant to a fault in the next book in Larsson's series. Some reviewers have called her an anti-social punk and have compared her (as far as her self-reliance goes) to Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. According to Blomkvist, Salander has her own sense of morality though it’s far from the traditional view. Salander has no problem exacting revenge as long as it’s directed at those who have harmed the most vulnerable members of society.

As far as Salander goes, we lose track of her short after she visits the couple intent on exposing Sweden’s involvement in sex trafficking. For then on, Salander appears in absentia, in negative space, as hearsay. Readers, as well as most of the characters, doubt Salander is innocent of the crime the tabloids accuse her of committing—a triple murder. Blomkvist remains incommunicado with his former researcher and love interest, until he finds a series of cryptic messages left on his hard drive.

What’s enjoyable about this novel is the pace, particularly the second half where the action moves at lightning speed. Larsson manages to enter and exit the characters consciousness seamlessly; just as we learn the motives of one, we’re plunged into the consciousness of another and a new mystery emerges.

Several of the scenes and situations in the Millennium series, however, are not for the faint-hearted. Larsson’s Girl Who Played with Fire explores the dark underbelly of Sweden, its sex trade and drug trafficking operations, the SAPO (Sweden’s secret police) and its cover-up of a key ex-Soviet defector.

The denouement in the Swedish countryside is particularly shocking and contains several gruesome scenes. The conclusion does, however, leave readers eager for the next installment.

Another Swedish book-to-movie not to be missed is Let the Right In.
Let the Right One In. John Ajvide Lindqvist. A bullied boy learns that his only friend is a vampire.

Movie tie-in: Let the Right One In.

by Chantal Walvoord