Posted on | May 16, 2010 | 16 Comments
This is the third and final book of the Millennium trilogy, and I’m almost annoyed that there will be no more novels of Lisbeth Salander or Mikael Blomkvist on my reading list again.
The final book in the trilogy opens with Lisbeth being shot several times in the head, after she attempted to kill her father, Zalachenko, who will be pressing charges. Zalachenko, a KGB defector, has been protected by a secret governmental organisation ever since he entered Sweden. Truths have been concealed, reports fabricated and a web of lies spun over the years, by various people in positions of power, and they are now threatened as to what might be unveiled thanks to the latest developments. Their masterplan is to get Salander committed to an asylum permanently. At the same time, Blomkvist, the irrepressible journalist at Millennium, is trying to figure out what’s being covered, by whom and why. It’s the classic battle between the good guys and the bad guys, with some necessary sacrifices being made by the “bad guys” – some people being used as pawns, and some being eliminated altogether; and both sides trying to outdo the other.
Most of the action in the book happens in the police/government offices, the hospital where Lisbeth is slowly recuperating, and the newspaper offices. The themes so far prominent in Larrson’s books continue: politics and corruption in Sweden, the subjugation of women, the importance of good investigative journalism, and the Big Brother world we live in, where constant surveillance and hacking can get most answers.
A couple of other stories intertwine in the finale as well, making this book a monster of 750 pages (approximately). Some of the details seem unnecessary, and I did spend the first two hundred odd pages just trying to get to grips with the myriad of characters that kept getting introduced. Once I got past that, I just lapped up the rest of the book in no time whatsoever.
This book seems like it would make a good TV series (I’m thinking Alias right about now) – at least one season of a TV series. It’s action-packed, things keep happening, and there are a number of cliffhangers. At the very outset, we know who some of the bad guys are, but as the book continues, the counter keeps incrementing. Plus, if one’s interested, it does give a view of Swedish politics and its history.
Salander and Blomknist remain the “white” characters in the “black and white” world that this book depicts. Annika, Blomkvist’s sister, plays a much bigger part, and she instantly became a favourite. With engaging characters (including the bad guys), and an incredibly well thought out story, I did enjoy this book. It’s interesting, but the charm of the book doesn’t lie in the ambience that’s created, but more in the way things turn around and the characters act.
It’s pop-fiction, but it’s gripping pop-fiction, so even if you’re turned off by seeing this trilogy on bestseller charts and ads everywhere, it’s still worth giving it a shot, I think. You might be pleasantly surprised – I was!