“The book that needed a good editor”
Author: Stieg Larsson
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Age: Adult
Released: 24th September 2008 (UK version)
With over 1 and a half million copies sold, whoever did the marketing for this book probably got promoted and have been celebrating… but I don’t think that’s necessarily the sign of a good book.
I went with the hype and..
Warning! This review contains spoilers!
The main story is simple enough: Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, works for a Swedish financial magazine called Millenium, with huge debt problems. He gets hired by a rich, but tedious family, to solve a mystery which seems beyond the interest and capabilities of every single person on the planet.
The other side of the book contains anorexic, bad-girl Lisbeth Salander, who can do anything on a computer, and is sexually promiscuous, as well as being emotionally unstable.
There are many other characters, all of which are dull and unmemorable. Blomkvist himself is a painful character to read. He seems to have absolutely no charisma, and and the journalistic skills of a tub of ice-cream. Plus he’s so old, and yet, considers himself the epitome of every woman’s fantasy.
For some reason, the theme of the book is, every character thinking they want to sleep with Blonkvist or Salander. The fact that Salander is described as child-like in both emotion and looks just makes it disturbing.
I remember reading halfway through the book, turning to the back page and reading the author profile. Then it hit me.. this is the author’s fantasy and nothing more.
There are just too many similarities between the author and the main character for him not to be considered a Male Mary Sue. No wonder every single woman in the book ends up sleeping with him… multiple times. That includes his magazine co-worker (who is married), the seductive neighbour (who is lonely and likes him too much), or barely-legal-looking Salander (emotionally unstable in relationship and part-time lesbian).
Also, Larsson wrote this book in sympathy of the real-life Lisbeth, who was a 15-year old girl he saw being raped but didn’t do anything to help. Knowing that he named the character after this girl, and his alter-ego in the book has sexual relations with her…. just marks it as creepy!
From the moment I read the first page, I knew that this book had been translated: the writing was stilted, and block-y, and the paragraphs and sentences arranged choppily. This was translated by someone with good English, but not necessarily with Creative Writing.
The writing was filled with over-details and unnecessary information.There isn’t a hint as to what is important to remember, and what isn’t.
I think the style was meant to resemble a crime report, stuffed with details, but it did nothing for the reading flow.
Salander’s expoits at shopping are the lowest point in the book. The reader is forced to sit through every purchase that she makes at Apple and Ikea, complete with descriptions and specs of sofas and laptops.
But if that bores you…
Apart from the random explicit rape and violence, the plot-logic is thrown into a warp-hole as we come across neo-nazis, incestuous families and cat-killers.
Overall, this was one of the most promoted books when it came out, and it’s still being sold and read this year. However, I completely failed to see how this book has any depth or intrigue.
Rated – 1/5 Long-winded with little to no character development. Could have been cut down to a quarter of the length with nothing missing.