The Millennium Triology by Stieg Larsson
(Book 1: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Book 2: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson; Book 3: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) – A Review for GatheringBooks by Libby Cohen*
Lisbeth Salander, the multi-pierced, tough, dragon tattooed heroine who has a photographic memory, and Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist, pair up in this thrilling trilogy with a multitude of characters to investigate crimes, reveal corruption, and uncover abuse. Readers will admire Lisbeth, a clever and talented computer hacker who uses her intelligence and talents as she confronts each challenge with incredible inner strength, clever tactics, and perseverance. Mikael is a crusading journalist forMillenium, a monthly magazine,that seeks to expose corruption, sexism, and violence toward women.
The books are set in Sweden and each one is intricately plotted and filled with complex characters including wealthy business people, sex traffickers, abusers of women, drug dealers, government officials, police, journalists and champions of the truth. The Millenium staff reporters and editor Erika Berger support Mikael and churn out articles that expose corruption.
Readers will admire Lisbeth and her world-wide network of online savvy computer friends, including Plague, who have learned to break computer codes, take over personal computers, break into computer networks, and steal information as they overcome one hurdle after another in pursuit of the truth. Lisbeth trusts her online pals while, in person, she is reclusive and secretive.
Steig Larsson, the Swedish author of the trilogy, suddenly died in 2004 at the age of 50 before the books were published and the series achieved international renown. His spirit is kept alive by fans around the world who are hopeful that the series can be continued. Larsson’s life was similar to Mikael’s, his fictional journalist. Larsson was a political journalist and crusader against racism, Fascism and Nazism. He lived in hiding in Sweden for many years because his life was threatened. The Steig Larsson web site (http://www.steiglarsson.com) provides details about Larsson’s life. He started writing the trilogy as a way to ease the boredom of his life in hiding. The web site also reveals the controversy about his estate between his father and brother and Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson’s life companion who lived in hiding with him.
Be sure to read the books in order, starting with book 1 because the succeeding books refer to and build on the elaborate plots and characters in the preceding book. I particularly enjoyed reading books 1 and 3. The first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, focuses on a wealthy family with a secretive past and a missing granddaughter. The original title of book 1 was Men Who Hate Women. The second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, is about police corruption and organized crime. The third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, kept me reading through the night, as Lisbeth and Mikael confront Lisbeth’s horrific past, discover a secretive Swedish intelligence unit, and uncover perpetrators of crimes against women.
A big caution is that the books deal with adult themes, especially sex with multiple partners and sickening violence toward women. Nevertheless, the trilogy is addicting as readers become drawn into the lives of the main characters as the plots twist and turn and they triumphantly battle good over evil.
By: Libby Cohen
*Author Bio (from the ECSE website – Early Childhood and Special Needs Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore):
Prof Libby G Cohen is a visiting scholar. She is passionate about improving the lives of children, youth, and adults with disabilities and is especially interested in teaching methodologies, universal design in education, and using technology to facilitate teaching and learning. She was awarded the title of “Professor Emerita” by the University of Southern Maine in the United States.
She is the author of grants that have funded a number of technology projects that facilitate the participation of children and youth with disabilities in science. She has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, US Department of Education, Mitsubishi Electric Foundation and others. She also has served on the editorial boards of three respected journals.