The last book in the Lisbeth Salander trilogy is a full out thriller from the first sentence. It begins in the emergency room with Salander and her father, Alexander Zalachenko, who were both critically injured while trying to kill each other at the end of the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire. It ends in a grimy abandoned factory with a confrontation between Salander and her brother, the giant, Ronald Niedermann. The action never stops until the end of the final page. Larsson packs more plot twists into this final volume than in either of the two previous books.
I found myself wholly engrossed in the lives of the characters in this series. They are interesting and fairly well rounded, although Salander, herself, is more than a bit odd. She shows symptoms of asperger's syndrome, or perhaps a bit farther down the autism spectrum, is withdrawn and uncommunicative and prone to violence. At the same time she is into casual sex with people of any gender and likes to wear black leather and display her tattoos. I like her a lot as a fictional character, I wouldn't want her to show up at my house.
There a a couple of loose ends that Larsson never addresses. One is the relationship between Salander and Niedermann. He is a German, neither Swedish like Salander, nor Russian, like her father and, I believe, was presented in the second book, as the apparent heir to Zalachenco's criminal empire, like a son but not actually one. Unless I missed something, there was not physical relationship with either Zalachenco or Lisbeth Salander's mother, yet in this final book, Salander believes, but never reveals to anyone, that he is her brother. Secondly, Salander has a twin sister, who is mentioned several times throughout the series, yet this sister never appears, nor is she particularly important in advancing the plot. Checkov's gun on the wall principle would dictate that the sister should not be in the book at all.
Please, please, please read the three books in order, starting with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, or you will find yourself irretrievably lost. No attempt is made to help the reader catch up with the action. Larsson wrote the books assuming that they would be read in series.
Parents should be aware that there is a considerable amount of violence, kinky sex and use of four letter vocabulary in this series of books. Teen readers will love it for those reasons if for nothing else.
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keywords: thriller, crime fiction, Stieg Larsson
Sunday, July 11, 2010