It was halfway through this book when I realized that it will be a hard one to review, not just because I’ll keep comparing it with the first one, but more importantly because the two books are very different from one another. And although I've rated both books 4 stars, each was rated for completely different reasons than the other.
In my review of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
, I have mentioned that the book was not a very good thriller, but nonetheless a very good story and social critique. I believe that Larsson’s aim with the Millennium Trilogy was much deeper than just writing a good thriller. Unfortunately, his aim was attained in the first book much more than the second.
The first third of this book didn't connect with the rest of the story. I found the beginning incidents of Grenada to be detached and irrelevant to the main story. Even if it was necessary to provide some sort of continuation for the events outlined in the first book, I think the same could have been achieved with a much shorter version, without the need of a dozen characters and events that would not even be remember when the book will be done with. The other two thirds were much better constructed, embedded with very good character development and clever storytelling techniques. At the end of the book, I was left with the impression of a good thriller, for which I was looking while I picked up the first book. But, in spite of that, the story seemed to be somehow shallow compared to the first one. Even the same characters were less believable and even less intelligent in this book. Salander and Blomkvist were changed, with the former being impulsive, childish and somehow irrational, while the latter being indifferent, detached and even a bit immoral.
Another thing I didn't like in this book was that it began with a very promising subject, which is that of sex trafficking, and as pages went by, the trafficking was replaced with Salander’s family history, which albeit intriguing, was less interesting than the trafficking theme. Another big downside was the ending, if it can be called as such, where the majority of the story was left unfinished. For a book of more than 600 pages, packed with cliches, unnecessary details and descriptive passages, I was expecting a more clear conclusion for some of the events.
Nevertheless, the overall book is a good one with absolutely thrilling monents, and as I don’t like to rate a book based on my view of another installment, I've rated it 4 stars. It is a good read and Salander is still a fascinating character.