I give the book 8 of 10 stars; but with an asterisk. It was a well-written story, with a riveting ending. However, the book would have benefitted from a bit of editing. That having been said, I would recommend the book to any fans of police procedurals or crime dramas. Were I a fan of that genre, I’d have given the book higher marks, probably 9 stars.
Larsson’s writing style is direct, and no-nonsense, consistent with his journalistic credentials. Even during the emotional parts, or in describing the explicit violence, there is a detached, “just-the-facts, ma’am” perspective. I found it very effective during the action scenes, and it fit the main character’s (Lisbeth Salander) personality perfectly. For the other characters, Larsson relied more on providing us with their thoughts, and allowing us to draw our own conclusions.
The dialog was crisp, and always pertinent to the story. However, there were a few places where I could not tell who was saying what. Larsson sticks pretty closely to the “he said” rule of making adders to the dialog invisible.
There were tons of details, some of which I found to be extraneous. It’s enough to tell me the character sat at her desk. I don’t need to know the contents of the entire desk. Such is the level of detail in the book. Again, if you are a fan of that level of description, add 0.5 a point.
My only other gripe is that Larsson switched to 3rd-person omniscient as it suited him. In other words, during key parts of the book, suddenly we knew what everyone was thinking at once. At other times, he switched back and forth. I found the all-knowing bits annoying. However, that is a personal preference. I just hate that style, as I find it often to be sloppy writing that an editor could have fixed.
Given the author’s abrupt death, it’s likely he never had the chance to polish all the bits. The softcover version of the book is 620+ pages. I think the story could have been told quite well in 500 pages.
All that having been said, I will definitely read the 3rd book. Maybe next weekend.
– Lovers of Crime Dramas and Action
– Detail-oriented Readers
– Readers Seeking Strong Female Leads
Not Recommended for:
– The Squeamish
– Readers Bored with Heavy Description and Setting