I had heard a lot about the ‘Millenium Series’ books since some time and came across them in bookstores at various points of time but never felt like reading the books as at first I thought they would be some ‘preachy- self-help’ kind of books!! Then I heard about the Swedish movies made from the books and also the fact that Hollywood is coming up with its own version of movies soon and I had to read them now ! The author of this, ‘Millenium Series’ as they call it, is Stieg Larsson and the books are originally Swedish books. Unfortunately the young author wrote the manuscripts of the 3 books and died and never lived to see the International success the books have become.
The first of the series is ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’. The book takes its own sweet time to establish lead characters, relationships, families, back stories, the settings, the crime etc. Once it does that it becomes a great ‘page-turner’.
The story is about a disgraced journalist being asked to find out details of a murder that took place forty years back. The missing girl being the grand niece of a millionaire grand patriarch of the Vanger family, Henrik Vanger., head of the Conglomerate Vanger Corporation. Henrik suspects that a family member of his large family murdered his favorite grand niece forty years back during a family gathering and is still tormenting him. Mikael Blomkvist is the disgraced journalist of the ‘Millenium’ magazine who is assigned the job to research the truth. Lisbeth Salander the heroine of the story is a young, antisocial, punk, anorexic of a girl who on first look would resemble a drug addict junkie with tattoos all over the body, dyed short hair, leather jackets, pierced nose and an attitude to match but in fact she is an expert computer hacker with a photographic memory and a passion for retrieving information about anything and anyone at any cost. Lisbeth and Mikael cross paths and together they create a wonderful team.
The interaction and subtle romance between Lisbeth and Mikael, who is twicer her age is beautifully written. The settings of the fictional town in North Sweden is described in such exquisite details, that you want to go there and live. The details of the Vanger family with multiple family members having varied back stories and complex realtionships is also described in quite details. The story is at times predictable but then comes up with wonderful twists and turns.
There are quite a few characters in the book, however the story revolves around Mikael first and then Lisbeth. The story moves slowly first but very rapidly as it nears the end and combines the personal vengeance very well with the murder mystery. The story is also about crimes against women , especially crude sexual crimes and the author seems to be simply hating the people associated with such crimes. The Swedish title of the book literally translates to ‘Men who Hate Women’.
The story is very intriguing and is much better than any other thriller mystery novel I have read lately. The book is intelligent, witty and has real smart characters. It is certainly one of the best crime novels of this era.
The characters of Lisbeth and Mikael are very well developed and you really want to know more about them, especially Lisbeth. Hopefully the next 2 books in the series will reveal more aspects of her mysterious life.
The Swedish version of the movies made from the 3 books has already been released and even dubbed in English for worldwide release, however Sony Pictures have aligned with David Fincher to produce big budget Hollywood version of the same books possibly starring Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkwist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. It would certainly be a great watch.
But first, I am reading the other 2 books.
My Ratings : 8.5/10 – Must Read …one of the most Important Series of this new Millenium.