Millennium

Believe it or not, it’s my first time to consciously spell the word millennium with double “l” and double “n.” Believe it or not, I finished the Millennium trilogy in a span of nineteen days. I spent nine days for the first book, one evening and one day for the second book, three days for the last book. If I read the trilogy straight, I can finish it within two weeks.

I am a slow reader. Oftentimes, I read and pause then resume reading. With Stieg Larsson’s novel, it was hard  to stop reading. I felt like I would miss a lot of events if I took a pause. My heart was pounding as I turned each page.

I read the Millennium trilogy like a mad man. I was exhausted after reading the novels  that I had to gather myself to write this post. I was sleep-deprived and eating was my least priority. Each novel contains around 700 pages.  It was not only the length that made me tired, the issues raised and the images were nerve-wracking. I suffered when Lisbeth Salander suffered. I fought with Mikael Blomkvist when she needed justice. On one occasion I was reading a novel when someone called out my name outside my window.  I screamed out loud.  I came back to my senses. The person knocking on my door was no murderer or any villainous character from the book.

Like a Last Song Syndrome,  the story flashes back on my head every now and then. I can write three more blog posts about the trilogy. My blog posts would be Lisbeth Salander and I,  The Women in Larsson’s novels, and Millennium: Movie Versus Book(But they would sound redundant)

I really want to discuss further the intricacies of the  trilogy. But I cannot do that without giving spoilers.  Hence, I  will not spill  the beans.  Let this review be superficial that cannot be sufficient enough to describe the actual experience in reading the novels  or  to commend a great storyteller.

All his books have complex plots. They have subplots in between. Within a novel, there are like two mysteries or more to unlock.  It is action-packed. For every chapter, you will discover something new or something distracting.

More than anything, it touches violence against women. On The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Larsson included some facts about women in the military and domestic violence. You can say that Larsson is a feminist. Interviews from the press stated that Lisbeth Salander is a modern day feminist. But  I will not agree that reading the Millennium series  is enjoyable  for feminists. I would love to see men who hate women get punished but I would not be happy to know a man with principles sleeps with every woman he meets.

If there’s one word to describe Larsson and his works , it is “intelligent.” We always assume that a person who can make a published novel is intelligent. But Larsson is way beyond that. He weaves a story like no other. His brain is big enough to accommodate all these interconnections between national security, espionage, government, women, and simple crimes. He can teach you how to hack, how to  make false identity and the basics of self-defense.

Aside from the mysteries, Larsson  describes  friendship and trust in odd circumstances.  You’ll probably not find romance or love in the series. But you’ll find a special kind of partnership, friendship.

In his novels, there is no black and white and evil perhaps may be permissible. Lisbeth Salander has a different moral code. You question  how you define justice. Do you let the authorities deliver justice?  Or is it more fulfilling to take the role of God and punish those who need to pay?

By the end of the book, you ponder upon the ideas behind the story. Lisbeth  Salander is a product of dysfunctional system in the society. You wonder how many  Lisbeths are there in the world who are wrongfully judged and mistreated.

Just a short preview on what it’s like reading each book

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

Let me begin by saying that it is the best book among the three though I love the three books equally. For one reason, this book can stand alone.  As what I said, it has everything: violence, sex, rape, ethics, morality and corruption. This is the time you can decide if you want to read the next book or be satisfied with this. If you don’t like the first book, I doubt if you will like the second or the third.

This is time when you change your perception of  ideal fictional heroes as you meet  investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and legally incompetent  researcher Lisbeth Salander.  I happen to like them a lot that I cannot let go of  Lisbeth and Mikael.  I have developed some close attachment in these characters. This has driven me to read the next book, The Girl who Played with Fire

The Girl who Played with Fire

This is the most unsatisfying book among the three that you are compelled to read the last book. There are so many holes to be filled yet it is the thickest among the three. I think Larsson purposely left the holes for the readers to look forward for his third book. I felt like Larsson could have used more of his lesser-known characters in this book. It has the same themes with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but this time politics is involved. Less sex but filled with violence  which was unbearable to imagine (yet  I managed to read through them). My favorite scene is how Lisbeth Salander survived in a life-threatening situation.

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s nest

This book is about conspiracy. At this point,  justice is achieved. Mikael Blomkvist becomes the hero of the book. The common complaints I hear from people who read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are: there are too many names. It’s confusing and makes you dizzy. Well, brace yourself! The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest has more names and is the most confusing of all. There are so many connections that are difficult to trace. He also incorporated some real facts such as  the past Swedish prime ministers.

There are rumors that Larsson wrote the fourth book. Though the third book ended well, there can be a lot of possibilities on what can happen next to the protagonists. With a journalist as your main character, he can always be in search for exposé. With a very introvert and secretive character, there will always be excitement to see changes in her life.  I also find some of the secondary characters promising to be featured in future novels.

I arrive at the saddest moment of a reading experience. It is knowing that you  have nothing  to look forward from the author.  They say he left his fourth book unfinished and he had the intention of having ten books in Millennium series. They say his long-time partner might continue his series or some new writer has to finish. But I feel cheated if another writer  will continue his series. I believe before he started writing, he had already prophesied the fate of Millennium. No one knows about Mikael and Lisbeth more than the author.

Stieg Larsson, please come back to life. You have an unfinished business.  I wish you have lived long enough, the way your characters have lived.

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dame016
    May 07, 2012 @ 13:44:29

    I was panting while reading your review. I have a copy of the movie, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Maybe I can watch that before reading the book. I am disappointed when I read the book first then watch the movie. The feeling I got when I read Hunger Games before watching the movie.

    WIll be coming back to check more book reviews!

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    • JackieB
      May 07, 2012 @ 22:40:46

      The Hollywood version?… I strongly recommend that you read first. The movie is not as thrilling as the book. And it is easier to understand the movie if you’ve read the book. But the movie is fairly good.Thanks for dropping dame, it’s highly appreciated 😀

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  3. lapiskamay
    Apr 28, 2012 @ 08:36:31

    ang ganda ng pagkareview! kudos.!
    i haven’t read the sequels yet, and so as the hunger games, since i’m into other authors. but the Millennium series is definitely something I want to finish before the year ends.
    Thanks for the post.

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  4. Pointless Paranoia
    Apr 28, 2012 @ 08:25:49

    I have already gone through the Book 1 last year, and right now I am patiently reading Book 2. I am now halfway through but I am just not as fast a reader as you. How I really wish I were! 🙂

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  5. katybrandes
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 18:35:56

    My curiosity will not be satisfied until I know what happened with Lisbeth’s sister! I don’t even mind that someone else will be writing that “chapter” in the saga. Surely Larrson’s partner knew what he had in mind (let’s hope).

    Crazy circumstances surrounding his death. The issues certainly gave me a different perspective on the Julian Asange arrest, too.

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    • Jacklyn Belo
      Apr 27, 2012 @ 05:06:42

      While I was reading the second book, I really thought that Camilla was going to be a big part in the trilogy. Probably Larsson planned to use her in his future novels. I bet Larsson’s partner can continue the Millennium series. They said she helped Larsson all throughout the writing process. I had not heard of Julian Asange, not until you told me…looks like he’s a real life Mikael Blomkvist

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      • katybrandes
        Apr 27, 2012 @ 21:16:29

        Assange does appear to want to root out “truth” with the wikileaks kerfuffle, but his arrest opened my eyes to the tough sex crimes laws in Sweden. He is apparently fighting extradition on his charges.

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      • Jacklyn Belo
        Apr 28, 2012 @ 15:00:04

        I’ve read a few stuff about Assange since you mentioned him. I’m quite confused if he’s someone to hate or to admire. He was a hacker who released some government documents online which made him a hero. But charges of sexual misconduct against him is not heroic, not a Blomkvist trait.

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      • Katy
        Apr 30, 2012 @ 17:19:07

        That is exactly how I feel, too, Jacklyn. I am conflicted when someone like Naomi Wolf praises his bravery, because I can’t see him any heroic manner if he did what he is accused of doing.

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  6. renfield1897
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 08:08:05

    Wow, thats quick reading!

    My wife is currently storming through them. I have read the first 2, and am reading a few other books before I start the third one.
    In fact I blogged just yesterday on the merits of taking a break while reading a trilogy of books. You can read it at http://philipdeane.wordpress.com

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    • Jacklyn Belo
      Apr 25, 2012 @ 09:33:43

      Great! Go and read the third book! hehe I managed to read that fast because I could not put myself at peace if I did not finish them all at once 🙂

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      • renfield1897
        Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:35:41

        I like the anticipation of knowing there is another one coming.

        I am one of those weird people who enjoys a TV season ending, as it builds tension waiting for the next one.

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      • Jacklyn Belo
        Apr 28, 2012 @ 14:35:34

        now, I know what you mean… it is the anticipation and tension! But don’t you think it’s prolonging your agony if you don’t read it as soon as you can? 😀

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  7. Jacklyn Belo
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 04:37:24

    Indeed, there are a lot of topics underlying in Millennium. There are a lot of things to be discussed about the book! 😀 You read critical essays on prostitution, espionage, and Russian spies?! Cool!! Inform me if you find something interesting! 😀

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  8. zezil
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 03:42:25

    I remembered the time where my friends and I met for a reunion. One friend of mine initiated a conversation about her impressions on the book and BOOM! That stretched until the wee hours of the morning! Haha. Others were ostracized but we were so busy to “care”…..=b.We were so excited sharing our insights on the book! It is really a sad sad thing because we would like to know more about Lisbeth and Blomvist and the many issues he exquisitely wove into the novel. It’s amazing.

    Because of this book, I started reading critical essays on prostitution, espionage, russian spies. And true! The first book requires or teaches us biology (the flower pressing) computer science (hacking) self defense (psychology theories) and many many other exciting topics. I would like it is simply amazing but no! It aint a simple book! It is intelligent indeed. Remarkable. It lingers. . . Its great!!!!

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