The Millennium Trilogy / What I Love About Lisbeth Salandar

Last week I finally finished The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and completed the Stieg Larsson's original Millennium Trilogy. And if I'm honest, I already miss it.

I remember when these books first hit shelves, mainly because of the hype around the mysterious character Lisbeth Salandar. She was skinny, sexually ambiguous, tattooed, and antisocial. She was a genius with computers with fuzzy moral standards and an uncanny ability to kick the crap out of men twice her size.

In a word, Salandar was spectacular and the genre had yet to see anyone like her.

Of course, there is more to love about Larsson's novels than one kick-ass character. I also personally love that Blomkvist was a journalist, partially because I love the idea of writers being in the thick of the mystery and partially because it allowed Larsson to add that oh so popular crime-fighting civilian while avoiding all of the potential pitfalls of the trope. Blomkvist's crazy investigative skills and impressive contacts could be explained away by his profession instead of creating all kinds of problematic plot holes.

I also have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Larsson's writing. When he goes on and on about some political history or introduces yet another new character with a complex background that he wants to discuss in detail, I do find myself drifting a bit. Sometimes, he verged on over-informing, on over-explaining. And yet when he stops in the middle of a gripping legal scene to describe in detail how Blomkvist and the others take their coffee, I am hooked. I didn't even realize how tense and suspenseful the novel was until I finished it at three in the morning with a horrid feeling of "That's it?"

However, I think that what I like the most about the Millennium Trilogy is that Lisbeth gets herself into trouble and then gets herself back out of it. Although at first it seems Blomkvist will be the one to save Salandar - he is the one that does all the research, running around, and reputation-shattering writing and publishing, after all - ultimately, he cannot finish the job without Salandar's unique set of skills. And thus, in a series of novels so concerned with society's treatment of women, Salandar proves to be strong enough to help out the male Blomkvist and chooses to save herself.

Now Blomkvist and Salandar's adventures have been picked up by a rather brave man, the journalist David Lagercrantz. His first Millennium novel (because I think it's safe to say that the original trilogy stands on its own), The Girl in the Spider's Web, came out earlier this month and I cannot wait to dive back into the world Larsson first created. Of course, I think I'll have to wait awhile to distance myself from Larsson's last novel.

If the passionate ramblings above are any indicator, I think Lagercrantz has some very large shoes to fill.

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