Tag Archive | Suspense

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Stieg Larsson — Viking Canada, 2010 — 9780670069026

Bet you didn’t see this one coming! Third and last (to date) in the series. Another fun read but out of the three, this one could have used more editing. I hope there’s a fourth one day…


The Girl Who Played with Fire

Stieg Larsson — Viking Canada, 2009 — 9780670069026

Second book in the series. Much more fast paced, and more focus on Salander’s life. Good read.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Stieg Larsson — Viking Canada, 2008 — 9780670069019

There’s so much you could say about this series, but most of it has already been said. I remember first learning about this book when it came out in 2008 — excerpts were run in the Saturday edition of my local paper, but for some strange reason they were in the business section. That’s the section I recycle second, right after sports, so I didn’t bother with it.


So I pulled the copy that I had bought but never read off the bookshelf and gave it a go. And I thought it was great! Great plot, great characters, great fun. Perhaps not the best writing, but one can argue that something was lost in the translation / editorial process (since the Larsson died before the books were published). I think out of all three, I like this one best because it has a great mystery that needs to be solved.

Some have said that sections of the book were too detailed (in terms of business talk or Swedish history), but I enjoyed them — they made the book slightly different that your average mystery. I’ve also heard people say that Lisbeth Salander is in some ways a bit of a hypocritical character for a book that focuses on feminism and women’s rights, but I think that’s the point. That’s what makes it more realistic — no one is perfect. Also, did they miss the part where she kicks everyone’s ass?

Much can be said about the rape scene and whether it was gratuitous or not. I’m in the latter camp. Without being insensitive, that scene was a major plot event and theme of the series: violence against women. If it happens in real life, and if the author’s aim was to bring this to light and educate people (as I think this was), then including it in the book is a given. The same would be true if the book were about genocide, or any other horror. It is certainly not pleasant, but it’s not meant to be. Perhaps people were upset about just how graphic and shocking it was. Perhaps the point was to shock people into any sort of action, given how desensitized society is becoming? Who can say.

Well, that is FAR more than I thought I would say on the subject. One more note. Larsson’s widow, Eva Gabrielsson, is not legally entitled to any of the profits from the books (that she may have had a significant role in writing) because they never married. Instead, because he died without a will, his father and brother inherited everything. That’s a pretty antiquated law. So click here if you’re interested in helping her out. (Even if you’re ulterior motive is to get the rumoured 4th book that she has possession of published.)

And finally, I can’t help but smile at this: (via Better Book Titles)


Shutter Island (Graphic Novel)

Dennis Lehane and Christian De Metter — Tokyopop, 2009 — 9780061968570

What can I say? I really wanted to read this book. The illustrations were nice (especially the cover).


Shutter Island

Dennis Lehane — HarperCollins, 2004 — 9780380731862

I heard about the movie coming out, and for some reason I just had to read this book. I remember picking it up from the shelf in the bookstore and thinking how long it had been since I had read something that was a tiny mass market. The book was a bit of a disappointment, but I was prepared for that going in. The premise was ok, if predictable, but the writing wasn’t great. And I actually thought the movie ended with a better line than the book.


The Lost Symbol

Dan Brown — Doubleday, 2009 — 9780385504424

This is the first book I’ve read that actually made me mad when I thought of all the time I wasted on it. (Although I suppose my tolerance for this kind of crap is pretty high, since I’ve read all his other books.) Did he just stop trying? It seems to go only for supposed shock value — I mean, nothing is resolved in the end! (Oh… spoiler alert, I guess?)

I like to think The Da Vinci Code marks a sort of nascent awareness for me when it comes to books. I read it just before I started working in a bookstore, during which time I was exposed to a wide variety of books and opinions. I suppose The Lost Symbol marks an end to a good chunk of my naiveté when it comes to books (be they low-brow or high). That’s why it stayed at my parents’ place after I moved out. Yeah, The Da Vinci Code moved with me. SO WHAT?!



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