Genre: Thriller, Sweden
Reading Challenges: 38 for 100+ in 2009
I have been slightly depressed since I finished reading this book. How I wish I hadn't rushed through it quite so quickly! I should have savored it, but I found it almost impossible to stop reading once I picked this book up.
This is the second book in Larsson's Millennium trilogy, following The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and it surpasses the first, which is really saying something.
Let me start by saying that I think it is important to read the books in order. There are plenty of references to the first novel in the story, and without the background you might find yourself getting a bit lost.
The novel begins shortly after the conclusion of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth Salander is traveling the world, enjoying her newly acquired millions, while Blomkvist is still riding high from his Wennerström coup. Salander has cut off all contact with Blomkvist, and is busy trying to establish a new life for herself. Meanwhile, Millennium magazine has agreed to publish a special issue and a book that will highlight the sex trafficking trade that is thriving in Sweden. Salander's guardian Bjurman is desperate to revenge himself upon Salander, and to escape from her control. Bjurman reaches out to a man from his past, and suddenly Salander finds herself the most wanted woman in Sweden, and Blomkvist is dragged into the fray as he must choose what to believe about Salander.
The above description might seem pretty generalized, but I really don't want to give anything away. There are plenty of great revelations in this book about Salander and her past, and I don't want to spoil them. The first book left me wanting more Salander, and this book delivered. She is without doubt one of the most vibrant characters I have ever encountered. I really loved this book, and I was sad to turn the last page. I am anxiously awaiting the third novel in the trilogy, and am genuinely sorry that Larsson passed away before he could write all 10 of his planned novels. If all of them were as great as the first two, I might never need to read anything else.
One caveat: as with the first novel, this book has some adult content. I didn't find it over the top, and none of the material is graphic in nature, but if you are offended by even the suggestion of bisexuality then you should steer clear of this book.