This is the third book in Larsson's Millennium series. About halfway through this one, I started viewing it less as a stand-alone book in a series and...moreThis is the third book in Larsson's Millennium series. About halfway through this one, I started viewing it less as a stand-alone book in a series and more as Part II of a single book that might be titled The Dysfunctional Family Meets Robert Ludlum. Part I of that book would be The Girl Who Played with Fire and the prologue would be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the way that The Hobbit is prologue to The Lord of the Rings or The Winds of War is prologue to War and Remembrance. While it would be possible to read and enjoy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest without having read either of the other books in the series, there are numerous scenes and references to incidents here that would be missed or misunderstood without having done so. Considering The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as prologue also positions the first few chapters of The Girl Who Played with Fire as transitional material rather than merely random writing that Larsson didn't feel like deleting.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest starts right where The Girl Who Played with Fire left off and doesn't waste time with any introductory fluff so you feel the whole book will be fast-paced. It does, however, slow down and settle into a rhythm that's compelling in a conspiracy theory/murder mystery sort of way. It would be difficult to discuss plot here without throwing out spoilers for The Girl Who Played with Fire but I will say that the scene in which Salander's attorney shreds the prosecutor and his star witness is riveting and gratifying to those who've read the first two books in the series. Larsson succeeded in scattering some very surprising twists throughout the story and, despite the predictability of the epilogue, brought the total story to a satisfying ending. It's unfortunate that we won't have more of his writning to entertain us. (less)
I think Wilkie Collins has spoiled me when it comes to this type of Victorian/Gothic/Thriller because it's so hard to match his writing and storytelli...moreI think Wilkie Collins has spoiled me when it comes to this type of Victorian/Gothic/Thriller because it's so hard to match his writing and storytelling skills. That being said, I'll add that The Monk was a fun read. While it's clearly an attack on organized religion - the Catholic church in particular - a close reading makes it also clear that Lewis found a significant difference between organized religion and a personal relationship with a Supreme Being. While he provides several interesting twists, his inexperience - at age 19 - at storytelling is evident as he inserts seemingly innocuous scenes early for the purpose of explaining his twists later. That's as annoying in an 18th century book as it is in a current TV crime drama. It's also possible to tell when a twist is coming by the increase in his verbosity as he tries to build tension and suspense. His best twist is saved for last but is presented in such an "Oh, by the way" manner in his rush to finish the story that it loses most of its shock value. Despite these shortcomings, this is a good book for any fan of Gothic literature or for a stormy weekend curled up in your favorite reading spot. (less)
I added this to my TBR list because The Yellow Wallpaper is on the 1001 Books list and it looked interesting. I was surprised, and a little disappoint...moreI added this to my TBR list because The Yellow Wallpaper is on the 1001 Books list and it looked interesting. I was surprised, and a little disappointed, that that particular story is so short. I wanted more of the drama and horror of a mind slipping into psychosis but thinking that everything's actually getting better. Come to think of it, maybe it's a good thing that she kept the story brief.
Gilman was a feminist and a socialist and she wrote her stories and essays for the purpose of presenting her views on how society could and should be changed for the better. While I don't agree with all her views, I did find her writing style to be perfect for her purpose. She writes clearly and elegantly without browbeating her readers. She has very definite opinions but I got the impression that, were I to sit and discuss them with her, she would listen to my opinions and then politely but firmly point out why I was wrong to hold such opinions. It would be a fun and interesting conversation.(less)
I read this because I thought it might have some similarity to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which I found very funny. While it's true that Hunter S....moreI read this because I thought it might have some similarity to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which I found very funny. While it's true that Hunter S. Thompson was one sick, twisted puppy it's equally certain that Burroughs had a whole litter of those sick puppies twisting around in what was left of his brain. I'll admit that I found some of A.J.'s exploits humorous but that was little consolation for the pages and pages of mindless rambling and perversion of all sorts. Besides that, the hearing of any Steely Dan song will now forever be tainted by the memory of this book. (less)