So I actually liked this second book better than the first one. I felt the intrigue and suspense was more intense, maybe because there was more pressu...moreSo I actually liked this second book better than the first one. I felt the intrigue and suspense was more intense, maybe because there was more pressure to find the killer and prevent another murder from happening, while in the first one the murder had already occurred and there was no indication of another one happening again. The alternating points of view of the victims in 1979 and 2003 really made the crimes all the more tragic because as readers we become involved with the girl's thoughts as they accept the painful reality of their death. I turned the page with dread every time I realized that there was a section break coming up, prefaced with the italicized text that signaled a glance into the victims' torturous confinement.
The surprise of who the murderer was was not quite as incredible as in the first novel for me, maybe because it's pretty much drilled into the readers' heads from the very beginning that there's something about that Hult family, isn't there?
My other thought on this book was that it completely neglected and ignored Erica's character. Sometimes, during scenes where Patrik's thoughts strayed to Erica or when they are together at home, I'd find myself thinking "Oh yeah, forgot Erica was somewhere in this book." Because really, she's as useless as a character can get. While scenes with her and those insufferable and unwanted relatives/friends who visited her and Patrik's home are mildly amusing, they are also very unnecessary and don't move the story along. I was confused, though, because when I began the series I thought both Patrik and Erica would be actively involved in the main plot of each book (murders, crimes, etc.), but I guess that's not the case? A little disappointing, I must say.
In spite of this, I really enjoyed the book and will definitely continue with the series just as soon as I can find the third one.(less)
This book was recommended to me by a friend who said she into the book store to pick up the third book in Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and was told by...moreThis book was recommended to me by a friend who said she into the book store to pick up the third book in Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and was told by a store employee that if she liked Larsson, then she would like Lackberg as well. She left the store with books and quickly called me to let me know.
Now, when I picked up "The Ice Princes" I was coming off a Stieg Larsson high, so to speak, because I had read and re-read the Millennium Trilogy twice, then immediately went to see first movie in theaters. I'm a pretty big Larsson fan and liked the trilogy so much that reading anything else didn't even appeal to me for a few weeks after completing the third book. When my friend (also a Larsson fan) told me about "The Ice Princess" I immediately bought it to read along with her and hoped for the best.
Did I get the best? Or at least something similar to Larsson? No, not at all. But it was definitely not a bad book. There were plenty of interesting and colorful characters, aside from Erica Falk and Patrik Hedstrom as the main ones, and the mystery was very engaging...though the start felt a little bit slow to me.
Sometimes I was left feeling like there was something missing or confused about loose ends that are never explained. I would hope these are things that are later explained in the second book (like what happens to Erica's sister and her husband, or the issue they had with their parent's house), but since some of them were given such an importance throughout this first novel, I would have thought they would have been resolved here too.
The romance between Erica and Patrik was sweet, but sometimes their scenes together or their individual thoughts on each other were a bit distracting from the mystery/thriller aspect of the story. I was thinking of where Patrik's latest discovery was going to take us, but Erica was emptying out her closet because she felt she had nothing to wear to meet up with Patrik. All in all, the romance + mystery wasn't a horrible mix, but it could have been done better.
Some of the great things about it were the shocking revelations that you find out at the end of the novel, who Alex's killer is and some other horrid details about her past. I liked that I was really surprised at the end and maybe you can say I'm not very perceptive, but I truly wasn't expecting how everything was resolved. The mystery was very well crafted and the psychological impact of the events that shaped Alex's life, as well as the motivations that lead to her death, left me reeling and feeling a deep sorrow for Alex. For being a dead character, Lackberg really manages to bring her to life with all the intricacies we find out about her and that defined her.
Overall, a pretty good book. Engaging enough to keep me wanting to know more, it had a very surprising and well thought out end and a good mix of characters thrown in. (less)
**spoiler alert** This is such a great ending to this trilogy. I started the books thinking that they were all going to be crime/thriller stories that...more**spoiler alert** This is such a great ending to this trilogy. I started the books thinking that they were all going to be crime/thriller stories that somehow involved the main characters, but book 2 and 3 clearly showed that was not the case. Instead we get pretty much one giant book divided into two, detailing every single aspect of Lisbeth's character: from her eccentricities (her possible Asperger's syndrome...which is never quite confirmed), to her devastating past and her suffering at the hands of various authority figures, to even her preference for those damn pizzas.
I've said before that it's really the characters that make Stieg's trilogy tick and this is never better displayed than in this story. I loved Blomkvist unwavering loyalty for Lisbeth and loved even more her begrudged thank you at the end. I even enjoyed Erika's own story of struggle in being the new editor of a newspaper, however unrelated it was to the main story. Some people may not like this because they may think it's just too damn much and unnecessary, but I find it fascinating that Larsson thought out his characters and everyone of their quirks and stories so well. And while this could lead to some exhausting and tidious description, in Stieg Larsson's hand it's anything but that. It's not tiring to read those details and somehow, someway, he makes it....interesting, a bit charming, makes you like or hate the characters a bit more.
What felt different in this book was how much it delves into the inner workings and history of the Swedish police, as well as various other Swedish agencies. In that sense it felt more like a legal drama than the previous two books, particularly with the court room final scene. Also, even though there's closure to Lisbeth's and Blomkvist stories, there still seems to be at least one loose end that we'll unfortunately probably never get details about. I loved the trilogy so much that it was hard for me to really get that it will only ever be a trilogy, even though Larsson had planned quite a few more books. Still, I was content with the end. It was truly a thrilling and exciting last book. (less)
I was actually skeptical about reading this book because I don't usually go for crime books, but a friend kept going on about how great it was and Bar...moreI was actually skeptical about reading this book because I don't usually go for crime books, but a friend kept going on about how great it was and Barnes & Noble kept displaying it everywhere, so I gave it try...and I'm so glad that I did. I love this book! The story is engaging, but the characters even more so. I almost like this book more for the backstories and interactions of its characters (mainly of Blomkvist and Lisbeth, but also of the ones with a smaller roles) than the actual plot. Almost. Because the way the mystery itself unfolds of just what exactly happened to Harriet Vanger kept me reading for long hours at a time.
But again, the characters are what really got me hooked. Reading from Lisbeth's point of view and how she thinks things through were some of the most interesting parts of the book and Blomkvist womanizing, often irresponsible, but usually caring ways have you cheering for him at some points and questioning his ethics at others (particularly at the end). But that is exactly what I think is so great about these main characters: they are not without their flaws. They have extensive histories that have lead them to act the way they do and say what they do. Overall, the book had me so enthralled that immediately after finishing it I went out and bought the second. (less)