I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads’ friend Laura, and it was fun to discuss it as we went along. Reading it with her helped me persist andI read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads’ friend Laura, and it was fun to discuss it as we went along. Reading it with her helped me persist and finish it. I’m appreciative to her for waiting for me while I waited for my library copy and then sometimes waiting for me to catch up with her while we read.
This book is incredibly hard for me to rate and even more difficult to review.
I’m going to settle on 2 stars, possibly coming close to 2 ½ stars. As usual, I’m rating based on my personal reading experience. What’s weird is that I can’t give it a higher rating, but usually I regret reading anything less than a 3 star book and sometimes anything less than a 4 star book. I’m getting pickier and pickier about how I spend my reading time. Yet I’m glad I read this book and I certainly enjoyed parts of it. Mostly it was just okay though. It was easy to put down and usually not easy to pick up, and when I read it was a struggle and rarely a page-turner. Much of the time it felt like work to read it. I read most of it at a glacial pace, and felt frustrated. At times it felt tortuous, at times I got pleasure from reading it.
I usually read everything in a book. Absolutely everything. I didn’t read the two introductions (many pages!) before I read the novel because luckily they warned of spoilers. I ‘d intended to read them after I finished the novel, but I didn’t. I’m skipping them. When I finished the last page of the novel I felt as though I’d read enough and didn’t want to read more about the book, except for some more Goodreads members’ reviews.
Part of my difficulty, I think, is that it had been many years since I’d read books from this era. It took me time to get used to the writing style. Anachronisms abound but since the book was written in the mid-1800s and the bulk of the story does take place during 1848-1849 I could forgive the sensibilities expressed. The sexism, nationalism, classism, and possibly racism were to be expected. The book was published as a serial and I could tell. It felt slow and meandering and sometimes confusing, and a lot happens, but I didn’t like the flow of the narrative. Also, the chapter numbers showed up just anywhere on the pages and were not highlighted for noticing in any way. I didn’t like the structure. My copy at least had a Contents page that showed the different narratives with the names of the characters narrating and their corresponding page numbers. That helped a lot. I sent that information to my buddy because she didn’t even have that as a guide of what was to come in her edition.
There were multiple narrators and that I found fun. I liked quite a few of the characters. Some just got dropped though, never to return. A couple of the characters are real hoots. I did enjoy a lot of the humor in the book. It is funny and witty and there is a lot of irreverence, all positives. I did smile and chuckle frequently. I did enjoy portions of it.
One main aspect re the solving of the mystery less than thrilled me (though it could have been worse) and I did like the two main resolutions. I also liked the unsolved mystery about one character. I thought that having that loose end made the book better. I have read that this is considered the “first modern mystery” and if that’s true it’s a decent one.
When I realized that one of the main characters was an avid fan of the book Robinson Crusoe I looked up that book’s plot and interpretations since I haven’t read it, and I was afraid I’d dislike this book because of what I learned about that novel, but it turned out to not really interfere with what enjoyment I had.
One thing that surprised me was that one of the characters, an attorney, said “Cool!” and used the expression in the way we would today. I thought that meaning of the word originated in the 1950s. I guess not.
I know that this book has mostly high ratings here and I look forward to seeing why others feel as they do about the book. I’ve read some reviews of it over the years. Now I’ll read more. Other than that I’m happy to be done with this book. Of all the Wilkie Collins books I thought I’d like this one best though I guess I’ll leave Woman in White on my to read list, at least for now. ...more
Well, I was afraid of this. As I read the book I thought I’d probably want to read books 2 and 3 of this trilogy. Then, at the end of this book, thereWell, I was afraid of this. As I read the book I thought I’d probably want to read books 2 and 3 of this trilogy. Then, at the end of this book, there were a few pages that are the first pages of book 2. I don’t know when I’ll have time/take the time to read books 2 and 3. I’m tempted to just ask friends what happened, but I’ll probably read them. I want to know more about Lisbeth Salander! What a unique character! And thanks to my book club because if I hadn’t had to read this book for my club, I might have given up and put it down sometime during the first 40 pages.
The first 40+ pages of this book went very slowly for me. I found them a bit boring and I didn’t understand what was going on. Then, I got hooked, completely hooked. I thought that the ending was somewhat weak, even considering that this is the first book in a trilogy, but the bulk of the book was a fascinating read.
I found Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, the two main characters, very intriguing. By the time the violence and other scary stuff started, I was thoroughly engaged in the story and invested in the characters. So, those difficult parts were slightly more tolerable to get through. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a hard-core (vs. cozy) mystery. For the most part, I guessed the mystery/mysteries fairly early on (using the helpful family tree and family list provided) and my guess(es) kept getting validated, but I was never 100% certain, so it was still a satisfying mystery novel. I loved the Swedish (and world) setting, the computer related and journalism professions of some of the characters, and the island (“closed room”) setting.
What a shame there are only these three books from this gifted author. I hope he knew about some of his success before he died....more