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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

art via pekepeke0 on deviantART
I was going to combine this post with a review of Dan Brown's Inferno and call it something like "Terrible books with positive and progressive messages, but are still pretty terrible." But I won't read Inferno until I can get my hands on a free copy.

Steig Larsson was a "better" writer than Dan Brown. At least from what I can tell from the translations. As in the actual words that make up the writing, not necessarily the plot structure. Because Brown has that nailed down. Whereas all three books in Larsson's Millennium trilogy have extremely odd plot structures. The first, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, had its climax somewhere near the middle, with a long, waning second half. It was difficult to translate to the more rigid structure of film, which is why nearly a quarter of the book is cut from both Oplev and Fincher's film versions. And in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, it doesn't feel like there's ever really a climax. Unless you count Lisbeth's trial as one, when she reveals everything we already knew about her since book two. And that's all this ended up being: a complete rehash of everything we already knew. No new adventures or baddies. The only time my attention was piqued was when Lisbeth helped Erika Berger with her stalker. But that was over in a handful of pages. As compared to the hundred-or-so pages explaining the history of the Swedish secret police in excruciating detail. However it's not just the structure of the plot that makes me call it "terrible" writing. It's the fact that the plot in all three books is just so OUT there. Shit gets ridiculous. Kickboxing lesbians, the prime minister involving himself in a criminal trial, secret agents, and just waaaaay too much coincidence.

BUT! But. There's something to be said for a monumentally bestselling series of books that focus on the worldwide plague of violence against women. Starring (or co-starring) a seriously talented, interesting, and unique woman. Is Lisbeth Salander a superhero? The definition of a superhero is vague and subjective at best, so there can never be a real answer. If it requires a super human power, then technically Batman isn't one. Whereas Lisbeth has a photographic memory. If it requires an animal-inspired costume, then she's out of luck.

There usually aren't any quotables from books like this, but I do have one that makes a point I agree with:

"What you don't understand is that our stockholders bought stock in the paper because they want to make money. That's called capitalism. If you arrange for them to lose money, they they won't want to be stockholders any longer."

I'm not suggesting they should lose money, though it might come to that. Ownership implies responsibility. As you yourself pointed out, capitalism is what matters here. SMP's owners want to make a profit. But it's the market that decides whether you make a profit or take a loss. By your reasoning, you want the rules of capitalism to apply solely to the employees of SMP, while you and the stockholders will be exempt."

Yesssssssssssssss. Take heed, Wall Street.

832 pages
5,717 / 20,000 page goal

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