Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

4.3 336
by Stieg Larsson

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Coming September 2015: The Girl in the Spider's Web

“Lisbeth Salander is one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while.”
--The New York Times

The Millennium series that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has become this generation’s international…  See more details below


Coming September 2015: The Girl in the Spider's Web

“Lisbeth Salander is one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while.”
--The New York Times

The Millennium series that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has become this generation’s international bestselling phenomenon.

Disgraced crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist has no idea of the levels of conspiracy he will uncover when is enlisted to investigate the unsolved disappearance nearly forty years ago of a Swedish industrialist’s niece. And when the pierced and tattooed computer savant Lisbeth Salander joins him, together they unearth layers and layers of secrets and scandals that permeate the highest levels of society, from politics to finance to the legal system itself--at the bottom of which lies unimaginable cruelty perpetrated on the weak. In the course of these three shocking, unputdownable thrillers, we encounter one of the most heroic of survivors, as she battles some of the most heartless villains ever imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

From Sarah Weinman's "THE CRIMINALIST" column on The Barnes & Noble Review

By now, the narrative of Stieg Larsson is well-established to the point of near-myth. So it goes with a bona fide cultural phenomenon whose creator did not live to see the truly global success of the Millennium Trilogy. The surrounding legal drama between Larsson's longtime partner and family owing to his lack of a will, the excellent movie adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the glut of articles about the Nordic crime boom, and the new and forthcoming release of several biographies all underscore and obfuscate the bottom line: these three books resonate for millions of readers as few thrillers do. They -- like me -- are so hooked that the prospect of an end to the series produces low-to-mid-range frustration. To misquote Samuel Beckett, there can't be more. There must be more. There is no more.

The best way to explain this inevitable reaction is to start with the last hundred or so pages of The Girl Who Kicks the Hornet's Nest, which finally arrives on American soil. Lisbeth Salander, having endured all manner of violence, humiliation, suffering, and degradation with revenge-soaked stoicism for just over half of her twenty-seven years on earth, is on trial for trying to kill her father, the Russian defector and Swedish national security nightmare Alexander Zalachenko. Her solicitor is Annika Gianinni, a feminist crusader and sister to the trilogy's other main protagonist, Mikael Blomqvist. They face a cavalry of aging men desperate to hang on to their powerful positions and crush Salander's spirit through every conspiratorial means possible, from declarations of mental incapacitation to trumped-up murder charges that can't quite stick (so attempted murder will have to suffice.)

The outcome is obvious to the reader, because Larsson, throughout the series, has conformed to the mystery novel's chief structure: blinding chaos is restored to natural order, with some obligatory loose strands left to dangle for the next book. But what he has also done, brilliantly, is to use the chaos/order dichotomy as a means of mining more ancient archetypes revolving around catharsis. Salander is any mythical or larger-than-life character you want her to be, from Diana the Huntress to females of Amazonian glory to Boadicea to Pippi Longstocking to Mallory, Carol O'Connell's glorious sociopathic heroine. She's the Bad Girl because others say she is, but really her misfit ways and fluid sexuality simply are, free from societal norms and judgments.

So -- and I guess this counts as a spoiler -- Salander prevails. But we've known she would from the moment she first appeared in her former boss's office, slapping down the dossier she compiled on Blomqvist and blithely commenting that he must have been set up by the financier, Wennerström -- the villain eventually brought down through a mix of hackery and trickery by Salander and Blomqvist. But the breathtaking glory of those final sections of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is the systematic thoroughness of Salander's triumph.

Men will continue to hate women, and to box them in and shut them down; the rich will hoard their wealth and the poor will be trapped. But the events chronicled in those hundred pages, the culmination of the several hundred thousand words preceding, imagine a small but vital change to the game. If one elfin, multi-tattooed, take-no-prisoners, socially withdrawn young woman can beat the system -- definitively and with several blows struck in the name of some turbo-charged form of Girl Power -- surely millions of others facing more mundane but more devastating insults and injustices can also prevail?

But enough about the end. Some justice must be done on the book's entirety, after all, and why The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest caps the trilogy so well. First off is Larsson's knack for building, maintaining, and then explosively increasing the momentum even as he barrels through what could be some turgid expository dumps. Did we need to know every little bit of backstory on peripheral members of the so-called "Zalachenko Club" responsible for circumventing the constitution and screwing over Salander to a life under the government's thumb? No, but just when one might throw up one's hands, along comes a vital chess move through the byzantine plot that might come in handy later on. And like his colleague in blockbusters, Dan Brown, Larsson's enthusiasm for the information he spills out, be it on the annals of his country's darkest political crimes or the specs of the computer Salander works with, is infectious. Did you know how cool this is? he asks. We did not, but now we do -- and yeah, it is pretty cool.

That leads into the second point: the Millennium Trilogy is mecca for the twin nerdy pursuits of journalism and technology. Larsson idealized journalism too much and spent too little on getting the inner workings of computer hacking right, but the net effect in both cases is that the 2010's reality super-imposes itself on the 2003-2005 world depicted in the books. The effects of that juxtaposition are somewhat different. With respect to journalism, bloggers toiling at pennies per post if they are lucky after being downsized from cushier newspaper and magazine jobs look to Millennium (Blomqvist's baby) and SMP (where his partner Erika migrates to save a sinking ship) as the personification of the "good old days," when dogged investigation and commitment to quality, not page views, was rewarded most.

Technology is another story. Gadgets date quickly, and Salander's reliance on a Palm Tungsten 3T to communicate with Blomqvist in stealth while supposedly sequestered from the world in a hospital shoehorns the action to late 2004/early 2005. Would the plot have been poleaxed by the presence of a smartphone, or by the likelihood of incriminating videos ending up on YouTube with a single click? Perhaps, but with recent privacy-busting actions by the post-Larsson behemoth Facebook (or Google, hardly as formidable then as it is now) and surveillance-happy governments in all likely and unlikely corners, I reckon Larsson might have figured out additional ways around the plausibility problem -- or blithely ignored them altogether since truth trumps fiction for bizarreness.

Such considerations remind one that these books, with all their violence and modern accoutrements, are wonderfully old-fashioned. Salander spends the bulk of Hornet's Nest trapped in a hospital bed, in jail, or in a stifling room answering to so-called crimes or watching, impassively, as her lawyer annihilates former tormentors and exposes their own perversions. And yet she is still the most active investigator of the truth in the story, able to accomplish what experienced journalists or government officials cannot. Those key figures also must use their wits -- as well as some well-placed information here and there, illegally obtained or not -- and deduce the impossible truth of Salander's victimhood from more plausible but flat wrong suppositions of guilt. Blomqvist may get much more action than his forefather in crime, Sherlock Holmes, but the principles are much the same.

Finally, to quote Blomqvist, "when it comes down to it, this story is not primarily about spies and secret government agencies; it's about violence against women, and those who enable it." Sex, in other words, is the big red herring, and I think that's why Larsson had the license to stretch the boundaries a bit. Because it doesn't matter if Blomqvist has women constantly flocking to him (in Hornet's Nest the quite unnecessary amorous episodes feature the near-Olympian turned secret agent Monika Figuerola), or if his long-running relationship with the married Berger is the best depiction of polyamory in fiction I've read, or if Salander sleeps with both men and women. Sex is private, borne out of love or desire or other more complicated emotions. Violence, be it body blows or brutal rape, is a public problem to be aired out so as to eradicate it for good.

Such was Larsson's hope, anyway. He wouldn't have lived to see the end of violence against women even if he was still alive today with thirty more years to go. But the three finished novels he left behind attest to idealism on many fronts: that journalism was a social service, that technology was a positive force for good, and that violence was a scourge both could vanquish. We're so far away from these goals that to read about them in the form of three supremely entertaining thrillers is escapism and catharsis of the highest order. And each subsequent generation will get sucked into Larsson's world anew, ready to fight alongside Blomqvist and Salander.

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Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series
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Random House
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5 MB

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Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy 4.3 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 336 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love the trilogy. I love the characters and was hooked the first few chapters. It is a little slow but the wait is worth it.
Ladema More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent trilogy that is definitely worth the time to read. The characters are unique, the plot is original, and some very good thought was put into the progression. The entire series keeps you hooked and guessing. It's fun and entertaining while still remaining thought provoking. It has a fantastically liberal view on women that is refreshing to read, and deals with sexual persecution without sounding preachy. The few downsides to the series, I think, are in the writing style. Perhaps lost in translation, but the style is rather bland at times, using no symbolism or metaphor or alliteration or any tiny details you might expect in a published novel. It in general straightforwardly tells you the story in third person limited while switching between the characters. The true insight into the characters are minimal, and in general they act in a predictable manner once their characteristics are established. That's not to say that the individual characters are uninteresting, just slightly one-sided. It probably would be a poor choice to read in an English class, but it makes a fantastic read for the general population.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first book was so good that I read it in a few days, and now I am half way through book two...I do not want to put it down! I cannot wait to finish the trilogy!
Boatner More than 1 year ago
When I saw there were only 100 pages left to read, I got sad. It's a shame that Mr. Larsen died before he could complete more than 3 books. That being said, the final book, english title; The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, does wrap things up. We're not left hanging and that is nice. I saw the recently released movie before I bought the book and I am glad I did. The movie is pretty faithful to the book but "the book is better." I think it was easier to follow at the beginning of "Dragon Tattoo" after having seen the movie.
Avid_ReaderJS More than 1 year ago
I just finished "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and was compelled to immediately logon and buy Larsson's other two books from this series. The characters became so real I was sad to finish the book. I cannot wait to get the others and see what happens next. Not only did the characters come alive, the story was fabulous. The twists and turns were great and unexpected. The ending left you frustrated but it felt right. I love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was such a great book. I couldnt put it down. I highly suggest to those who love mysteries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Action and complex plot, characters you can feel. I give it all the stars I can!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these books. Definitley a great series and would recommend to all my friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though the first 75 pages are slow,they are needed for the whole of the novel. I love Lisbeth and her character is emotionlly deep and very rememerable! The characters contrast one another which also makea it thrilling. This novel,and the series, would make a wonderful essay or thesis!
Rebel-reader More than 1 year ago
These books and their characters held my attention and I wanted to finish them as quickly as possible. However, i did not want the last book to end knowing there would be no more. The suspense is gripping.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good twists throughout, interesting characters. Looking foward to continuing the series.
Potita More than 1 year ago
I am half way through the third book and am love the series! I am dreading the moment when it is done and I cannot buy a fourth! Very regrettable that the author died and there are no more stories with Lisbeth and Mikael! Unlike another reviewer who also gave the series high marks, I do not find the characters "one-sided". Perhaps that is the case with Lisbeth to a degree but that is more due to her particular situation.. Mikael is a multi-faceted individual who is loyal, compassionate, intelligent and flawed. My only "complaint" is that all of the Swedish names of characters and towns are long, unfamiliar and or too similar and confusing. Maybe just me but it seems like all the names ended with son, sson, sen,... and since the author generally refers to the characters by the last name, I sometimes had to go and double check who was who... of course part of the problem could have be due to the fact that I could not put the books down I would literally read till I fell asleep! That may have added to my name confusion : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a busy person, and i mean real busy being in the military. So when i do have time to read this book i have trouble wanting to stop. The plot keeps you thinking and trying to figure out whats going on through out every chapter. I havent seen the movie or read the whole thing yet, but i plan to do both.
Myrian_Souza More than 1 year ago
I´ve never found anything so entertaining and exciting to listen to while driving. This trilogy gets you wondering and looking forward to know what is gonna happen next. Get ready for the suspense and unexpected facts on the Millenium Trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great start to an even better trilogy. It's starts a little slow, but at 50 pages in it had me hooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this series. A must read. They just get better and better as you read them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Books where a great read, Enjoyed the Swedish Movies more than the English first movie. Reading the subtitles was hard at first, but I still liked the Swedish version better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All three books are great. Couldn't put them down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it! It was a bit slow at first and a bit confusing at first. However it all ties in later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first book in 2 days! It was compelling, entertaining, thrilling and not predictable. I look forward to reading the entire trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. But i do not get why it is so expensive. D:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It starts out slow bot it is a great book!
judithannhillard More than 1 year ago
I was a bit reluctant to read a book translated from Swedish (recalling Ole and Lena jokes from college) but was quite rapidly so engrossed in the lives of Michaelle, Lisbeth, and others that I forgot that I had no idea where the subway stops were or the towns I'd never in my life heard of. It just didn't matter. But Harriet missing fifty years without a trace of her 15-year-old self, the secrets so carefully wrapped in the Verger family where Miche, a journalist with a nose for intrigue goes to meet the 87-year-old patriarch who just must turn all stones, world over, to find out what happened to his neice. Hence, we meet Lisbeth who comes in as a researcher just a few weeks after she is raped mercilessly by her "guardian" though she is 24, well under 5 feet tall and not even 90 lbs. To further humiliate her, the perpetrator films his attack on her, tying her to his bed, beating her, and all the while telling her how much she likes this treatment, this "love" from him... how they will meet like this monthly and he will take over control of her money, her bank accounts, paying her bills, etc... all this after her first guardian fell victim to a vicious stroke at the age of 57 or so, and she found him because he was late to meet her: unheard of. He was the ONLY man she had grown to trust largely because he liked her, loved her even, as the daughter he'd never had. He KNEW how brilliant she was, how some odd mistake had resulted in her teen assylum confinement and subsequent diagnoses as retarded, incompetent to care for herself; quite the contrary, she can solve a Rubix cube in mere minutes after first seeing one in his office, she has a photographic memory. Guardian 1 (I've already lent the book to my mother, and their names are so foreign to me, I apologize for not using them for fear of misspelling or misusing them) is alive, but requires year of therapy to speak and function again, admits if only to himself that he had not given up Lisbeth as a fully competent adult to a judge with his stacks of proof, but selfishly let her function independently and stayed out of her business and they got along fine for fear of losing her, he filed the papers monthly, enjoyed and kept that tenuous hold on her, knowing she could leave Sweden at any time without a trace. She exacts her revenge in such a clever, brilliant way on Guard. 2 that he is forced to follow her instructions about turning in perfect monthly reports, though the video SHE takes from him shows absolute proof that he is a sadist, a pervert, and a rapist and her knowledge of tattoos allows her to mark him in a painful, large, intimate way so that he will never again be able to take advantage of ANYONE, or even see a physician if he is ill. If he breaks her rules, and she works for a security co. with lax security and is able to plant microscopic cameras in vents and gain access to computers to obtain copies of his child porn regular sites, but also his email and phone calls. He is to return her money AND deposit regular amounts into her offshore account from his. He can't imagine how she KNOWS he has some, and has proof that he has been stealing from his own clients as a lawyer and a guardian for the country for years, he will go to prison where he will NOT be treated well. He lives in terror of this tiny girl he believed to be retarded, an idiot. She & Miche team up & find out the truth about Harriet yet uncover so much more. I grieve there will be only 3.
Anonymous 5 months ago