Day 1022: The Girl Who Played with Fire

Cover for The Girl Who Played with FireHaving started this series with the last book, I am finally finishing it with the second. As with the original Larsson trilogy, this graphic novel begins to get into the conspiracy by SAPO to criminalize Lisbeth Salander.

Lisbeth is on vacation on a tropical island after the events of the first novel. Mikael Blomkvist and his magazine are working on an issue about human trafficking with Dag Svensson. Meanwhile, Mr. Bjurman, Lisbeth’s guardian, is trying to figure out a way to control her.

Lisbeth has returned home when Dag Svensson and his girlfriend are found murdered. Also dead is Bjurman, and evidence links Lisbeth to the murders. Lisbeth realizes that all this is pointing back to her past, and she must follow clues while a huge manhunt is going on for her.

Despite being the transitional second novel, this one is engaging, with a lot going on. The art is just excellent. Even though the graphic novels are taken from a hefty series, these writers and artists have managed to condense the Millenium trilogy into an effective series.

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Day 998: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Cover for The Girl with the Dragon TattooA while back I read the third book in the graphic novel series based on Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Series. I found myself a little confused because it had been so long since I read the original books. So, I decided to get the other two.

Of the three original novels, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo works best as a stand-alone. We meet the two protagonists. Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist who has just been found guilty of slandering a powerful businessman, Wennerström, and must face a jail sentence. Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous heroine, has found some evidence that Wennerström is actually guilty and has led Blomkvist on to make allegations he suddenly finds he can’t support so as to ruin him and his magazine.

Blomkvist quits his job on the magazine to save it, but he is offered investigative work by Henrik Vanger, another powerful industrialist. Forty years ago, Vanger’s niece Harriet disappeared during a get-together on the family island and was never found. Henrik assumes that someone in the family killed her, since no one could get on or off the island at the time. In exchange for Mikael’s help, Vanger promises to turn over the goods on Wennerström.

This graphic novel was easy to follow and beautifully illustrated. I find that the genre doesn’t allow for the extreme build-up of suspense that Larsson was able to create in the novels. It could be my imagination, but I also thought some scenes were moved around and the ending was slightly different than the book. I also felt that Lisbeth’s role in the graphic novel was minimized as compared to the novel. Her scenes are more likely to be visual rather than to have dialogues and so go more quickly. Still, this is a rendition of the story that has much to offer.

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Day 964: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Cover for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's NestI did an odd thing here. I saw that the third book of the Millennium Series was out in a graphic novel by Denise Mina, the terrific Scottish mystery writer, so I ordered it without looking for the other two (which I have since bought). So, I am reading and reviewing them out of order.

Thrust like this into the last volume and having not read the original books for several years, I had difficulty at first getting oriented. I especially had some problems with the multitude of characters, not realizing a cast of minor characters appears at the end. I remembered the general plot but not all the subplots. Still, this is not a problem for those who have read the series from the beginning.

Of course, the plot is the finale of the story of Lisbeth Salander, unjustly accused of murder of three people and of attempted murder of her own father, Zala. It is up to Mikael Blomkvist and the staff of Millennium Magazine as well as her other friends to try to help gather the evidence for her trial. In the meantime, the police are searching for her half-brother Niedermann, the scary murderer who can feel no pain.

The art and story line of this graphic novel are really fine, getting a bulky novel right down to its essence. This is the first time I’ve read the graphic novel for a book I’m already familiar with, and it made me contrast the two. I think the one thing a graphic novel loses is all sense of the original’s climactic moments. In particular, I’m thinking of two scenes: the one during the trial when Lisbeth finally speaks and the fight in the factory. The fight boils down several pages of suspenseful writing into a couple of frames. There’s no way to build up suspense similar to that of the novel. Still, my dabbling in this genre has made me feel it is an interesting one as long as I stay away from super heroes, which really bore me.

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