I’ve enjoyed reading this novel of Stieg Larsson’s very much (more than the "The Lost Symbol" for example) though the pace is kind of slow at the beginning. But about one quarter into the book, I was enticed to keep reading it and couldn’t even avoid thinking about it during my office hours.
In this book, Mikael Blomkvist probably appears in more pages than Lisbeth Salander — the girl with the dragon tattoo. I’ve sometimes felt that the behavior of Salander is bit too bizarre and chaotic but it may be because I’ve got no experience of Asperger’s syndrome (a type of autism). She’s probably not a character that I like the most but somehow I develop some sympathy for Salander. I like Erika Berger a bit more and I feel funny about her strange relationships with Blomkvist and her husband at the same. I guess not too many men can allow his lover (not to mention wife) to be in a relationship (though casual) with another man.
The biggest "gain" (if I want to put it that way) in reading this book is that I’ve learnt quite a lot about Sweden from the name of supermarket chain "Konsum" or the Stockholm airport "Arlanda" to the Nazi involvement of the Swedish during WWII. Probably it’s not unique to Sweden, the author does make it look like there are so many men in Sweden who would like to torture and murder women as hobbies. The author probably has revealed his point of view through the characters like Blomkvist saying that the Swedish stock market is not Swedish economy (but only fantasies of valuations) at the end of the book.
Unlike "The Lost Symbol", when the mysteries were resolved at the end, one somehow feels some sorts of satisfaction, rather than disappointment. Anon, the reader was given another episode that the reader has almost forgot. Salander is in the book who provide occasional twists and surprises. It probably also paves the way for the sequels. Perhaps, the solutions (mostly seem to be through death) are too shallow. We like Harriet Vanger no matter what she’s done. Henrik Vanger at the end doesn’t seem to be as lofty as he is at the beginning of the novel.
I’m not sure how much I’ve felt and read is due to the translation. The translator keeps many Swedish names for persons and locations such as Hans-Erik Wennerström (the person who has caused Blomkvist’s jail time) and Åhléns department store in which all the Swedish alphabets are kept. But the translator somehow bothers to translate all the temperatures to Fahrenheit (F). I bet the original temperatures are in Celsius/centigrade. I don’t like this kind of temperature translation and is also unnecessary.
All in all, I love this novel. When I read to the last part of the novel, it’s like I don’t want it to end ! Blomkvist and Berger are agreeable though we feel pity for Salander whose heart was broken though she has other type of gain at the end.