This is because I have to finish them. Well, generally I do. I never finished the Divergent books, although I may want to go back to those and I never finished the Gone books. However, they were not brilliant teenage fiction. Divergent was definitely the better of the two, and now that I think on it I am quite intrigued by what happens next. Perhaps the reason I hated it so much was because I was stuck on a 12 hour bus journey back from London with a hangover? Might need to give it another go.
Anyway, the reason I say this is because I finally caved and started reading The Millennium Trilogy. You know the ones, Stieg Larsson, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo all that jazz? Now I have the Chicago song in my head. Oh Amy. Well, when they first came out and everyone was raving about them I did the typical, well if everyone else is reading them I am not going to. In addition to this someone I don’t like told me they loved them which also put me off them. Not painting myself in a very flattering light here. Clearly, I caved, I am not sure why when I have so much other stuff to read.
I will come back to those books in a moment, but just a quick overview of another couple of books I read. I was looking for some light reading and chose “One Day” by David Nicholls and “The Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud” by Ben Sherwood. Where to begin, firstly, I wouldn’t recommend either of them. If you must choose one, pick “One Day”, it was an interesting structure, perhaps a bit predictable. The main male character – Dexter – just reminded me of Hugh Grant’s character in “About a Boy”. I can’t remember the actual character’s name, even though I adore that book. It is a nice book to read, and is quite engrossing, but not really my thing, and I have been advised the film is terrible.
“The Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud”, however, is absolute nonsense. A complete sentimental monstrosity. Once again, predictable, definitely more so than “One Day”. Do not read this, and you should probably not watch the Zac Efron film either. Right back to those other books I have read which also have films based on them…
The first one, I enjoyed. The plot was complex and intricate, it pulled you in, although perhaps a bit too convoluted – this appears to be a recurring theme in all three books. The second one, I didn’t enjoy as much, but I made myself read it because I was determined to finish it and it answered some of those questions that had been floating about since the first book. In addition to this, I was really emotionally uninvested. When terrible things happened to the characters, I really couldn’t have cared less.
The first book was intriguing, I enjoyed it, felt it was a bit too long and dragged things out. Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? Hrm, probably not to be honest. I have read a reasonable amount of crime fiction – although this probably wouldn’t fall only into this category as it becomes a bit of a political thriller (isn’t that phrase a paradox? If these books have taught me anything, yes, yes it is) – and a lot of it is better than this. I strongly suspect that had the author not passed away before the books were written they would have been far more heavily edited.
There are several long tedious passages in all the books that seem to be irrelevant to the plot. It just makes the book frustrating to read. In addition, there are sentences which are awkwardly phrased and give the impression the book isn’t very well written, but this may be down to the translation. I found myself skimming a lot in the early parts of the third book, which doesn’t inspire me to finish it. I will though, which probably indicates I perhaps have more interest than I think, although I think it will be a long painful process.
I also found the characters two dimensional. The characters were either good or bad. There isn’t any in between or any grey area. Similarly, what is fine for one character isn’t fine for another, and this is dependent on whether the character has been deemed good or bad. It is a book of double standards.
There are a lot of strong female characters which I like, however, once again, they are two dimensional and fall into good or bad. In fact, the strong feminist element running through it is probably one reason why I have continued to read it. Aside from this it does start to get a bit ridiculous. I have actually started rolling my eyes while reading it – a real challenge, and some parts are overly pretentious,
It is conspiracy obsessed, everything is a Government Conspiracy. It just seems formulaic, oh lets blame the Government for all the mishaps this person has suffered. Yes, that certainly contributed, but it doesn’t mean that a person can’t do things to help themselves. (Yes, that is probably a bit rich coming from me).
In fact, so much of it is ridiculous. Mikael Blomkvist having an on/off relationship with the editor of his newspaper who is married, whose husband knows about it and is happy with it. Then we have the fact that women seem to be throwing themselves at him at every opportunity. The fact that we have lesbians, but of course, sexy lesbians. We can’t just have a regular lesbian couple like we have regular straight couples, no they have to be sexy, or people won’t like it. The book just seems so extreme and over the top, I don’t know why I have only just realised this. Yes, the redeeming quality of the book is probably that it is a male author focussing on a feminist agenda in some ways, but at the same time we have the sexy lesbians – this isn’t to say you don’t get sexy lesbians, of course you do, it just seems to be the go to if you want a couple that isn’t straight – and the brutal depictions of sexual assault.
I have now gotten to the point where I can’t wait to finish this book and get onto something else. I am bored of it. It is a chore to read, but I must finish. But if he uses the word ‘esoteric’ one more time, I might scream.