While my favourite genre of writing is fantasy/sci-fi, I also have a soft spot for mystery stories or books about spies. This is mainly because they are generally set in today’s society, and they can keep the reader guessing until the very end when the villain, or solution, is revealed. Recently I have read two of these such books, neither of which I have ever read before.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is something I have put off reading for a long time. It was one those books that was hyped and raved about so much that I ended up just avoiding it. Reading books while everyone tells you how marvellous it is and seeing posters for it everywhere, for example, is not something I enjoy. So, in a house surrounded by fields and trees long after the major hype had died down, I began to read it. And finish it. In a day. The waiting had been worth it. Admittedly it did take me a long while to get into the book; the start is not great and you really have to persevere in order to be hooked. But once that happens it is very difficult to put the book down. I myself was fascinated by the character of Lisbeth Salander. She has plenty of backstory still left to uncover and is very well-rounded. Blomkvist on the other hand I could not decide either way. Sometimes he irritated me no end and other times I liked him. The story got quite disturbing in places and in others appeared a little far-fetched, but there were enough hints and connections in the build-up to make the ending believable while still shocking, with a few good twists to make up for the first few chapters. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo certainly kept me entertained. It will be interesting to see what the next two are like. Apparently they get better.
The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva is something I struggled with from the beginning. It was the first of Silva’s books that I had read and it was fairly obvious I had started with the wrong one. About half the book talks about past exploits of the principle character, Allon, which I can only assume occurred in previous books. To some-one who has never read those the effect is lost and it just becomes irritating. There is also a lot of detail regarding art restoration and history. As someone interested in art history I can appreciate it, but it also feels like it is there unnecessarily with only minor relevance to the overall plot. Repetition is another occurrence that annoyed me. I felt I was being told numerous points multiple times throughout the book for no apparent reason. However, I will concede that once it got into Allon’s main mission, the novel picked up. The pacing improved, there was less obvious exposition and I found myself being drawn into the story. Unfortunately you have to sit through the first half of the book to get to that point. I did get the sense that the previous book had ended the series and this one was dragging the character up again despite there being no real reason for doing so. I do wonder if I read the first one, whether I would have enjoyed it more.
That’s that for today’s mini-reviews. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’ve read either of these books to let me know in the comments whether you agree or disagree with me about them. Do the same if you have any suggestions for other books to read and review.