This review originally appeared at http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/What a relief to finally finish this book.I feel like I've been reading it FOREVER. Well, at least a month, anyway. Which is unusual for me. It's partly because I've been so busy, partly because of the size, but I think mostly, for awhile there, I just didn't feel compelled to pick it up at all. Don't get me wrong - the story of Lisbeth Salander accused of murdering three people, and Mikael Blomkvist's search for the truth, is an interesting one, and the writing is good overall. The first part dives straight into action, and although it still takes awhile to get to the main plot, I really enjoyed reading it. The ending is also great - once I got to the last third of the book, it was hard to put down as everything came into place. It was just the middle I had a lot of trouble with.I think the main problem is Lisbeth Salander. She's such an amazing character and undoubtedly the star of the series. She's kick-butt, complex, uncompromising, unique and brilliant. She absolutely leaps off the page when she appears. So when she doesn't appear - like, in the whole middle section of The Girl Who Played With Fire - the pages feel flat and dull. She's still part of the story, as the team investigating the murders comes together and begins to hunt her down, but she's not actually present, and her absense is definitely felt. Now, I like me a murder investigation, but unfortunately the bulk of this one was just so boring. I felt like every time I picked up the book, a new character was being introduced, and their whole life story was revealed in intricate details, and I JUST. DIDN'T. CARE. I get it, it's Larsson's style, but there were so many characters that I had difficulty tracking who was who (especially as it was often days between readings) and I just wasn't invested in most of them at all.When Lisbeth finally appeared again, I think I literally breathed a sigh of relief, and read the rest of the book in a matter of days. Once again, to Larsson's credit, there were some major twists that I did not see coming at all. I love it when a book catches me by surprise. So I closed the book feeling satisfied. But even though there were quite a few threads left hanging for The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, I have to say I don't think I'm going to pick that up immediately. I'll get to it soon, because I really want to know how it all ends, of course, but at the moment I feel a bit fatigued by the series. Time for some mindless, easy fluff, I think.