the first book in the widely-read but over-estimated millenium series does a good job of introducing us to the main characters of the novels, blomkvist and salander, and keeping us interested in them. it also teaches you a lot about corporate crime in sweden. i found the structure of the novel exceptionally exasperating, and my first experience with the dead ends of the book found me exceptionally frustrated. i certainly wanted to know what was going to happen but the road to finding out was arduous, and i kept wishing that somebody had edited the hell out of the book -- i'm sure i would've liked it a lot more. this is the most grotesque of the three books: if you get through the level of violence in this one, you'll find that the other two are staid in comparison.