Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author; Stieg Larsson
Series: Millennum #1
Pages: 465
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing
Date Published: September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Source: Borrowed from my Sorority Sister :) (Thanks Meg!)

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

My Review:
This is another one of those books I kind of feel weird reviewing because there is so much critical acclaim about them already...I highly doubt that I will be saying anything that hasn't been said before by people who are smarter than I am and can write more entertaining reviews than me...but still...Maybe my followers haven't found those smart people yet? lol. I figured I would just weigh in with my opinion of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because I'm conceited and like to fool myself into believing that I have people who care what I think :)

SO. I have to admit to you all that I first attempted to read this book a year or two ago, but I couldn't get past the first chapter. I tell you...there can't be anything in written literature that is much drier than the first few sections of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You feel like you are being force-fed a combination of textbook jargon and a how-to manual. I think it has something to do with the fact that Stieg Larsson was an actual financial journalist so his prose is full of jargon-y terms and things that I had to go look up in a dictionary just to understand. Also, since I am not Swedish, nor do I have any prior experience with Scandinavian government agencies, I had trouble keeping all the different branches of financial business, government, etc. straight. in the US we have no problem understanding what FBI or CIA is...but when it comes to Sweden I'm in the dark, so things like the AIA made me pause and have to do some side research before I could continue...SO the beginning was a tad slow moving...but then..things start to change...mostly with the introduction of Lisbeth Salander. 

Lisbeth is basically the only contender for my favorite heroine of the year award. It's hard to define just what makes her so awesome. She isn't a hero really...or an anti-hero. She is just the most in your face (while living in the shadows), super smart, slightly sadistic, yet totally effing SWEET girl ever. She's definitely got an edge to her, and she probably wouldn't be your friend if you met her in real life. She looks like a typical goth-rebel type, but she is SO much more than that. She's a hacker, probably the best in the country, and her mad skillz have taken down countless big-wigs in the political, financial, etc world.  But she has nothing against anyone who isn't hurting other people...she will probably leave you relatively alone if you're minding your own business... But if you ARE hurting others...and I mean swindling, murdering, raping, whatever...this girl WILL dig up the dirt on you and slam you with it when you are least expecting it. And that's not all she will do. She gets pretty hands on with the men who mistreat her, which makes you love her all the more. I can you not like the girl who ties up the guy who raped her in the past, then tattoo's "I rape women" (I'm paraphrasing) on his chest? BEST REVENGE EVER. She's totally unlike any other character I've ever read and has jumped to the top of my Best Hero's of All-Time list...LOVE That girl.

The plot circles around two different main story lines. The first one, (and probably least interesting) is Michael Blomkvist's career as an investigative financial journalist and his major blunder by inaccurately reporting on one of the dirtiest players in the game. The other branch of the story revolves around the missing member of one of Sweden's most affluent and distinguished families. The head of the family, Henrik Vanger, hires Blomkvist just as his career dissolves into shambles to investigate what he believes to be the murder of his grand niece. Vanger is convinced that only another member of the family could have done it and wants Blomkvist to re-open the case one last time before Vanger passes away. The case has been cold for 40 years and the only leads have been exhausted decades before. What ensues is an exciting, suspenseful and at times terrifying mystery that will stick with you for weeks.
I have to give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5 Keys. Really, there is no other option. The pure depth of the plot, the complexity and ingenuity that the mystery involves is so complicated that you seriously have no clue what is going to happen until you (figuratively) are tied up in a basement and the villian is monologeing at you. If you can force yourself through the initial drag of the first few chapters, you are in for a real treat with Girl in the Dragon Tattoo.
I am using The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to fulfill the requirements for two challenges! The TBR pile challenge and The European Reading Challenge!


  1. Hmmm. My uncle bought this for me for christmas a few years back and It's been sitting on the shelf collecting dust and dog hair. I read the back of the book and the first page and quit. I hate books with no love story. I may go back to it though. Thanks for the review.

  2. I have been wanting to read this series. My only hesitation is that if it like the movie, I can't handle the rape scene. I almost walked of the theatre because I just can't handle graphic rape scenes. And as vivid as my imagination is, I will probably curl up into the fetal position and stay there if I try to read the book.

    However, that being said, I am going to try. I have heard wonderful things about this book. Great review, Andra!

  3. Great review! I hadn't read too many foreign authors before reading this book so didn't really know what to expect. Like you, I give it 5 stars because it was such a great mystery, lots of action, and I never knew what was going to happen next in the story! Now, I make sure to read more foreign authors! Thanks for this info!