- Published: September 16th, 2008
- Publisher: Norstedts Forlag
- Series: Millenium Trilogy
- Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
- Followed by: The Girl Who Played with Fire
- Number of Pages in Paperback: 644
- Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. —Source
Review on the Characters:
Mikael Blomkvist– I liked Mikael but the problem was that Lisbeth Salander was so entertaining to read that I became frustrated during Mikael’s point of view. First off, there was no question of depth in the character- Larsson is obviously a fantastic writer in that respect. However, there was much unnecessary information during Blomkvist’s point of view but I don’t really want to take that out on Mikael. He was an interesting character in that he believed in a strong ethics code yet cheated on his wife to the point that they end in divorce and also repeatedly acknowledges that he is a bad father yet does nothing about it. Call me crazy, (actually don’t) but I loved Mikael all the more for it. I absolutely hate reading about a genuinely good guy that does no wrong, it’s not realistic. Mikael Blomkvist was a genuinely good guy but he was also human and with that comes short comings. I applaud this character although I do believe he can do with less finance jumbo (even though that’s what his career was based upon), the author either needed to make it more entertaining to read or to cut it. (I’m reading the second novel now and it looks like the author takes this advice).
Lisbeth Salander– I have to say what everyone else has already said, Lisbeth Salander is one of the most unique character I have read. She is captivating from the start which compelled me to keep reading through the tedious beginning. She is pierced and tattooed (obviously-title reference) and incredibly small but a force that none should reckon. Whats most dangerous about Salander is her lack of emotion. She does what needs to be done and you had just better hope you don’t stand in her path. Larsson has taken an extremely anti-social and seemingly emotionless girl and still made her likable. Whats even better is that Salander is utterly believable because of the depth that Larsson put in, a depth that maker her incredibly real. When the reader learns more about her state-run past in which involved a mislabeled mental state early on, the reader can’t help but feel sympathy for the unsympathetic character. Make no mistake Salander is the driving force of this novel. I really am in awe of the way Stieg Larsson has taken a ruthless problem child, vicious to her enemies yet still incredibly vulnerable. For all that she is, she is still simply a young woman with body issues that has learned to trust no one. Lisbeth Salander is genius and not a character I will soon forget.
Nils Bjurman–The bad guy (blech!) The disgusting man who unfortunately exists in the real world. He was a sadistic man who not only raped a young woman but used his position of power against the vulnerable. It’s no doubt that Larsson uses Bjurman to paint (an ugly) picture of modern society. Bjurman contributes to the theme of violence against women caused by men. It’s important that Larsson (who is male) wrote this novel as I believe that it causes it to be heard as a more serious matter. Even though I hated Bjurman I have to admit he was a well written character and necessary to the novel (not just to move the story forward) but to show that these men exist; a fact that is not acknowledged enough. (I’m totally pulling a ‘Lisbeth’ if any man of that nature attempts the unspeakable with me).
Review of the Story:
The story was good, maybe not great, but good. I wasn’t able to predict the end which is appealing. Actually, the story reminded me a good deal of Agatha Cristie’s novel And Then There Were None. I liked that Larsson was not afraid of making the novel too long. He told the WHOLE story instead of rushing or just brushing on certain parts. This novel serves more than a purpose to entertain it also serves as a social commentary. I love it when I can read a great book and also learn something new. Larsson touches (not really touches so much as shoves it in your face) on abuse against women. He really examines society’s view on women-the ugly part. He gets very graphic but I always found the violence necessary to the story.
Review on the Writing:
This is where Larsson loses points. I was surprised that someone who was so adept at writing characters struggled in moving the story forward. While the novel was written well enough to entertain I would describe the writing style as cluttered. Larsson added unnecessary jargon to the point where I was struggling to get through chapters. (Salander got me through). We didn’t need to know every time Blomkvist wanted a sandwich or what particular brand of cigarettes he was smoking. What really bothered me was all the financial mumbo jumbo. Maybe its just me (probably) but I find that subject tedious and if the writer does not present it in a way that’s entertaining, I find it hard to read. If Larsson had edited his novel a bit (a lot) more the novel would have been much more entertaining.
I have to say that when I picked up this novel I had no idea what it was about. (I didn’t even know it was a mystery). I knew it was one of THE most talked about books so of course I knew I had to see what the hype was about. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did not disappoint. If anything I recommend this book based on the character Lisbeth Salander alone. There is no other character like her, that pierced, tattooed antisocial girl is utterly rare with a voice that is unforgettable. It was a smart move when I purchased this book and it will be a smart move for you too. Don’t miss the chance to discover this character, she will teach you much.
P.S.- I’ve started The Girl Who Played Who Played With Fire (and it’s GOOD)