The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Series: Millennium #1
Author: Stieg Larsson
Translated by: Reg Keeland
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday (Random House)
Pub. Date: September 16, 2008

I've owned this series for a while but just recently got around to reading this book. I was nervous. It's had such acclaim. My mom and husband both read this and enjoyed the series. But then I also remember reviews saying it was a slow moving book and that the first 100 pages were unnecessary. But after finally reading this for myself, I am a huge fan!! I will say that for about the first 30 pages I wondered where it was going. But I stuck to it and was hugely satisfied by the end.

For the few of you who have yet to read this book, it starts off with Mikael Blomkvist, investigative journalist and partial owner of the magazine, Millennium, being convicted of libel against a big time corporate worker. Sort of as a result of this he then becomes involved with the Vanger family, the very wealthy owners of another large corporation. Henrik Vanger hires him to write his biography and, in the meantime, to investigate the disappearance of his niece, Harriet Vanger, in the 1960's. It's a tough job to take on considering it was years ago and was very thoroughly investigated at the time. But as Blomkvist starts to find out more about her disappearance, he unveils some horrific secrets. Then there's Lisbeth Salander, a strange girl who happens to be an incredible private investigator or, rather, hacker, who ends up getting involved in the Vanger situation as well.

It's hard to explain why I liked this so much. I do enjoy the genre, but this one is just very well written and is more literary in nature. Plus, I guess I really enjoy Lisbeth's character. She's sort of unpredictable. And even though she has an extremely rough exterior, it seems like more of a shell and she is a hurt and vulnerable person on the inside. I'm totally interested in learning more about her. Even though she's sort of weird and rough on the outside, I feel like I can relate to her. The mystery and everything that goes with that is really intense and the family secrets are crazy. And this wasn't one of those mystery/thriller books where I'm able to figure anything out ahead of time. I thought the author did a great job of peeling back each layer of the story piece by piece. There also was an undertone to it about women's rights and violence against women. (In Sweden it was originally titled something like "Men who Hate Women"... something along those lines). And since I consider myself sort of a very minor feminist or at least am passionate about women's rights, this was an interesting aspect for me. I hear this theme continues through the rest of the series and that we learn more about why it is.

I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, and if it weren't for the fact that I have a specific reason for reading what I'm reading now, I would go straight into picking up the next book! The thing that motivated me to finally read this was that the American version of the movie is out in theaters as of this week. My plan was actually to finish this earlier so we could watch the Swedish version and then go to the theater to see the new one. I look forward to the movie (though I have a small fear that they will incorporate parts of the sequel in the movie... ). We shall see and I'll report on how it is once I see it!


Amy said...

We saw the Swedish version of all three books - they ran as a 6 part television series here last year, and they were wonderfully done, but rather violent and explicit - we sent our teenage kids up to bed on the nights it was on!

I ended up not reading the last two books in the series because I had already seen the film by then and knew what happened - big mistake!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have one word to say to you...AUDIO. The most delightful Simon Vance narrates, and is helpful to get you through the dry patches, which are in each book. I just saw the US version of this at the movies Tuesday (see today's review) but I do prefer the Swedish versions. You must rent!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Your remarks are interesting because I too had trouble explaining why I liked this book so much! (and I also had trouble with the beginning) And yet when I was done, I couldn't wait to go to the next one!

Melissa said...

I'm with Sandy! This is a GREAT audio. If I hadn't listened to the books, I'm not sure I would have stuck with them. The narrator kept me listening even when the book got a little slow and wordy.

Jenners said...

If Lisbeth intrigues you, then the next books will be very satisfying!

Zibilee said...

I read this book with my husband, aloud to each other, and we loved it. Then I saw the Swedish movie versions of the second and third installments with Sandy. They are incredible movies, and I second her comment that you need to rent them. I need to read the second and third book, because as I understand it, there are some parts that are more fleshed out in the books. Such a great review today, and I can't wait to hear what you think of the movies!

Merry Christmas to you, Jenny! I hope that you have a wonderful day filled with good times with friends and family!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I was resistant about reading this due to all the buzz...generally I'm disappointed by hyped books.

And it did take me about 100 pages to get into it, but then I did love it—and Lisbeth Salander. She actually made the book for me.

I have the second one waiting...and I'm looking forward to the movie, too.

Thanks for your review.

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