Friday, January 28, 2011

Jenn's Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon TattooSummary: Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of Vanger’s great-niece Harriet. Henrik suspects that someone in his family, the powerful Vanger clan, murdered Harriet over forty years ago.

 Starting his investigation, Mikael realizes that Harriet’s disappearance is not a single event, but rather linked to series of gruesome murders in the past. He now crosses paths with Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, an asocial punk and most importantly, a young woman driven by her vindictiveness.

Together they form an unlikely couple as they dive deeper into the violent past of the secretive Vanger family.

Review: Many of reviewers will tell you, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a slow start. To be honest, it's downright sluggish. The translation is cumbersome in the beginning, full of names, places, and plot exposition for three seemingly unrelated stories -- in the beginning. Then, just when it seems impossible to continue, the three stories begin to weave together into an intricate and engrossing tale.

Blomkvist is a bit of a paradox to me. He has high journalism ethics, which he touts to anyone and everyone, but low morals. He's not an unlikeable character, but he's certainly flawed. Lisbeth, on the other hand is fascinating, though we only get a peek into her life because this is, after all, Blomkvist's story.

There is a decent amount of violence and abuse, something I often have trouble reading about, but Larsson approaches it in a clinical, detached manner that doesn't minimize it, but makes it bearable to read.  I'll have to see how it translates to screen (I may have to cover my eyes for some of it).

All three story lines had intriguing resolutions although, one was slightly more spectacular than the others.  However, Larsson doesn't try to resolve all the story lines at once, letting them unfold as they might naturally. As a matter of fact, I had to remind myself on several occasions that this is a work of fiction not a factual account of real happenings. Although I was pretty sure I solved the mystery of Harriet early on, Larsson made me doubt myself, and in the end I was only partially right.

The ending was a bit open as far as the personal stories go, but it segues nicely into The Girl Who Played with Fire, which is Lisabeth's story.  I can't wait to know more about her. (As you can imagine, that just floated it's way to the top of my To Be Read pile.)  If you've tried this and put it down, I urge you to give it another chance.  I thought it was superb.

Final Take:  4.5/5

Julie's Review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Lisa's Review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Part of Jenn's 2011 TBR Challenge



Alice January 28, 2011 at 9:19 AM  

I loved this book. I have read The Girl Who Played With Fire too. Lisbeth has to be my absolute favorite female character of all time. She is so awesome. I loved how Mr. Larsson barely scratches the surface with her in Tattoo. We really get to know her in Fire. I'm waiting on Hornest's Nest until the paperback release. It's a pretty impatient wait though. I'm looking forward to how she blows my mind in the last one.

I saw the Swedish version of Dragon Tattoo. I loved it. It was pretty much true to the book and worth watching. I still have to watch Fire and I know Hornest's nest was just released on DVD. I'll wait on that one until I read the book.

Julie January 28, 2011 at 10:36 AM  

I still have to read The Girl Who Played with Fire. I did kick it up on my TBR pile.

So glad you liked it!

iubookgirl January 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM  

I totally agree with you. Just as I was about to abandon it, Larsson really kicked it up a notch. I immediately had to read the entire trilogy.

Jenn January 31, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

I have the first 2 in paperback, but broke down and bought all 3 of them as e-books too because they were on sale.

I will definitely be reading Girl Who Played with Fire soon!

Roof Beam Reader June 7, 2011 at 12:08 PM  

I recently received the hardcover box set of this series as a giveaway prize and I really, really need to read these! There's so much talk about the series and about the author - plus the movies, of course. Your review definitely wants me to get to these soon.. at least the first book!

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