Crazyjamie's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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's review
Nov 10, 2010

really liked it
Read in November, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the first in the Millenium Trilogy) is another one of those books that I read because I felt like I should. It's effectively a crime novel, albeit with some quirky characters, and as such not really my usual genre.

The book centres around two main characters; Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced journalist who has just been found guilty of libel at the start of the book, and Lisbeth Salander, a brilliantly intelligent but antisocial girl in her twenties who makes her living as a hacker and investigator. Blomkvist is given an assignment by Henrik Vagner, an old man who is a prominent member of the Vagner family, to investigate the disappearance of his niece in 1966. The Vagner family is vast, and as such there are around 40 suspects in the disappearance. Salander, meanwhile, is initially asked to report on Blomkvist, but after that assignment ends she unwittingly becomes involved in Blomkvist's investigations.

The first point to make is that the initial stages of the book move quite slowly as the various suspects are introduced. It is nearly impossible to track all of the suspects at this stage, but fortunately Larsson makes no demands on the reader to remember this information. In these first couple of hundred pages it is certainly true to say that Salander's story arc is much more interesting than Blomkvist's, but equally the narrative, though slow, is never dull, and continues to be eminently readable throughout the book.

Larsson is not afraid to shock the reader in this book, to the point where he brings in a side plot involving Salander for more or less exactly that purpose, though there is some character development there as well. This does little to hide the fact that the book does take a little while to get going, and indeed once Salander and Blomkvist join forces the book picks up considerably, and is essential reading from that point one.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is certainly a book to be recommended. Lisbeth Salander is an excellent main character, and the plot as a whole is deep and interesting. The only downside (and the reason for the four stars) is that the book does take a while to get going, to the point where the plot doesn't reveal itself as one that flows naturally. The ending makes up for this, but nonetheless the book falls just short of classic material.


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