Jennifer Estep's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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's review
Jan 02, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery
Read in December, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is the first book in his Millennium mystery/thriller trilogy.

Swedish financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist finds his career in tatters after he's sued for and convicted of libel. But things seem to take a turn for the better when he's asked by a powerful businessman to investigate the decades-old disappearance of the man's niece. Meanwhile, computer expert and hacker Lisbeth Salander is asked to look into Blomkvist. Neither Mikael or Lisbeth realize that their paths will soon cross and put them on the trail of a ruthless killer ...

So I finally read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. I can see what all the buzz is about around the series.

In some ways, this is a sort of locked-room mystery (which I believe Larsson mentions at one point). How did a girl vanish without a trace off an island? What happened to her and presumably her body? Who's responsible? Why did this tragedy happen? But it's also about a lot more than that. Business, politics, journalism, revenge, violence. There's a lot going on in the book, but Larsson seamlessly ties all of the plot threads and characters together.

I really, really liked Lisbeth. A lot of bad things to happen to Lisbeth in this book (and it's hinted that other bad things have happened to her in the past), but she always keeps fighting, no matter how horrible the situation is, and she's always thinking about analysis of the consequences. It's sort of the guiding principle in her life, and she uses it to great affect on the people who wrong her.

I didn't like Mikael nearly as much. He came off as egotistical to me, especially when talking about how the role of a journalist is to be a watchdog and hold people (in this case big businesses) accountable for their actions. Maybe it's because I've worked in journalism, but I got a little tired of him talking about how noble the profession is (or is supposed to be).

I thought the mystery was well-done, and the villain was truly chilling. You have all these lives and secrets that are intertwined, but it all comes together in the end.

However, there were a few things that didn't quite gel for me. I think Larsson spent a little too much time talking about and describing things that weren't necessarily important, like some of the scenery, and I didn't quite buy that Lisbeth would come to like Mikael so quickly given how she keeps everyone at arm's length. Also, there's a character who seems important but just sort of disappears in the second half of the book.

Overall, this is an engaging read that I found myself thinking about after I'd finished the book. If you're looking for a dark mystery or thriller, check this one out.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Parisa (new)

Parisa hihi, proud to be swedish ;-)

Jenn Shanks Pray I listened to this whole series on unabridged audio driving to and from work - absolutely adored it. It was so intense, well written and wholly captivating. It is graphic and violent but appropriate in the context of the story line. The swedish film versions were amazing - have no idea why we are remaking it in American version because the swedish one is dubbed in English and so close to the book it's freaky! :)

Jennifer Estep It was definitely an interesting book.

Jenn Shanks Pray Read the whole trilogy!

Jennifer Estep I may someday. Too many books, too little time ...

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