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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)
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March 2019: Debut > [Trim] The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - 3 stars

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message 1: by Joy D (last edited Mar 05, 2019 10:49AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy D | 634 comments The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - 3 stars

PBT comments: This book was the author's debut and also published posthumously. The author seemed to be commenting on violence against women, but the narrative of the book did not quite make the point unless I missed it along the way.

Dual plotline mystery-thriller set in Sweden in 2002. The first plotline revolves around Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist with a specialty in exposing financial fraud, who has been convicted in the wake of a libel suit. He needs to keep a low profile while his magazine recovers from the blow. The second major plotline relates to the hiring of Blomkvist by Henrik Vanger, an octogenarian executive of a family-owned Swedish corporation, to investigate the disappearance and suspected murder of his great niece, Harriet, in 1966 under mysterious circumstances. A substantial sub-plot concerns Lisbeth Salander, an intelligent emotionally-damaged 25-year-old computer hacker, who conducts private investigations for an electronic security company. This unlikely pair teams up to solve both the financial and murder mysteries.

Once the groundwork is laid, this novel becomes a plot-driven page-turner. It is filled with the requisite darkness typical of many thrillers such as sadism, grisly descriptions of murder victims, psychopathic behavior, rape, and assault. I found it an interesting mix of unusual suspects, family secrets, financial corruption, magazine operations, and computer technology. I thought the middle portion was most intriguing, as Blomkvist and Salander dig into the past and assemble the puzzle pieces. The characters could have benefitted from a bit more depth, particularly regarding their inner thoughts and motivations. The “whodunnit” was more convincing than the “whydunnit.” The author diverts attention from the main story on several occasions, taking the reader down a few blind alleys that, in my opinion, were not required and made this book unnecessarily lengthy.

I like to read books that have become sensations, usually many years after their publication. I can see the attraction of the eccentric and damaged computer geek (she of the dragon tattoo) in an “odd couple” pairing with the sexually promiscuous but generally well-intentioned journalist. I am not particularly keen on thrillers, so I probably wasn’t the best audience, but I think fans of the genre will appreciate it.

Link to My GR Review


Joanne (Joabroda1) | 2520 comments I remember all the hype when this book first came out, so I finally read it and just did not get why. I never read any of the others that followed. I gave it 4 stars, but now I cannot remember why-probably because like you once I hit the middle I was intrigued, and remember liking that Lisbeth was such a different kind of character.


message 3: by Joi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joi (MissJoious) | 2307 comments I read this for a past PBT challenge and enjoyed it- but have never felt compelled to continue the series.


message 4: by Meli (new) - added it

Meli (melihooker) | 831 comments I really want to read this and had a paperback copy on my shelves for years, but never got around to it, so I got rid of it.


NancyJ (NancyJJJ) | 1195 comments I was a huge fan of this series. I loved the political complexities that evolved over the course of the three books, and the social commentary about Swedish culture. Lizbeth was a very unique character at the time, and inspired some copycats (usually minor characters) in films and TV later on. The character development took time as their stories unfolded, and Lizbeth became even more fascinating as we learned more about her early life in each book.


annapi | 2773 comments I held off on reading it for the longest time because of the hype. I don't even remember why I finally did pick it up, but once I got past the slow start with all the finance that was a bit over my head, I just tore through it and absolutely loved it - I thought it was brilliant. Yes, it's raw and dark, but none of the violence was gratuitous and IMO it was crucial to the storyline. And the sequels did not disappoint me.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I really enjoyed this book! It took me a little while to get into and I almost quit it. I was so glad I didn't. I want to read the next one. I had put off reading it because I had been told the rape scene was violent and I hate that. But it was not what I thought it would be. Someone later told me the move was far more graphic. This is the only reason I put off reading it for so long. But was glad I finally picked it up. Good review.


message 8: by KateNZ (new) - added it

KateNZ | 1712 comments I demolished this one too - I thought it was really powerful though disturbing. And Lisbeth is such a compelling and complex character. You can see why its original title was ‘men who hate women’.

The others in the trilogy are good too but not as tautly written and I found I had to suspend my disbelief more. (I haven’t tried their successors yet). Both versions of the movie were quite well done (though nowhere near as good as the book) but I prefer the Swedish one.


annapi | 2773 comments The books written by Lagercrantz have all been disappointing. I don't think he is able to capture the character of Lisbeth as Larsson conceived it. They are entertaining enough to be tolerable reads, but they can't help but suffer from comparison. I wish they had found a better writer to continue the series.


NancyJ (NancyJJJ) | 1195 comments KateNZ wrote: "I demolished this one too - I thought it was really powerful though disturbing. And Lisbeth is such a compelling and complex character. You can see why its original title was ‘men who hate women’. ..."

I agree. I liked the Swedish movie better. I remember feeling the same way about the editing. I thought the third book might have been very different if the author had time to do another revision.


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