Sunday, June 20, 2010

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Review

In one word, this book was "chilling". I haven't experienced a book like this in...... a while. I was emotionally, mentally and (at some points) physically involved with this book.

Allow me to explain...

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a series of stories, secrets and psychological insights into an entire world that -- unfortunately -- can be real.

The paperback version is 590 pages of intense dialogue, history and dramatic events. There wasn't one point in the book when I was relaxed while reading. Ninety percent of the time I was biting my nails and breathing heavily.

The Plot:

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Swden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of inquity and corruption.


Stieg Larsson does an incredible job throwing (and I mean to use that word) the reader into a side of Sweden that I don't think anyone knew about. What makes it intense and "chilling" is that there appears to be truth behind the twisted side the reader learns about.

For example, the reader is guided through the book with a series of eerie quotes:

Thirteen percent of women in Sweden have been subjected to aggravated sexual assault outside of a sexual relationship.

At first the reader isn't sure why a story about a journalist involves random quotes referring to sexually assaulted women; but that is exactly what makes the book continuously entertaining.

The first ten chapters almost have nothing to do with each other. The first couple of characters the reader meets don't even know one another. It is only as the most random (but brilliant) point in the book when the reader realizes how all the characters are connected.

Furthermore, each character's story and importance in the book is original: It's a thriller, so naturally the reader is trying to guess who the bad guys and good guys are but you can never guess right. Each page is a fork in the road and throws you off the path you thought you had figured out.


You have never met characters like Mikael Blomkvist or Lisabeth Slander in a novel before. I can almost guarantee it. However, you have probably met people like them in real life, which adds to the realism the book possess.

Mikael is a journalist gone wrong, or is at least is mixed up in a libel suit. In the journalism world, that is very bad. As a result, Mikael's desperation to start over leads him down a path he wouldn't normally have traveled. You can't help but sympathize with him and the reader almost instantly respects him.

Lisabeth is a different story. She dresses like a Goth, has the mind of a genius and a sex life you would envy. As a reader, you think you can figure her out, but once again, you would be wrong. But that is why the reader likes her and isn't turned off.

These two characters will captivate you. The reader admires their individual personalities and respects their extreme differences. What I liked the most about them, is their ability to coexist. A twisted fate brings them together and instead of trying to fight it, they both embrace it.

Story Organization

What I love most about the story is the organization. I can't even begin to express how confused I was in the beginning; you have the most random people, puzzling histories and random bits of information thrown at you. It's only 100 pages into the book when you can begin to realize how they might fit together.

But like I said, you'll always be wrong in your assumptions. But that is what makes it entertaining. You're less frustrated by the fact that you're wrong and more impressed with what Larsson actually provides.

I can honestly say there is not a page, sentence or word that was too detailed or unnecessary. Everything means something. The reader won't know why at first, but will find out further into the book.

Most importantly, everything comes together and everything comes full circle; BUT not everything is resolved because this book is part one of a trilogy

I was emotionally involved in the book because I grew attached to the characters. I was mentally enthralled because the storyline kept me guessing. And I was physically engaged because when I put the book down, it would take a good five minutes to relax and return to reality.

This book deserves a full five stars. It was creative, original, suspenseful and realistic. I can't wait to see what the next book will produce...

Check out the rest of my summer reading list:

My Summer Reading List

Get to Know the Bad Vamps in Meyer's New Book 


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