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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 16, 2008
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- Publisher : Knopf (September 16, 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307269752
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307269751
- Item Weight : 1.65 pounds
- Dimensions : 9.55 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #69,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The two main protagonists are Mikael Blomkvist, a 42-year-old reporter whose professional reputation has imploded, and Lisbeth Salander, a 24-year-old who’s an understandably troubled gifted computer hacker. The author describes Salander as “an information junkie with a delinquent child’s take on morals and ethics.” She is the most interesting eccentric character in the novel, but the mystery also has a handful of other compelling people. The stories about Blomkvist and Salander move along on independent lines until they meet a little more than half way through the book. Part of what kept me interested was curiosity in how these two unalike people would eventually get together. The mystery revolves around the disappearance of a 17-year-old female named Harriet Vanger which happen nearly forty-years ago. The novel has some unsettling scenes, especially involving sexual assault. Speaking as an American with New England sensibilities, I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or unique to this Swedish storyline but the characters in the book have a very casual attitude about hooking up with sexual partners. Outside of the sexual assaults the hook-ups are not graphic in detail. There is a healthy dose of profanity in the book. The book also includes two maps and a Vanger family-tree breakdown which were very helpful.
At no point did I become bored with ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ There is also another plot line that is set aside until the conclusion of the mystery. I especially liked how Mr. Larsson includes the difficulties of having to make moral compromises and living with the consequences. It was an engaging mystery with a handful of disturbing scenes. If you find any of the deranged episodes a turn-on, maybe you should look into having a lobotomy. The novel ties up the two main storylines but leaves the social dynamics between Blomkvist and Salander somewhat up in the air in an effort to get the reader to read the next installment ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire.’ I sure will.
The young female lead is a loner, who is mad at the world and has a general distrust of men. She is a psychologically damaged person and although it’s never delved into, she may have some form of autism. Her talents as a computer hacker and private investigator so immense that she does not seem like a person operating in real life. Her character would be more appropriate in a story set in a superhero universe.
A large portion of the Larrson’s book is about the crooked dealings a Swedish financier. These passages come off as flat because he is never a fully developed as a character. He is more of a bogey man.
The main story is about the investigation of the whereabouts of a girl from a wealthy family, who mysteriously disappeared in the 1960s. The plot meanders because it’s bogged down with way too many potential suspects who are mostly from her old-money family. The resolution of this story feels like it should be the ending of the book. However, there are multiple chapters that follow that seem more like an epilogue and are a chore to get through.
I also find that there is too many characters, in my opinion a lot of unnecessary characters, and their names are so complicated and very much alike That is difficult to follow up, I understand it is a Swedish book but Simplicity is very valuable. I wish both Lisbeth and Blomkvist worked more closely together as it is they barely communicate and is mostly from a few computer frases.
As they are the books are very complicated, a little boring and so much is unnecessary.
Top reviews from other countries
If you want to watch the films, the original Swedish films are the best, a film of each of the three books. The Hollywood travesty with Daniel Craig isn't worth the effort.
Although there is sadness in the passing of Stieg Larsson, the three books that he wrote in the 'Millenium Series' manage to 'break the mould' when it comes to massively improving the thriller genre. Just about every word in this first novel is masterful and even the dialogue has to be admired.
Lisbeth Salander and Mikale Blomkvist are the two strongest characters that manage to take the novel up to dizzying heights. Apart from them, the various characters throughout the book are expertly thought out and it is little wonder why this genus piece of writing managed to become such a success.
Although concentration is required for the first chapter, the rest of the story is beautifully written and although shocking in parts, it's a book that makes it's points very well and extremely carefully. Salander stops the book becoming trash as her strength holds the believability of the work together. Highly recommended.
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I had to start this book twice before I finally managed to read it through. The pace for the first half of the book is very, very slow. This combined with an unusually "choppy" writing style, which I assume may be down to translation can make breaking the barrier on this book quite challenging, so much so that you will no doubt be tempted to give it up and be left wondering what all the hype was about but this would be a mistake in my opinion.
Once the book "got going" it engaged me fully, I found myself wanting to read on and on. Perhaps the most striking difference between this novel and those I usually read is the unpredictability of the characters. Stieg Larsson manages to create characters which SHOULD be dislikeable e.g. Michael is a man who sleeps around and believes any woman, married or not is fair game and Lisbeth is an anti-social misfit with no little emotional intelligence, but nonetheless you do like them and you want to read on to see what happens with each of them next.
The background of the book being set in Sweden adds an unusual backdrop to the novel, and whereas I've historically found anything set outside of the US or UK difficult to get involved in, this wasn't the case here - probably due to the very descriptive nature of Larsson's writing, which I admit at times can be a little TOO much but ultimately I as grateful for as it allowed me to get a much better "feel" for the surroundings of the characters and made the read on the whole, much richer.
The story itself is about a disgraced journalist (Michael Blomkvist) who winds up conducting an investigation into a cold case missing person investigation for a wealthy, old media tycoon. During his investigation he crosses paths with Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator who has been declared mentally incompetent by the state but is infact a computer genius with very little social savvy. When the two characters finally meet and team up to solve the mystery, the real "chemistry" happens and you'll stop wondering what the hype was about and start wondering when you should download/buy the second book.
In short, this is one of the best novels and certainly one of the most unique (along with the next two books) I've read in several years. Don't be put off by the unusual writing style or the slow start as if this turns out to be a novel you love or hate, you'll at least be able to say you've read one of the most popular "cult" authors of this century as Larsson has undeniably become.