Google+ Reading Teen: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson ~ Reviewed by Amy

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson ~ Reviewed by Amy


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,  (original title in Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor – "Men Who Hate Women") is an award-winning crime novel by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, the first in his "Millennium Trilogy.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo A middle-aged journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, publishes the magazine Millennium in Stockholm. In the opening courtroom drama, Blomkvist loses a libel case brought by accused Swedish industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström, and this has serious repercussions for the future of Millennium. In disgrace, Blomkvist agrees to be hired by Henrik Vanger, the aged former CEO of the Vanger companies, owned by a wealthy but dysfunctional dynasty. The old man offers not only to help his financially strapped magazine, but also to give him information to prove that Wennerström is corrupt. Officially, he is to spend a year writing the Vanger family history.

Blomkvist's real mission, however, is to solve a cold case—the disappearance, some forty years previously, of Vanger's niece Harriet when she was sixteen. Blomkvist encounters "the old Miss Marple closed-room scenario" with all the rich suspects marooned on the family estate on an island, "a village we grow familiar with, full of hostile locals peering out from behind their curtains". The Sydney Morning Herald

Blomkvist reads crime novelists Sue Grafton, Val McDermid and Elizabeth George and enjoys amateur sleuthing and investigative journalism, all of which assists him with Henrik Vanger's investigation. The locked-room scenario applies since the island on that fateful day was sealed off from the mainland due to a road-tanker crash on the only bridge. Henrik Vanger believes that Harriet (his brother's granddaughter) was murdered by one of his family members on the island. In addition, Harriet had given Henrik a present of pressed flowers every year since she was eight years old. On Henrik's birthday the year after Harriet's vanishing, he again received a present of pressed flowers, and he continued to receive such flowers, sent from various parts of the world, which he believes to be sent by the killer.

Blomkvist comes to feel that he can discover nothing new. But the title character of the story now appears—Lisbeth Salander, an asocial punk who has been victimized and/or misunderstood by authorities throughout her life, but who also happens to be a brilliant computer hacker. By chance, she meets Blomkvist and the unlikely couple form a classic detective pair. When Blomkvist teams up with Salander, their delving into family secrets sheds a disturbing and shocking light on the four-decade-long puzzle. Times Online

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multi pierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable super hacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy. 100,000 first printing.

This was a very long book, a 590 page book (paperback), very small font. I really did not get into the book until about the fourth chapter. The corruption and money laundering of the Wennerstrom Group, the libel lawsuite at the beginning was rather boring to read about. A lot of stock market talk... so not up my alley. But, I really wanted to give this book a chance. I promised my good friend, Summer that I would read it and do a review.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ended up being a total masterpiece. When I reached the final page I was disappointed that there was no more to read. I did not want the story to end. The book is a thriller on many levels: The story about the Vanger family itself, the journalist's crusade to redeem his reputation, Lisabeth's vendettas and development, and of course, the truth about what actually happened to the missing Vanger heiresss.

The best part was that, after the major revelations, I still couldn't put the book down until the very end, which did not come for a while. The loose ends were woven back into the braid and I did not feel at all like the writer abandoned me or any of the characters. I closed the book thinking about how they all would go on living, engaged with each other in their eccentric, quirky way.

I'm definitely on board for the final two installments of the trilogy. It's downright heartbreaking that Larsson passed away before he could enjoy the international success of these books, and sad too that we won't be able to read more stories from him after the third is released. I heard he planned to write a series of 10... that would have been something.

This is a must read for a murder mystery - dark crime - suspense driven - physcho thrilling enthusiast.

~ Amy ( Aaronswoman )

A word to the parents: *There are many graphic and disturbing rape scenes. Very descriptive. Many other unmentionables. For more information see the full review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. Great review....LOVED this book...did take a few chapters to get into it as well. Can't wait to read the next 2.

    Visiting from SITS

  2. A friend just recommended this book to me, thanks for the review! I can't wait to read it!

    (Visiting from SITS)

  3. Oh I love book reviews so glad I found your site!Stopping by from SITS today! Oh yeah and I'm doing a give-away so head to my blog to leave a comment to win!

  4. Loved this book (and the 2nd) as well. I tell everyone to keep reading if it seems hard to get into. Glad you did.

  5. Thank you girls for your comment. This was a difficult read for me. It's funny, I've only read YA books, so reading this book was kinda like growing up and seeing the real world for what it really is... how nasty and cruel it can really be.
    I loved the book. I will start the sequel soon. Although, I heard it wasn't quite as good. I'm willing to read it to find out.

  6. This tattoo looks similar to one I was going to get a long time ago, but thought better of it. I'm glad I changed my mind. I wonder how many girls will end up getting it thanks to the popularity of this series.

    Good review.

  7. This book scares me because I've promised myself that I will complete every book I start - which means stocking my TBR pile with some safe bets and only a few unknowns. This book comes so highly recommended, I added it to the list - with hesitation. If I don't like it, that's a whole lot of reading to wade through. I appreciate the heads up on the first four chapters. I'll suck up my reservations and read it next.

  8. @PeachyTo Well, I have a tattoo with roses that circle my ankle with " Aaronswoman " intertwined with the vines.... I might as well put a tattoo of a dragon on my shoulder blade with my kids names looking like flames shooting out of it's mouth. That's how I feel when I yell at them.

    @Dawn I do not think you will regret your decision about reading this book. Once you get past the beginning, the story really comes alive. There is some content that is a little hard to stomach. Please comment back and tell me what you thought about it.

  9. Great review. I hadn't heard of this before. Now I want to read it :)

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