Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stieg Larsson
Genre: Suspense
Format: Kindle
Series: 1st book in the Millennium series
Series Order:
  1. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2008)
  2. The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)
  3. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (2009)

First Line: "It happened every year, was almost a ritual."

Synopsis: Mikael Blomkvist is a reporter who was recently charged in a libel case. Needing to get away for awhile, he takes on an assignment in a remote Swedish town. He is hired by Swedish tycoon Henrik Vanger to look into the disappearance of his teenage niece, Harriet Vanger. Unfortunately Harriet vanished 40 years ago leaving few clues, no witnesses and no body. Her uncle Henrik is convinced that she was murdered by someone in their family and is obsessed with finding out the truth so he hires Blomkvist to investigate.

Blomkvist soon learns that he needs help in researching this very old case. Henrik Vanger hires Lisbeth Salander, a 24-year old tattooed genius hacker to help Blomkvist. What Lisbeth lacks in social skills and an upbeat personality she more than makes up for her gifted ability to hack and research. Blomkvist and Salander make a very unlikely team but together they delve into the truth behind dark Vanger family secrets and industrial corruption.

My Thoughts: This book was picked as part of a book club I'm involved in. Like most people, I've heard a lot of good things about this series. Unfortunately, somewhere in my cranium I got this series mixed up with The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins which, from my understanding, is a fantasy-based read so when I picked up this book I was a little confused at first.

It didn't take me long to get back on track. This book is set in modern day Sweden which I found very interesting since I've never read a book based in that part of the world before. I will say that if you're expecting to pick up this book and jump into the action you'll be very disappointed. There is a LOT of set-up and (in my opinion) too much detail in the first third of the book especially dealing with the corporate corruption that the author details ad nauseum.

My favourite part of the whole book was Lisbeth's character. She was raw and full of rage yet so brilliant. She is described as "an information junkie with a delinquent child's take on morals and ethics". She was such a unique character that I was hoping that she would have been more of the focus on the main storyline (especially since the book title kind of leads the reader to believe she's the focus of the story). Unfortunately, Blomkvist's character (who is the main character) is rather dull and one-dimensional. That being said, for a boring 50 year old guy he sure does get the girls. Huh.

There were some really interesting underlying themes in the book. I found it interesting to see the ethical struggle that Blomkvist went through as a journalist (what to print, what not to print) but what I enjoyed even more was seeing how life experiences and how people are raised mold us into the people we become. Sadly, the experiences that are focused on are extremely negative in nature but I found it interesting nonetheless.

If you're the kind of reader who isn't big on "Silence of the Lambs-esque" violence then you may want to take a pass at this book. I was warned by my librarian that there are a few parts in the book that are extremely violent towards women so at least I had a heads up but it was still very disturbing to me. I'm not sure I would have read the book if I knew just how graphic the violence was.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. The slow overly descriptive parts were off-set by good suspense and a decent mystery. I am most likely going to read the final two books in this series to read more about Lisbeth.

My Rating: 4/5 stars


Erin said...

This is on my "To Read" list, but I am on the second book of The Hunger Games series, so I will get to it eventually. I take it you haven't read them yet? Even though they are YA I loved the first book and I am hoping that the second will be just as good!
Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one, I look forward to starting it soon myself!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Erin - I read the synopsis of The Hunger Games awhile back but wasn't sure it was my 'cuppa tea'. I think I wasn't big on the whole 'fantasy' genre and the premise was very different to what I'm used to reading. But, that being said, I'm always open to new reads so it's stayed on my 'to read' list for quite awhile. :)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the book and can't wait to read the other books in the series. I have heard the other books are better than the first but the first was needed to understand the main character.

Aleisha said...

I love that you loved this series, because the second and third books in this series are wayyyyyyy better than the first. Infact, I skipped the first entirely and moved onto the second without missing a thing. And don't give up on the Hunger Games series, it is totally creepy and disturbing when you read the synopsis, but it is really well-written and very, very good. If you want another YA series to try, try Lisa McMann (Gone, Fade and Wake)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Anon -- I've heard the same thing (that the 2nd and 3rd books are even better) so I know I'll buy the ebooks in the near future to finish off the series. Lisbeth is such a cool and unique character that I need to see what Larsson does with her. I had heard that there may be a 4th book (written by another writer obviously since Larsson died a few years ago).

Aleisha -- With all the kudos for the Hunger Games I'll definitely pick it up soon. It was the creepy and disturbing factors in the write-up on the book that turned me off but the positive critiques intrigue me!

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