Friday 11 March 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

Pages - 538

Book: Own copy

Published by MacLehose Press, an imprint of Quercus Books in 2008

It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day - which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call.

This book intertwines three very diverse characters from extremely different backgrounds and ties them tightly together until a forty year old crime is solved.

Henrik Vanger, is a tired old man, head of an international family run corporation, who just wants some peace of mind before death takes hold of him.

Michael Blomkvist has nearly lost everything after being taken to court for false information. Vanger hires him to solve a murder that a lot of people would prefer to keep hidden.

Lisbeth Salander, a streetwise delinquent with an autistic temperament, who is cold hearted, but very clever. An excellent computer hacker who will stop at nothing to find out the truth.

This was the book chosen for our Book Club and to be honest I was a little bit reluctant to read it at first.  I don't usually go within a half mile radius of a crime novel as they are normally far too real for my liking. I love paranormal and horror, because as far as I am concerned they are just pure fantasy. 

So with trepidation, I stepped tentatively into this book and found the prologue had me hooked. I realised I needed to have an answer to the big question that is presented in the first couple of pages. Unfortunately, the following two chapters nearly found  me deserting the book. I found that within those two chapters the translation of the book let it down a little. It was too information heavy for my liking, leaving me flailing in the wind. I didn't understand any of it. Everyone who had read the book, insisted that I continued the journey, which luckily proved the right decision.

SO, once I moved onto chapter three, I found myself being dragged, kicking and screaming through the story.  This is an incredible thriller. The story leads you down many different pathways and you begin to  feel like a child lost in a maze, tears on standby as you continually hit dead ends.

I have battled  with how to review this book, as I did enjoy it, but I struggled with aspects of it.

There are some scenes within the book that turned my stomach. I don't cope well with violent graphic sex scenes and I wish that I had been warned about them beforehand. I could see they were integral to the plot, due to the violent themes being explored.

I found the characters within the book rather a deranged bunch, all unable to commit to a normal loving relationship. I could not warm to them at all, but I believe they were created that way for a reason. Larsson did not want you to feel any emotional attachment to his characters.

The book consists of two different plot lines, one of which I loved one, the other surplus to requirements. The main thrilling story seems to be bookended by the rather tedious one.  Once the main crime had been solved by the end, I would have been happy to finish the book, being content that my curiosity had been rewarded. However, I still had to plod through the other story and unfortunately I lost interest in it.  Sorry! Perhaps if the opening story had been intertwined a little more throughout the book and solved at the same time as the crime, it might not have bothered me as much.

I know that many people out there have adored this book and it is an extremely good thriller, but personally I only loved the main crime story with in the book. However, I would definitely recommend reading this book and I do hope to continue with the series.   There are lots of extremely good reviews of this book on Amazon, so please do go and have a look. If you love crime thrillers, with a hint of Dan Brown, then this series is definitely for you.


  1. This has been on my meaning to read pile for FOREVER! I love crime suspense/thrillers so I'm sure I'll love this one but I do appreciate the heads up about certain elements. Great review Viv!

  2. Wow, great review! I'm still not sure it's a series I'll read but I know it's a huge hit. I'm such a wimp.

  3. i have heard so much about these books. have to read them!

  4. I have this whole series to read one of these days. I did watch the movie of this one so I already know about those scenes.

  5. I finished this book yesterday and I'm currently reading the second one from this series. And I can say this is the best book that I've read in years!
    I can't wait to watch the movies.

  6. Teddyree - I would like to read the whole series. I have been told the second book is the best of the three.

    Mary - if you don't like sexual violence then I would avoid it.

    Priya - thanks for stopping by. YOu will enjoy it.

    Dar - I want to read the rest too.

    Evie - you move fast. LOL. I have heard the second one is the best.

  7. Vivienne, I'm glad you enjoyed this popular book. I've read it, and also plan on reading the others in the series at some point. Very nice review!

  8. I've been humming and hawing about reading this book, it's sitting on a bookshelf waiting for me, but... it can wait for now.

  9. I don't know why I haven't gotten around to this! It sounds so good!

  10. You would have to drag me kicking and screaming to read this not my genre ;)

  11. Viv...I own all 3 of this series, but have not read ANY. So many talk about it being disturbing that I need to make sure I am in the right frame of mind. I must also warn my husband that nightmares may result...LOL

    nice review

  12. I've been wanting to get into this series myself. It sounds really good even though the first two chapters were a bit confusing.
    Great review!

  13. I've got a sample downloaded on my ipad, but I'm such a wimp.... not sure I'll ever actually read it.

  14. I've only read this one of the series (but have the other two on my shelf. I think the original title 'Men Who Hate Women' really better sums up the book. I loved Lisbeth as a character which is what really kept me reading, but my translation was also a little bit meh - lots of cliche and a bit flat. I will read the other two one day, but with so many other books I want to read more I'm not sure when I'll get there!

  15. I can understand how if this type of novel isn't your usual fare, you'd have a hard time connecting with most of the characters. I don't think Larsson created them specifically so that you wouldn't feel any emotional attachment to them, though. I think they are just very different types of people -- with very different goals, morals and ideas about relationships -- than some of us may be used to. I actually found myself really drawn to Lisabeth and Michael, and evening liking Erica. I agree that they're not your typical bunch, but I don't think they're quite deranged...

    Despite my different reactions to the characters, I really like your review. I think it's great how you were honest about what you didn't like in the book... and I don't blame you for disliking the graphic scenes.

    I wish I had been actively blogging when I read this book, because I wish I had written a review of it closer to the time that I read it. I may have to go back and re-read... :-)

  16. I've been wondering whether to give this book a go or not. Every reader in the world seems to have read and loved it so it seems clear that I should follow suit and see what all the hype's about. I'm not really a big lover of crime though. I'm still kind of on the fence.

    I really did like your review of this though so thanks for doing that. :D

  17. I've been meaning to read this forever but I think the sheer thickness of it is making me procrastinate. I do want to get to it soon. :)


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