Tuesday, January 12, 2010

REVIEW: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. Published 2008 by Random House. Crime Fiction. Translation.

Okay, so I'm the last blogger to review The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, late Swedish crime writer Stieg Larsson's first entry in his soon-to-be-completed Millennium Trilogy. I still liked it- a lot.

The story centers on Mikael Blomkvist, a (formerly) respected journalist hired by a wealthy eccentric to track down his missing granddaughter, disappeared years ago. He enlists Lisbeth Salander, a troubled but talented hacker, to help get to the bottom of what seems be an unsolvable case. But Blomkvist has other problems- his reputation is in ruins after losing a painful and expensive libel suit to a ruthless industrialist. And Salander has baggage of her own as well.

Late to the party as I was with this sensation of a novel, I really, really enjoyed it. It's a crack literary thriller that starts of slow but builds to a wholly unexpected conclusion. It's also a love story of sorts, the kind more about how people mature and relate to each other with baggage in tow. I thought Larsson's handling of Salander's psychology in particular was astute and realistic; I loved the detail into which he delves concerning her background and what makes her who she is. For a novel that deals in no small way with graphic violence against women, Larsson seems to have really respected them.

As far as the violence, it's mostly off-stage except for a couple of scenes anyway- I would not have enjoyed this book nearly so much had it had much more. As it was I enjoyed it quite a bit, even the ending which I was warned would come across like a sucker punch. For me, it didn't; for me, it was the natural, realistic place for the characters to come to. It may not have been sweet, or romantic, or what we'd like for them, but it's what they would do. I'm glad Larsson let them be themselves. I can't wait to see what they get up to next.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.

29 comments:

Bonnie said...

I agree with your review. Salander was a favorite character for me and agree that it was well done and realistic. I am not one to read much with graphic violence but this was done so differently. If there was more, I agree it would not have worked for me. I think Larsson understood the violence issue against women and did a good job portraying this as in issue for women. Great Review!

Bonnie said...

I meant to say that Larsson did a good job realistically portraying Salanders psychological issues!

Trish Ryan said...

I haven't read this b/c I thought the violence would be too much, given the subject matter. But your review makes me want to be brave and try...

Jeanne said...

I'm not a fan of violence in fiction, but liked this story a lot. Maybe it's because the really disturbing parts aren't gratuitious or maybe I didn't imagine the scene completely enough!

Charley said...

I read another post on this about two minutes ago by Steph of Steph & Tony Investigate. For a minute I thought there was an error in my google reader when I saw the same title pop up again. I haven't read this one yet, but I probably will at some point.

Julie P. said...

Great review. I just read this one and thought it was excellent on so many levels!

Andi said...

You're not the last blogger! I'm sure I'll get around to it one day. :)

sanctimommy said...

Isn't this the last in the series, because Larsson died? Or is someone else going to continue them? I know that there were supposed to be 10 originally.

bookmagic said...

I'm glad you liked it! Sometimes it is hard to read a book after it has had so much hype
Are you going to read The Girl Who Played With Fire?

Marie said...

Bookmagic- definitely!

Sanctimommy- it's the first, and Larsson did die, but he completed the trilogy before his death.

Julie said...

This one has been on my radar for a while. Thanks for the review!

bermudaonion said...

Your not the last - that would be me. I'm really looking forward to reading this one, too.

anothercookiecrumbles said...

I finished this book, and almost immediately, headed out to purchase the second book in the trilogy. Once I finished that, I had to resist all the temptation in the world to buy the final book, which is still in hardback.

If you enjoyed this, you're almost definitely going to enjoy the next one - it's about Salander and focuses a lot on her past.

Library Cat said...

My book club is reading this for February - I had already heard a lot of hype for the book, but was glad to see that you gave it a good review. Since I prefer to read books fresh for my book club, I am glad that I had not picked it up each time I looked at the book calling me in the book store.
Thanks for the wonderful review.

MarceJ said...

Your not the last, I have it but haven't read it yet. Lent it to my brother he LOVED it and everyone says the next book is even better. I look forward to reading it, I'm thinking before summer, that is my goal.

Pam said...

I keep hearing about this book and have avoided it up to now. I'm considering it for the book club I run at the library where I work. Do you think it would be a good book club choice?

Serena said...

You are not the last to review this book because my copy I bought at the bookstore when it first came out is still sitting on the shelf to be read.

Marie said...

Pam- I think so. I think there's enough going on with the characters to make it good for conversation. People will have different reactions to the ending especially!

jewwishes said...

What a great review!!!

Alayne said...

Guess what! You are NOT the last blogger because I haven't read it either! I actually just posted a blurb about the third book which comes out in May and how that mean I have four months to read the first two. Nice review!
Alayne The Crowded Leaf.

Florinda said...

I was stopping by to tell you that you're NOT the last to read this, but based on a few of the other comments before mine, it's possible I won't be, either! (I bought the book last summer, but haven't gotten to it yet.)

Zibilee said...

I didn't like this one as much as you did, but I agree wholeheartedly on your opinions about Lisbeth Salander. She was the bright spot in the book for me. I am glad you enjoyed it and am wondering if you are planning on reading the sequels soon? I have been curious about them, but haven't read any reviews as of yet. I'd be interested in hearing your take on them.

Care said...

I enjoyed this book. What are we both going to read next? We seem to have many recent reads the same.

Marie said...

Care, I'm reading THE PASSAGE and a silly book I got to review by someone called Commander Pants. I'll keep you posted & you do the same! :-)

dolcebellezza said...

If you're the last blogger to read it, I'm the last blogger to like it. Really, I didn't. I think that puts me in a category of: "Bellezza? Party of one?" Perhaps I'd heard too much hype over it, but I was sorely disappointed...

Dar said...

Great review. I've really bounced back and forth on whether or not to read this trilogy. Maybe I should take another look at them.

Muse in the Fog said...

I have seen this book at Costco every time I go. Good to hear someones opinion of it, Thank :)

http://muse-in-the-fog.blogspot.com/

stacybuckeye said...

I gave this book as a gift and never got it back to read! I really need to get my hands on a copy!

Kathleen said...

Well now I guess I am the last book blogger to read and review this one! Thanks for the review. I've heard some mixed feelings on this one lately but your review gives me good food for thought!