The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy about two years ago before I started this blog. I didn’t particularly enjoy the first book but I had already acquired the next two books in the trilogy. Due to my ‘terrible’ habit of having to finish what I start I had to read them too. Seriously, why do I do this to myself? Anyway, now that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie is coming out I have decided to share this review I wrote two years ago. Enjoy (or not!)!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (or Män som hatar kvinnor in Swedish) is the posthumous best-seller by Stieg Larsson. It is the first book in his Millennium Trilogy.

The central mystery is essentially very unsettling and brutal. Also, the sexual assault and torture scenes are graphic and made me nauseous. I agree that some of it is an integral part of the story and just had to be described but some rather explicit sexual violence which are not a part of the main mystery could have been left out.

I didn’t really feel interested in all the rather lengthy discussion on investment, fraudulence; etc at the beginning of the book. I mostly skimmed through Wennerström and Minos and all that.

Then there are the descriptions of various gadgets Blomkvist and Salander use, the foods they eat and what they drink! To say that these are extensive would be an understatement.

I didn’t really care for the relationship between Blomkvist and Berger or between him and Salander. The relationship between Blomkvist and Cecilia serves no other purpose than to describe some rather lame sex scenes. Blomkvist seems to sleep around with every woman present in the story!

The last 100 or so pages were entertaining. That is the part of the book that I enjoyed.

I rather enjoyed the thriller-like parts of the book but all the boring financial talk, a whole lot of unnecessary sex and especially a graphic  sexual assault kind of put me off. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is violent and lame at the same time. Odd combination in my opinion. I won’t recommend it to anyone.

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6 comments

  1. I agree with all of your review… but I still loved this book, which is bizarre because all the things you mention would normally put me right off a book.

    I really enjoyed the second one too, a lot more then the first, but the third I think needed an editor. However, I put most of that down to the fact that Larrsson unfortunately died before any proper editing could be done.

      1. I never knew there was a hype until after I read it (I rarely pay attention to these things) which is perhaps why I liked it. I didn’t like The Da Vinci Code at all possibly because of all the hype and I hated The Lovely Bones. For two books that were supposed to be really good… and everyone was saying how absolutely brilliant they were… and they were below average.

        Maybe had I gone into them without pre-expectations like with Dragon Tattoo… I’d have enjoyed them more?

        However, I think part of what makes the Dragon Tattoo series popular is that Larrsson seemed to have a fire and a passion beneath him about certain issues like sexism, feminism and other forms of discrimination. And he did like to go off on a rant about them and usually I’d accuse him of preaching.

      2. I haven’t read either The Da Vinci Code or The Lovely Bones so I can’t say but generally hyped books are not all they are cranked up to be. I read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy just as it was getting popular. I am amazed at how big it has has gotten in the last two years.

        To be honest it’s not Stieg Larsson’s fault that I find the stories uninteresting, the dialogues stiff and the characterization awkward. He never meant to publish any of this. He wrote these books as a hobby, to pass the time. It’s only after his death that the books were published and became popular.

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