Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
What's it about?
Mikael Blomkvist is no stranger to conflict and controversy, so much so that he was sentenced for Libel for a story he printed in the magazine he is co-owner of. So, when he's convicted, he knows that he's got to put some distance between him and his journalistic haven, the Millennium, the magazine he worked for and helped to run. That's when he he was offered a job he couldn't say no to.
Henrik Vanger is not like his family. While they seem to be cold, odd and greedy, he seems to be filled with heart, intelligence and morals and he wants Mikael to dig into his family and uncover family secrets...particularly the disappearance of his niece. But there's a catch, no one's supposed to know that Mikael is doing more then just writing a biography with Henrik about the Vanger family.
But things are never as easy as one would like and Henrik's theories about what happened all those years ago sound closer to insane then not. And now it's up to Mikael and anyone he can find to trust enough to help, to uncover if there really is a story to tell, or if it's all been brought to light.
Favorite Character: Henrik Vanger is my favorite character. I liked his heart and how loyal he was to those who earned his love and trust, despite the toxic people who tended to make up the bulk of his family. I respected that he didn't judge others by their parents, their family or the accusations of others. I respect his need for closure and understand that, for him, the only way he knew how to get closure after all this time was to find answers, even when everyone else had given up on the search.
Least Favorite Character: I'm going to go with a broad answer here and say most of the Vanger family. I know that doesn't sound like much, but trust me, it's better then listing out most of the family by name and the reasons are pretty much the same across the board. They're toxic. They're manipulative, hateful, angry, venomously dangerous one so many levels and I don't like such people. It's really that simple.
Favorite Part: My favorite part was at the end of the Vanger storyline. There were a lot of moments in those couple of chapters that made me feel. Some made me laugh, some brought tears to my eyes. Either way, it was the point in the story that I felt the most.
Least Favorite Part: The Wennersrom storyline which mostly sandwiched the Vanger storyline. It was just not a line I was overly invested in, partially, maybe, because finances is not a topic I find myself drawn to unless I have to discuss it. Or maybe it was becuase the storyline wasn't very interesting.
I don't even know where to begin. I guess we can start at the writing style. Mr. Stieg chose to go with a "tell me" style as opposed to the "show me" and I'm not sure it did the story any favors. Yes. the book is almost 600 pages but the story, I think, could have been so much more engaging if the world was better created and explored. I honestly think that was part of the reason that, for about the first half of the book, I fell asleep every time I tried to read it (though I won't go so far as to say that is the only reason. I was also really tired.)
I also, as said before, wasn't a fan of the Wennerstrom storyline at all. I feel like, other then it being the reason Mikael had the desire and opportunity to work with Vanger, if this was a storyline that needed to be explored, maybe it should have been it's own book, with a deeper, more flushed out story which may have been more interesting and enthralling then it was.
I did, however, really enjoy the Vanger mystery and found myself more and more invested throughout the focus of that storyline. I loved the unfolding of the story. It was layered and intriguing and fascinating. In fact, I think the book would have been better if that was the only major storyline this book had.
With all that being said, I did like the depth of the characters. While the physical descriptions of them may have been thin and brief, their complexity and personalities were vast. Most characters seemed to encase secrets and deception on many fronts, some more benign then others. The character building was done almost brilliantly.
When I first picked up this book, I was thrilled to read a book so well loved by so many. I'd heard great things about it and couldn't wait to dive in. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe I was just not in the right mind set for this book, but I walked away feeling as if this book is overrated. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I read it and I did enjoy at most of it but I fail to see the overall "amazing" of it. When I found out that this was the first in the series, part of me was curious to see what was next for our characters, but not enough of me that I forged any plans of seeking out the rest of the books for me to read. However, if they fell on my lap, I may indulge.
What do I rate this book?
I give this book a
10 old photographs
But that's just what I thought. What did you think? Are you one of the many who loved this book? What did you love about it? Let us know what thought in the comments.