Posts Tagged With: Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Millennium 1)
Rating: abandoned unfinished
You might like this if you: like media-hyped novels; aren’t easily disappointed by media-hyped novels

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared off the secluded island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger family. There was no corpse, no witnesses, no evidence. But her uncle, Henrik, is convinced that she was murdered by someone in her own family – the deeply dysfunctional Vanger clan. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired to investigate, but when he links Harriet’s disappearance to a string of gruesome murders from forty years ago, he needs a competent assistant – and he gets one: computer hacker Lisbeth Salander – a tattoed, truculent, angry girl who rides a motorbike like a Hell’s Angel and handles makeshift weapons with the skill born of remorseless rage. This unlikely pair form a fragile bond as they delve into the sinister past of this island-bound, tightly-knit family. But the Vangers are a secretive lot, and Mikael and Lisbeth are about to find out just how far they’re prepared to go to protect themselves – and each other.

First off I want to say I did not finish this book, but I think I gave it a very good chance – I read over 200 of its 530-ish pages. After hearing so many people sing its praises, I wanted to enjoy it, but it completely failed to impress me on every level.

One would expect something to happen within 200 pages of plot, but on this occasion one might be forgiven for believing nothing had happened at all. Small, seemingly inconsequential things happen, but there was little, if anything, of excitement. I wanted at least one or two small thrills to keep me hooked into what was happening, but I was sorely disappointed.

None of the characters seemed to me to be particularly “real” and they all felt like caricatures – the rebel computer genius; the journo with integrity; the evil big business man; the old guy with a kooky family – and I found I didn’t identify or sympathise with any of them. I didn’t find any of what I read to be all that original. The characters have all been done before and I had my suspicions about the missing girl from the beginning. I strongly suspect (highlight to view potential spoiler) that she’s alive and well and living somewhere else and that it’s she who sends the flowers to her uncle on his birthday. I found I didn’t much care why she left.

The amount of character back history given in the middle of what’s happening “now” was far too irritating. It jarred and annoyed me. Part of the problem is that I didn’t actually like any of the characters. Actually, I found them very annoying – especially Lisbeth (who I suspect I’m supposed to like) and Blomkvist (who I’m pretty certain I’m not supposed to find plodding and pedestrian). As they’re the two main characters it ruined any enjoyment I might have got from the story.

I really do wonder what all the hype is about (I came to the book knowing nothing about it except that a lot of people are banging on about it and the sequels – honestly, nothing more than the title!). To be perfectly honest, the only reason I continued as long as I did was because I’d already invested a fair bit of time in getting that far with it and could see myself getting very angry for having wasted the time if I didn’t finish it. It didn’t pick up and I wasted even more time on it.

I didn’t even care enough about Harriet to find out if my previous prediction was correct.

Apologies to all those who enjoyed it, but I found it pretty dire. I’ll be getting shot of the book pretty quick-smart and I won’t be bothering with the sequels.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Synopsis from

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

My Review

I have mixed feelings about this book, some aspects of the story were really good and kept me gripped, others made me want to put it down and never pick it up again. When Mikael Blomkvist is sued for libel, he needs to get away from his life for a while, so he accepts a job offer from Henrik Vanger to find out what happened to his great-niece Harriet Vanger when she disappeared 20 years earlier. He is positive she was murdered and wants to know how, but doesn’t hold out much hope of anything after so long. So when Mikael actually stumbles across a new lead, Henrik is very surprised, and as Mikael starts to get closer to what happened to Harriet, it’s clear someone will do anything to stop him finding out.

The beginning of the book starts with a lot of talk about financial journalism, of which I have no interest whatsoever, and I thought it was just plain boring to read about. I put the book aside, not sure whether I’d pick it up again, but I decided to give it another go in the hopes when I pushed past the financial section of the story it would pick up, and it did. Once it got to the start of the Harriet investigation it was enjoyable to read, there are lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing who it may have been that killed Harriet. The twist at the end of the Harriet section took me by surprise, and I really enjoyed finding out the truth of what happened. I loved the character of Lisbeth Salander, I thought the way she was portrayed was amazing, and she fast became my favourite of the story. With so many family members being talked about, most with the same surname, it can get a little confusing at times, but it’s not too hard to keep the main group of characters straight. I wish they’d kept the Swedish title of Men Who Hate Women, I think it’s more appropriate to the storyline, rather than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, being that there is one very brief mention of said tattoo, and it’s nothing to do with the book really. If they had cut everything about Wennerström and the financial stuff out of the book, and just kept in the Harriet storyline, then this book would be a 5/5 in my opinion, I just found that it clouded the story and just wasn’t needed at all.


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