I’ve been really busy recently and haven’t had much time for reading. *cries*. However, I did read ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson recently, so I thought I’d post a review on how I found it.
I have no idea why I hadn’t read this earlier, as it was first published in 2005, and I’m a big fan of mystery/thriller fiction. Somehow though, this managed to slip through the cracks for me, as did the 2011 film adaptation. I’m glad about this though, as it allowed me to form an honest, unbiased opinion on the book.
To summarise – I loved it! Reading this book was the most hooked I’ve been on a story and its characters for a long time, and it’s affirmed for me that the late Larsson really does deserve all of the praise that is amassed on him, and more!
Suspenseful, with an intricately woven plot, and compelling characters, it’s a book you can really get your teeth into. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it (as there a lot of twists and turns throughout that you have to read with no prior knowledge about to really get the full experience), but as a brief synopsis:
The protagonist of the story is Swedish, intrepid investigative journalist, Michael Blomkvist. At the opening of the book, he is convicted of libel charges against Hans-Erik Wennerstrom, who is a powerful and influential business man, and is sentenced to 30 days in jail, and also takes the hard decision to leave his magazine, Millennium, which he is a co-founder and partner for to get some distance, and save its reputation.
One day, however, Blomkvist is approached by the lawyer of Henrik Vanger, the revered, yet retired CEO of the respected Vanger Corporation. His attention acutely piqued, Blomkvist meets with Vanger and learns of the mysterious disappearance 40 years earlier of Vanger’s 16-year-old grand-niece, Harriet Vanger.
He comes to a business proposition with Vanger, if he can use his investigative journalist prowess to solve the mystery of the young girls disappearance, he will give him important information on his ‘nemesis’ Wennerstrom.
Alongside this storyline, and whilst Blomkvist’s storyline plays out, we are also introduced to Lisbeth Salander – a 24 year old hacker, who possesses a headstrong nature, a photographic memory, and a distinctive dragon tattoo.
She has a troubled childhood, but tackles all of the adversity she finds along the way, and as somewhat of a genius, is employed as a freelance private investigator for Milton Securities, for which one of her assignments is to investigate both Wennerstrom and Blomkvist.
I love her character, and I found her to be one of the most compelling, complex and yet real characters I had read in fiction for a long time. She is strong willed, independent and sassy, but with just the right amount of endearing vulnerability in her character which ensures she doesn’t even toe the line of being on the edge of arrogant. I did a search for what her character in the film looks like, and sadly she’s not really what I had in my head during the book (although she still looks pretty awesome)
As the story unfolds, Blomkvist comes up with new evidence on the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, and the further he gets into the investigation, the more disturbing it becomes. I was gripped through the whole story, and I loved how the two stories of Salander and Blomkvist ran parallel, before they end up linking up.
Eventually, Salander is tasked with working with Blomkvist to help him solve the mystery of Harriet’s disappearance, and an intriguing, tender and confusing relationship sparks between the two. This is one of the things I loved most about this book, the way the relationships between characters are portrayed (in particular Blomkvist and Erika Berger – his best friend, lover and co-founder of Millenium) are so different, memorable and captivating, and really lend a depth to the characters.
Ulterior motives, dark family secrets, troubled pasts and future dilemmas all come out in the novel, and the ending, although not completely surprising in some ways, was also quite shocking in others.
I would definitely recommend this book if you love gripping, gritty and tense mystery/thriller stories. Now I can see why this book got all the hype it did – and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series 🙂
P.S – Lizbeth Salander is pretty much my favourite female character now… so cool.
Have you read the girl with the dragon tattoo? What did you think? Let me know below.