SUMMARY: An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel. Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pieced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption. -- Vintage Crime
This month, my book club decided to read THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson. I was so happy because I have heard so many terrific things about this novel from people all over the blogosphere. I was a little concerned that it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but oh my -- did it ever! I thought THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was an excellent read, and it actually exceeded my expectations! I don't know why I waited so long to read it.
This book was just soooo good, and I have so many positive things to say about it. I thought the author did an amazing job of creating the story and luring the reader in. I also liked how he set up the mystery and built suspense. Even when I thought I had the mystery figured out, it ended up being more complex than I even imagined. There were surprises thrown into the story many times, and I was definitely kept guessing. The story was as well done as any mystery/suspense book I've ever read!
Although I loved the mystery and how it unraveled, I have to say that the characters in this book were what really affected me. I was actually surprised by how well-developed the characters were for a mystery novel. I definitely liked Mikael, the journalist who was trying to solve Harriet's murder; however, I thought Lisbeth, the girl with the dragon tattoo, was absolutely fascinating. Her character was extremely complex because of her life experiences and her "talents." She is definitely a character who will remain in my thoughts for a very, long time.
One thing that dawned on my while reading this novel was how easy it was for me to follow the story. This book is nice-sized and the story is pretty complex -- not to mention that there are a ton of characters; however, I didn't have any problem keeping things straight. I think that's a huge testament the author that he "told" the story in such a manner that a reader can keep track of the characters (and it wasn't obvious or heavy-handed way at all.) In addition, the book went back and forth between the characters' lives, and it was done almost effortlessly.
The book ended rather open-ended. Of course, I knew there were two more books that the author wrote before he passed away, but I wasn't expecting the book to end like it did! I immediately wanted to pick up the next book in the series THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE to find out what happens to Lisbeth. In some ways, I'm glad I waited to read THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO when I did because at least the sequel is currently available.
While I've been dying to read this book for a long time, I was a little concerned about whether or not the book would lend itself to a good discussion. A few of you commented last month that I shouldn't worry, and I couldn't agree more. This book has some very complex characters whom I think we could discuss for hours! I was happy that I found this reading guide just in case we want a more structured discussion!
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is an absolutely fantastic book, and I can't recommend it enough. I am passing along my copy to Booking Pap Pap because I know he's going to absolutely love it too!