Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

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!

21 comments:

brizmus said...

Yay! I'm so glad this lived up to your expectations! Isn't it just fabulous?!?
The characters really are just amazing!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I absolutely loved this book. Also a testament to the writing, I listened to this on audio and didn't even get confused with the characters. I just got The Girl Who Played With Fire from the library on audio, and I can't wait to start it! I am amazed, though, at how many people have trashed this book. For a crime thriller, they just don't get any better in my opinion.

bermudaonion said...

I'm rather embarrassed to tell you that I got this for Christmas 2008 and haven't read it yet. Shame on me! I'm so glad to see it lives up to all the hype!

Heather said...

I'm glad you loved it so much! I've had it for quite a few months now, but haven't gotten to it yet. I think I'll move it up on the pile. Great review!

pinkflipflops said...

We are reading this book, this month for our blogger book club. I still haven't gotten it cuz I am not super excited about it. Thanks for at least making me sorta want to read it now.. :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I loved all three books, and have become quite popular since I have a copy of book 3!

Molly said...

I have had this book on m radar for quite some time as well. Now I know I have to pick it up sometime soon (perhaps for the mystery read-athon this weekend?!)

Allie said...

This one is absolutely going on my to-read list. Thank you!!!

thekoolaidmom said...

I keep petting this and the sequel when I go to the library. It wants to go home with me everytime, and I keep having to tell it that I've got too many books on my plate right now. Maybe I'll have to get both of them as a reward for my hard work? :-)

Beth F said...

I loved this book. I have the next one and really should read it soon. Lots of people have said they don't understand the Larssen love, but I have it.

6p00e55182fcba8833 said...

I'm glad it was so good - it's been on my TBR list for a while. I need to get it read soon!

carolsnotebook said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was one of my favorites last year.

Ti said...

I loved this book too! I liked book two enough, but it's a tad different than the first one. I have passed my copy on to 3 other friends and they have all loved it.

Serena said...

I am ridiculously behind in reading books I've bought. This is sadly one of the books, along with the next in the series, that have not been read yet!

Beth said...

I've seen this book all over the place, but somehow it never enticed me. Your review is the first one that makes me want to read the book! One more for the TBR pile, I guess. Thanks!

Marie said...

Wasn't it great? My whole family got into it & the whole series. I can't wait to read the next two! :-) GREAT review!

baileysandbooks said...

I love this series.
I can't wait to hear your thoughts on The Girl Who Played with Fire. Enjoy!

Bonnie said...

This is such a strong series and you are in for a treat with the next two books. I've read the whole series and Lisbeth is my favorite complex character. You didn't mention the graphic violence, it was the hardest part about the books to read. I think Larsson made a strong point about issues related to women and violence in this book. I wish that there were more books in the series!

Book Dilettante aka Book Bird Dog said...

I've read the second in the series but not this one. It's on my list!

IceJewel said...

I have this book lying in my TBR since a long time now.But, haven't read it yet :(

Glad that you liked it.Will read this book now in a few days :)

Leela said...

I really liked it too. Did you read the other two yet? I heard there is an unfinished fourth and that Larson had originally outlined a 10 book series, but everything seemed neatly tied up at the end of the third.