Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by Stieg Larrson

This trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) is all the rage lately, so I figured I should pick them up and peruse them myself. This one is the first one (naturally I'd read them in order) and it was a very thrilling and suspenseful book. It definitely kept me hooked until the very last page.

The prologue sucks you right in, drawing out the mystery, and then the first chapter is something completely different. So you're left a bit confused in the beginning, but it all clears up eventually. The prologue remains in the back of your mind throughout the entire novel. Which helps, because the first few chapters were a bit slow; introducing the characters and their situations. But once the novel got going, it was like a snowball rolling down a hill.

It is puzzling that the title references Lisbeth Salandar, when most of the book follows Mikael Blomqvist, the journalist from Millenium. Lisbeth doesn't really come into the picture until about halfway through and even then remains more of a secondary character. A fascinating secondary character, that is. Larrson does an excellent job painting a picture of her for us-- her lack of social skills, her dubious moral standards, her backbone in standing up for herself. Mikael is interesting, too, but he's more of a typical reporter/ladies' man and seems to have a new woman in his bed in every chapter. He's like the Swedish James Bond, except a journalist instead of a spy...

The story itself was amazing. It intertwined so many different subjects-- violence toward women, embezzlement, dysfunctional families, Nazism and WWII, and the list goes on. But it's written in a way that it all makes sense and each piece fits together like a puzzle. There is a definite end to the novel, a wrap-up of the events, but still leaves you hanging for more, which is why you'll want to pick up "The Girl Who Played with Fire" right away.

There's a reason that these books are flying off the shelves-- they're good. At least the first one is, anyway. I've started on the second one, and I'll let you know how it goes...

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