Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1)
By: Stieg Larsson
Published By: Knopf Doubleday
Publication Date: 2005
Page Count: 465
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Mystery Thriller

Sometimes you really need someone to tell you stick with a book until a particular part. I almost put this book down so many times, and I am glad I had such a friend to tell me to keep going until Lisbeth meets Mikael. It took me a very long time to get to that part, due to the lengthy exposition and too many details about too many characters, but and this is a big BUT, once I got to about 45% through I simply could not put this book down and I finished it the same day. 

The basic premise centers around Mikael Blomkvist, a respected journalist who starts off the story facing a libel lawsuit, ruin and prison. He was set up. He knows this and he is desperate to clear his name, save his magazine and find enough evidence that he can prove he was right. So when the head of a respected corporation approaches him saying he has exactly the information Mikael needs, he is tempted into accepting Henrik Vanger's deal: Mikael will spend a year investigating the mysterious disappearance of Henrik's niece, Harriet, which happened many years ago, in return for money and the evidence he needs. To do this, Mikael moves into the middle of nowhere and starts digging around in the Vanger family's past. He soon needs help to deal with all the information, which is when he meets Lisbeth Salander. She is present in the story before this though, as the agent who researched Mikael for Henrik. As interesting as Mikael is, Lisbeth is fascinating. Her history and legal status are intriguing, as is her complete distrust of authorities, and her eye-for-an-eye approach to justice. Bad things happen to her, and her responses are at times really quite brutal. She operates on a different kind of morality than most people, but she is extremely shrewd and her involvement with Mikael is what really kicks the investigation into high gear.

The plot is very cleverly done, and all those details lock together into a seriously impressive story. There is a lot of violence, some sexual, and it can be quite graphic, so this will not appeal to everyone. However, if you are a fan of plots that make you work a little bit for the final payoff, and you can cope with a full cast of characters, then this could be a very satisfying read for you. 

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.


  1. There has been so much hype around this book that I've totally ignored reading it. I did the same with the Hunger Games, but when I eventually did read it I LOVED IT!!! Maybe I should give this one a chance, too? Nicely reviewed.

    1. Thanks! This book does not reach the Hunger Games level of awesome, but I did really enjoy it... in the end. Just beware that the start is hard going.

      (A little like The Host by Stephenie Meyer, which is one of my favorite books, but really doesn't get going until Melanie and Wanderer are in the desert!)

  2. My brother bought me this book for Christmas but I have heard so many mixed reviews I have put off reading it. I am so torn. Your review makes me want to give it a shot but I have also read so many reviews where it wasn't well liked. I guess I need to start it and see for myself.

  3. I do appreciate a well written crime thriller, as well as all the YA that I read, so that is how I came to this. (I am a big fan of Karin Slaughter!)

    I wouldn't normally say this, but the recent movie adaptation of this book (with Daniel Craig) was fabulous, and if you just want to know how the story goes, I'd recommend it. It doesn't have any pacing issues and it was really very faithful as adaptations go. I also think that it wouldn't be a problem following on with books 2 and 3 from the movie.

    I do have the Swedish versions on DVD, in which Noemi Rappace is amazing as Lisbeth, but I think overall the recent movie wins out as it had a fantastic cast and they all acted their butts off!

  4. Nice Review! Have read this books times and again. And now I am waiting for the release of the fifth novel of the series!


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