The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

So I usually read YA fiction, but this time I read an adult book. I heard that Stieg Larsson wrote this amazing series, critically aclaimed as the best thriller in forever and so on. Now I understand why it was classified as adult fiction.

It really isn’t a children’s kind of book.

Warning: Don’t read this book if you can’t stand rape scenes or hearing about very disgusting deaths (or these deaths being implied). I understand why the film got an 18+ rating. Because I really would not like to see those rape scenes or murder scenes on screen. Sometimes I had to shut my brain off (I have quite an over-active imagination) just so I didn’t have to picture the disgusting murders of all these girls. The descriptions weren’t very long and descriptive or anything, they were quite to the point and informative, almost like a newspaper article. Just the way they were murdered made me have to take a deep breath and try to carry on.

Summary

Mikael Blomkavist is a journalist with a keen eye, but something goes wrong with one of his stories, and he’s sent to prison, completely humiliated in the public eye. So he gets an offer from Henrik Vanger, to find out who murdered his granddaughter, Harriet. Soon, it seems that there is more to this murder than first meets the eye. And his research assistant is Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, who is really damaged and unfortunate. Like, really damaged.

Now, as usual, let’s start with the Cons.

Nothing really happens in the book. The entire pace of it is very slow for what is supposed to be a thriller. I expect thrillers to be fast paced with constant action. This book moved extremely slowly compared to my expectations (it wasn’t a slow book, just slower than I thought it would be).

Characters
Mikael Blomkavist is quite a likeable character. Apart from his love of women, and his very undramatic and (in my opinion) unrealistic love encounters which apparently mean nothing to him and he has barely any or no emotional attachment to them, he is great. Then, of course, there is Lisbeth. Poor, poor Lisbeth. She is just so damaged. Let’s put it this way. There are two rape scenes in this book, and both involve her as the victim. And from what I’ve heard, there are more to come in the following books “The Girl who Played with Fire” and “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” which will involve her. However, for some reason, I felt very detached from both the characters. I really didn’t care what happened to them as much as I should have (well, I really didn’t want more rape scenes, especially for Lisbeth who has definitely had more than enough traumatic experiences involving sexual abuse). I did care when they were about to die, or get tortured or raped, but that was only because they were human, not because I’d fallen in love with their characters. No one wants to see a defenceless young girl being taken advantage of by some creepy, sadistic psycho, or see a man get tortured. It’s just against human nature.
(Also, the ending? Random as hell? It was just so… convenient and weird. And so out of character.)

Pros
So, it was a good plot, good solid structure, and really interesting. There really is no other way to put it. Though I thought the murderer was kind of obvious. But yeah, it was really good plot and characters and so on.

Quotes

  • “Normally seven minutes of another person’s company was enough to give her a headache so she set things up to live as a recluse. She was perfectly content as long as people left her in peace. Unfortunately society was not very smart or understanding.”
  • “Friendship – my definition – is built on two things,’ he said. ‘Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, friendship will crumble.”

Overall

So, 3 1/2 shuriken stars? I’d recommend you reading it, but not really really badly. And if you can get through that type of stuff. So not if you’re like 8 years old or something,  I don’t want you to become too jaded about the world at that age. And creeped out. And go running around telling your mum that it’s my fault for recommending it to you. I do not like dealing with scary mums on the internet.

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