Friday, March 30, 2012

Book review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

It seems like a few of you are reading this right now, so I thought it would be a good time to post my review! Let me know what you think if you've read this or once you've finished! Also, I'll post my review for the other books next week. :) Happy reading!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews.

Once you start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there's no turning back. This debut thriller--the first in a trilogy from the late Stieg Larsson--is a serious page-turner rivaling the best of Charlie Huston and Michael Connelly. 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.
--Dave Callanan

I have been having trouble trying to verbalize, or even figure out, my feelings about this book.

First of all, I disagree with the review above in that this book was not a page-turner for me from the beginning. I started it and didn't even get through the first 30 pages before returning it to the library. The first 30 pages are incredibly boring. But the book had gotten SO much hype, and my best friend and boyfriend had both read and loved it, so I tried again with the audio book.

I ended up really enjoying the book. It gets way more exciting and there is quite a bit of action, suspense, and mystery toward the end.

Things I liked:
     Lisbeth Salander is a very interesting protagonist and I enjoyed looking inside her head. Her chapters/sections were probably my favorite. She's a BAMF.
     The different kinds of relationships in this book. Mikael is hired by a very dysfunctional family, in which many cousins, brothers, mothers, members hate each other and alliances are everywhere. Mikael also has an open relationship with a married woman and has relationships with other women throughout the book. All of this was very interesting in that it was completely normal for the characters--it was a fly on the wall sort of thing, a train wreck you can't look away from.
     This won't be something everyone experiences, but I looooved the person who read for the audiobook. He did the women's voices and everything, and he has a lovely British accent.
     The mystery Blomkvist is hired to solve. It seems like such a dead end that you get sucked in and start really caring for Blomkvist and hoping for his success.

Things I didn't like:
     There were more boring chunks, even after I pushed through the first 30 pages, where I just wanted to get back to the action.
     There is a lot a lot a lot of stuff shoved into this one book. Blomkvist's professional struggles, mentioned in the summary above, are merely a frame and explanation for why he would ever agree to try to solve the mystery, but they still take up hundreds of pages at the beginning and end. Then there's the mystery, Blomkvist's many relationships, Salander's many relationships... As I progressed in the book, and as I've continued to the next book, I realized it is all necessary. But there sure is a lot going on in this book.
     The page-turning action I was promised doesn't start until the last third or fourth of the book. The suspense does build up to that point, but come oooooon. Everyone made such a big deal out of how they couldn't put it down, but you have to read a lot before you care that much.

I also feel obligated to warn anyone who hasn't yet heard--there is a rape scene. It's rather graphic. I feel like its effect was diluted for me since I was listening to it, rather than reading it, and could kind of just zone out a bit. But you should know ahead of time, I think.

As I mentioned, I did continue on with the second book, and I liked it a lot more. So I think the first book is worth a read--because I ended up liking it, and because I enjoyed the rest of the series.


Han said...

I didn't get on with it - there was all the hype about how great it was and I struggled to get through the first chapter or so (past those first 30 pages) and still didn't want to finish it - it just didn't grab me.

Alyx said...

See, I had the same problem as you. I tried reading it, and got about 20 pages in before I just gave up. It was so boring, and I couldn't handle it. Maybe I'll try the audio book like you did, though.

Andi said...

Visiting from Mingle Monday, and I read this whole series recently. I really enjoyed the first book, but see what you mean about it taking awhile to get interesting. I had been warned that it starts slow, so my expectations were lowered at the beginning.

I thought the 2nd and 3rd books were WAY more interesting, but I do think the first book was necessary to set up all the relationships and personalities involved.

Lin said...

Loved this review! I've actually been trying to get past the second chapter for months now. It's just SO boring haha. Maybe I'll give it another go this weekend cause I've actually heard good things about know, once you get past the very unneeded descriptive parts.


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