Source: Borrowed (Thanks Auntie!)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
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.
In short: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson presents a damn good mystery and a fascinating enigma in the character of Lisbeth Salander, but could do with a fair amount of editing.
The original title of this book in Sweden is Men Who Hate Women, which, I think, sums up pretty well its truly horrific plot. After months of reading only YA, it was a nasty shock to read about the events that take place in this very adult book. Still, I very much enjoyed the well laid out mystery. With all the pieces of the puzzle in place, the revelation at the end was really well done.
The biggest problem I had with this book was its length. At 841 pages (albeit the mass market paperback version), there was a ton of extraneous and pointless information that could have been left out. I really don't need to read about all the intricacies of hacking and economics. With editing, easily hundreds of pages that were non-essential to the plot, mystery, and characters could have been removed. The two main characters, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, did not even meet until half way through.
Out of all the characters, Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, was really the only one who stood out for me. Maybe it was just because she was so peculiar that all the other characters paled in comparison. Salander is probably the most fascinating character I've read in years. An utter enigma. She is incredibly intelligent and introverted and violent. Why does she behave the way she does? What is her revulsion to turning to the police for help?
Though I suspect the other books in the Millenium Trilogy will also be just as long-winded, I would like to learn more about Salander and so I will continue on with the series. I also look forward to watching the movies, both Swedish and American alike. The American version trailer was just released and it looks very edgy and cool:
*Read as part of the Into the Old World Reading Challenge
*Read as part of the Book Series Completion Challenge,
*The Letter G in the A-Z Reading Challenge