Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Series: 1 of 3 (Millennium)

Awards: Macavity Award Nominee (2009), Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel and for Best First Novel, Glasnyckeln by Skandinaviska Kriminalsällskapet (2006), Galaxy British Book Awards for Crime Thriller of the Year (2009), Exclusive Books Boeke Prize (2008), Strand Critics Award Best Novel Nominee, Strand Critics Award Best First Novel Nominee, International Dagger Award

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book and this series is EVERYWHERE. I've gone back and forth on whether or not I should read it, but I finally decided to take the plunge. It's been a long time since I've read a really gripping thriller, so I was looking forward to a good corporate crime novel. And for the first 100 pages or so, I really enjoyed it.

The original Swedish title of this book is "Men Who Hate Women". This is a much more apropos title than what we have been given in English. But it's the story of a respected journalist/publisher (Mikael) of a small magazine (Millennium) who ends up serving a short prison term for libel of an important Swedish businessperson. But before he serves his sentence, Mikael is contacted by an aging corporate magnate (Vanger) who wants him to write a history of the family business and hopefully solve a 40-year old murder in the process. He offers him a place to live, more money than he's worth, and proof that will vindicate Mikael in his libel suit. So Mikael, with the help of a young computer hacker (she's the girl with the dragon tattoo), gets involved in the seriously dysfunctional Vanger family and unearths far more than anyone could imagine.

The book is well-paced, but I have to admit that I didn't find it particularly well-written. I don't know if it's a function of the translation or if it just hasn't been edited very well. But sometimes I found the writing to be jarringly elementary. Another major problem I had with this book is my personal aversion to delving into the underworld of sexual deviancy. This book is very explicit and also contains graphic violence.

I do find it heartbreaking that Stieg Larsson never got to see his series published. He never got to see how popular his books have become, reap the monetary benefits, or enjoy the fame and accolades from fans around the world. But, I should have stuck with my gut and left this one unread.

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Book 44 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 35 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2005), Book 27 of 50 for the New Author Challenge, Book 2 of 8 for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge (Sweden)

Source: Borrowed


Shelley said...

It's so good to hear a negative review of this one so that if I read it my expectations won't be unrealistic. And I will know to stop if I hate it.

bermudaonion said...

Sorry it didn't work for you. I have found some translated books to read awkwardly, so I know what you mean.

Suzy said...

I am reading this right now. I had also heard great things about it but I am having a very hard time getting into it and that is not normal for me. I read everything. Should I keep reading or skip it??

Tricia said...

Shelley: Stop if you hate it. It's not just one bad scene--there's quite a few.

Suzy: I didn't have trouble getting into it, but my friend said she didn't get going with it until after Chapter 4. Personally, I say skip it.

Emilee said...

Thanks for the review. I've been wondering if I should read this book, but glad to know to not waste my time on it.

Booklogged said...

Thanks for your review, Tricia. I was getting an order ready for a few new books and this one I was going to buy. I'd just as soon not delve into sexual deviancy either. My daughter gave me the 2nd in the series for Christmas. I'm going to search for some reviews of that one before I start reading.

Julie said...

I enjoyed the book more than you did, but I agree about the sexual deviance and violence. It was a bit too much for me too. I liked the second in the series much more because it didn't go in that direction. Thanks for including the link to my review!

Jaz said...

I totally agree. For all the hype I was disappointed to find such a violent and at times raunchy book. I have no interest in seeing the movie or reading the next two books.

Britt said...

Yeah, I didn't love it. In fact, even if it hadn't been raunchy... I still wouldn't have been too impressed.
Do you think the hype is because he died, though?

(Thanks for the link!)

Okie said...

It's funny...I picked this book up a couple of years ago just as it started picking up hype. But for some reason I haven't been able to find the interest to actually read it yet. I might try to get to it this summer just since the movie is coming out, but I'm not sure yet if I will just because I keep hearing enough mixed reviews that I'm not sure it's worth my time.

Natalie said...

I picked this book up at the library last year on a recommendation. It was a DNF for me. Sometimes I wonder where all the hype comes from.

Kathleen said...

I still haven't read any of these myself. It seems like people either LOVE these books or don't get what all the fuss is about. I know at some point I will read them to see which camp I fall into.

Lark said...

Thanks for this review Tricia. I too have heard mixed reviews about it from friends. But after your review and another review from a good friend whom I also admire (who hated it), I will definately skip it!

Amanda said...

You know, a while back I picked it up at the library and got through a few pages and it just didn't hook me. So I took it back thinking it would be best to try it later. Interesting.

PM said...

Hi ,
Nice review.
You can see ,y review for this book here :