The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Random House division Vintage Books really made it big with this entire series. If you haven’t heard of Stieg Larsson’s national bestselling hits by now, you don’t ride subways, you don’t talk books, and you essentially have not stepped out into public the last year or so. To the editor who first got this manuscript on his or her table: Dang, how did that feel? And how does it feel now?

All that being said, I spent most of my time reading thinking that this book was over-hyped. I think that’s the downside of having a thrilling bestseller that gets turned into the ‘must see’ movie of the holiday season. People that haven’t read it yet expect it to be life-changing. Well, this isn’t a life-changing book. It’s a well-written murder mystery. A very well-written murder mystery that also happens to incorporate a financial mafia story that I enjoyed. Of course I can’t say much without giving away crucial details, so I won’t spoil it. Let’s just say I think Larsson was trying too hard to plant red herrings and give readers the shock factor when focusing on the murder mystery aspect. That being said, it was still a page-turner. And perhaps if this book had not been so hyped up (ok, if I hadn’t’ been so late in jumping on the Dragon Tattoo bandwagon), I wouldn’t have been so critical. The financial mystery takes a backseat for most of the book but then really blazes up at the end and I appreciated that immensely. It seemed less out to shock and more amusing and natural to me. That being said, details throughout the book were fantastic. A well-woven plot indeed. Agree? Disagree? [Polite] Thoughts always welcome here!

I was forewarned by many that the various European names in this widely cast novel would be confusing, but I did not find that a problem. So if that dissuades you in any way from reading the book, don’t let it. Secondly, I was told that there were scenes in the book that were graphic and sexually gruesome. This was primarily why it took me so long to get down to reading it. After reading it, I’d say…sure it’s graphic and gruesome. But I found it to be bearable. The scenes that were of this nature was where I thought the shock factor was played up, but frankly I got through the pages without cringing. I’m not the most strong-stomached person in the world and I was fine. So I encourage you to overlook those warnings and read for yourself. If you find something particularly un-handleable, skip the paragraph. You’ll be fine.

Larsson…Vintage Books…Random House…. You did good. It’s a great read. Easy, engrossing, exciting twists—everything a bestselling novel ought to be. Do I recommend it? Yes indeed. Do I think it will be the best book you will ever read in your life? No, but that’s no reason to not acknowledge that it’s a top-notch book to add to your bookshelves this year.

Final Summary

Interest Level: 3/5

Recommendation Rate: 5/5

And that concludes my thoughts on Book One of my #70bookpledge!


6 thoughts on “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  1. 5/5 on all accounts, eh? Good to know, and thanks for not spoiling anything! I would say that I’m about half way through right now in my audio book and let me tell you – the European names are *much* more difficult to remember when you’re listening to them rather than seeing them. Yikes. I have so far agreed with you about the hype factor, but we’ll see how the rest of the read goes!

    • Valid indeed on the names. I think when I was reading, I didn’t bother pronouncing them in my head, I just caught the first three letters of each name and that’s how I proceeded to identify them for the rest of the book. I suppose listening to them would be a different story. I plan on seeing the movie sometime this weekend and hopefully putting faces to certain characters will help if I choose to read it a second time. Yes, 5/5 on all accounts. Pretty generous, I know. But it notice the categories: Interest, Readability, and Recommendation. I read it in a day, obviously interesting and easy to read. I’m recommending it here and around town, so 5/5 there too! Ta-da! Let me know your final thoughts, I’m so glad you agree on the hype accounts.

  2. Mom and I have tickets to watch the movie on 10 Jan. Is it better to watch the movie and then read the book? Do you have the book at home? Love you, Dad

    • I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I hear it’s great with not too many changes. I don’t own the book, I borrowed the series and have it here. People that saw it without reading the book enjoyed it though. Still a good read!

  3. I’ve had a copy of this hanging around on my shelf for years but have always skipped over it for some reason when picking my next read! I definitely plan to read it this year so that I can watch the film (because I remain convinced that something terrible will happen if I watch any film before having read the book) and it will probably be sooner rather than later thanks to this review!

    I’m going to go into it with average expectations and hope that pays off!

  4. Yay! So glad this review helped you, a frank description is always the way to go for me. Sometimes I inadvertently watch a movie before reading the book but at least it motivates me to read different things! But yes, I definitely resisted the urge to watch this movie before reading the book.

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