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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo PDF, ePub eBook


Hot Best Seller
Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Publisher: Published September 16th 2008 by Knopf (first published August 2005)
ISBN: 9780307269751
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story and financial intrigue. A Sensational #1 Bestseller – Now a Major Motion Picture In Theaters March 2010. It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he b A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story and financial intrigue. A Sensational #1 Bestseller – Now a Major Motion Picture In Theaters March 2010. It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves. It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

30 review for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  1. 4 out of 5

    Beth F.

    Swedish people are nuts! I realize that’s a bit of a broad generalization and it sounds a bit rude, but I don’t care. Because more often than not, I’m nuts too. I was born and raised in Minnesota, and if you know our state history, you’re already aware that we were predominantly settled and populated by Swedish (and Norwegian) immigrants. So not only are many Minnesota residents of Scandinavian descent, myself included, a lot of our quirky mannerisms and even our accents are commonly attributed t Swedish people are nuts! I realize that’s a bit of a broad generalization and it sounds a bit rude, but I don’t care. Because more often than not, I’m nuts too. I was born and raised in Minnesota, and if you know our state history, you’re already aware that we were predominantly settled and populated by Swedish (and Norwegian) immigrants. So not only are many Minnesota residents of Scandinavian descent, myself included, a lot of our quirky mannerisms and even our accents are commonly attributed to this influence. I attended a Swedish Lutheran college (which attracted a lot of Swedish exchange students). And one of my oldest and dearest friends is an American by birth but was raised in Sweden and didn’t return to live full-time in the U.S. until she was 18. She’s always found Minnesotans to be a very interesting form of science experiment—what happens when you mix Swedish and American culture anyway? Taking what I know firsthand of Minnesota culture into consideration, I can only assume that Sweden, aka the motherland, is also a twisted place of dark, dry humor. Some mainstream examples that support this claim would include: Fargo, Drop Dead Gorgeous, A Prairie Home Companion and yes, even Mr. Purple Rain himself, who even though he’s genetically a bit more exotic than a plain old Swede, definitely displays some of the more oddball (but typical) Minnesota traits in his own special way. The point being, the characters in this book felt oddly familiar to me, quirks and all. I’m actually a bit surprised I loved the book as much as I did because I normally criticize authors for trying to jam too much into one story and this book had a lot going on: --shady business dealings --corporate fraud --murder --religious fanaticism --extramarital affairs --Nazis --casual sex --creepy pervs --violence against women --money laundering --sexual sadism --political proselytizing --dysfunctional family secrets And that’s just scraping the surface. Because once Larsson got into it and started digging deeper into the plot and revealing more details, my head started spinning and I had smoke coming out of my ears. I wasn’t expecting to be sucked in so quickly by the plot and am still reeling over the fact that this brick-like book (my copy has nearly 600 pages) went as quickly as it did. I just reserved the sequel from the library and am also excited at the prospects of a third. I’m also sad that Mr. Larsson passed away. What a talented author—not many could tie so much crazy shit into one story and still have it make sense AND be entertaining. Although I think whoever decided to change the title when they released this book in English is nuts too. The original Swedish title, Men Who Hate Women, is much more fitting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    I've heard and read many complaints about Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 1. It's misogynistic. 2. It's packed with cliché. 3. It's too convoluted. 4. It's too disturbing. 5. Lisbeth wasn't autistic enough or was foolishly autistic. 6. There were too many red herrings, and the damn Nazi red herring didn't have the usual payoff. 7. Too/Two many plots. 8. Too hard on Leviticus. I will answer these in a moment, but first I must declare that I am an unrepentant fan of this book. This is I've heard and read many complaints about Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 1. It's misogynistic. 2. It's packed with cliché. 3. It's too convoluted. 4. It's too disturbing. 5. Lisbeth wasn't autistic enough or was foolishly autistic. 6. There were too many red herrings, and the damn Nazi red herring didn't have the usual payoff. 7. Too/Two many plots. 8. Too hard on Leviticus. I will answer these in a moment, but first I must declare that I am an unrepentant fan of this book. This is one of the rare times when I long for goodreads to have half grades, because I would love to give this 4.5. I can't give it a full 5, though, because I sense Mr. Larsson's series is going to grow in his last two books. And now...back to the top eight complaints: 1. Perhaps, but how can a book whose original Swedish title is "Men Who Hate Women" avoid misogyny? It can't. But at least the misogyny present is a comment on misogyny. Larsson isn't being misogynist. He's attacking misogyny. Moreover, our hero, Mikael Blomkvist, is not one of the men who hate women. He is a pretty good guy, actually; in fact, he's one of the rare guys I would actually categorize as a "good guy" in most modern literature. Sure...he's a bad Dad. Sure...he has a failed marriage and many sexual relationships. Sure...he makes some decisions that challenge his ethics. But he remains a "good guy." He tries to do well in an ugly world. He never succumbs to cynicism. And he genuinely cares about all the people in his life. Male and female. And it's not like Berger and Salander are weak women -- far from it. There may be misogyny in Men Who Hate Women, but it is wholly the characters' misogyny -- those who have it -- and not the author's. 2. With apologies to my friend who's first name starts with T: Cliché, smiché! Yes there's some cliché -- maybe plenty of cliché -- but who cares?! Seriously? We're not talking about Proust here. We're talking about a mystery novel, a serial killer who-dunnit. Complaining about cliché in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is like complaining about "pinko sympathies" in The Communist Manifesto. There's communism in Marx? Really? You think!? 3 & 7. Yep. There's a couple of distinct plots here, but there's a level of verisimilitude to that. Have even our banal lives ever had anything important happen without something else important occurring at the same time? Not mine, and to have multiple incidents happening simultaneously makes sense to me. The search for Harriet Vanger wasn't hampered at all by the Wennerström drama, and vice versa. And to be honest, I loved having a pair of mysteries solved in the same novel. 4. Too disturbing compared to what? It's nowhere near as disturbing as American Psycho, and it's about average as far as the serial killer genre goes. Plus, I think there is a power in the graphic moments of this novel, particularly Lisbeth's vengeance on her guardian. I am not on her side when it comes to this vengeance, but I understand it, and the drive to take vengeance in such a way -- such a human way -- fascinates me. Who'd have thought, besides maybe my friend Manny, that the Swedes have it in them? 5. Perhaps this is true, but at this point I have only read one of the trilogy, and the only person who suggested that Lisbeth was autistic was Mikael, and while he thought she was suffering from Asberger's his guess was only in passing. I can cut the book some slack here. (suspend my disbelief, suspend my disbelief). 6. I was stoked that, for once, the Nazis were a red herring rather than the ultimate, degenerated evil. We all expect the Nazis to be the worst of the worst, so it is refreshing to see them as a deflection instead. 8. Can anyone really be too hard on Leviticus? Ummmmm...nope. Now, I admit that I might love this novel simply because it is set in Sweden. After all, I do love ABBA, Fredrik Ljungberg, IKEA (my apologies), glögg, Stellan Skarsgård, Max von Sydow, Ingmar Bergman, and Mats Sundin. I looked into emigrating to Sweden but had no excuse, being a resident of Canada with no skills the Swedes were looking for, and I am a fan of Norse Mythology, but I do love Sweden, and I was jazzed by the setting of Larsson's book. All that aside, however, I think The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a compelling, entertaining and unabashedly thrilling read. If you can overlook the eight complaints, or consider them in a different light, you'll like this book too. I promise.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ivanna S.

    I really don't understand the critical orgasms over this book. Amazon pushed it on me for weeks, and the minute I stepped into Borders an employee ran over and recommended it. Thinking, this really better be the best book I've ever read, I took it up to the checkstand, where the register guy asked: "Did one of our employees recommend this?" Um, yeah. And Amazon, too. So of course I asked him why. "Oh," he replied, "we've been told to recommend it this week." That should have tipped me off right I really don't understand the critical orgasms over this book. Amazon pushed it on me for weeks, and the minute I stepped into Borders an employee ran over and recommended it. Thinking, this really better be the best book I've ever read, I took it up to the checkstand, where the register guy asked: "Did one of our employees recommend this?" Um, yeah. And Amazon, too. So of course I asked him why. "Oh," he replied, "we've been told to recommend it this week." That should have tipped me off right there: recommendations handed down by management. Pfft. I hesitate to suggest a conspiracy, but - did someone end up with too many of these in a warehouse in Duluth? Did Oprah make a bet with someone that she could pull strings and make the most boring book in the world a best seller? But I am suckered in by numerous good reviews and a fairly interesting book jacket description, so I buy it and take it with me on a trip camping with my family. Of course it totally sucks. I'm kicking myself because I feel like I really should have known. But the reviews - ALL the reviews - are absolutely positive from generally reliable sources, so I just DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. Here's why I don't like it: I am about a third of the way into it, and literally hundreds of characters have been introduced. NOT ONE of them has done anything interesting, so I am finding it nearly impossible to keep them straight. I am the type that will be more or less satisfied reading the back of a cereal box, but this is BAD. I mean bad. The mystery is dull. The who done it is more like a who cares. The two primary characters are so far not very likable at all - in fact, the review descriptions are more interesting than the book descriptions of them. I'm betting part of the problem is the translation, presumably - but god, there is just some boring writing in here, too. "He went to the store. He bought milk. He was cold. He went home." - BOR-RING! I am not really exaggerating, either. Actual content: "He put on a pot of coffee and made himself two sandwiches. He had not eaten a proper meal all day, but he was strangely uninterested in food. he offered the cat a piece of sausage and some liverwurst. After drinking the coffee, he took the cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and opened the pack." Again, I'm willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt with the translating, but I wouldn't have gotten out of high school writing with that kind of boring and utterly pointless description. It sets the tone of "lonely dude being lonely" but really: two sandwiches? why two? sausage and liverwurst - fascinating. That's really just a page I opened to randomly - there is much worse. I am truly bitterly resentful of every minute I am stuck on the side of this mountain without a good book to read. I'm ready to browse the mini mart down the way and read the real estate magazines instead. Why have all the reviewers and Amazon steered me SO WRONG??? I am not trying to insult anyone's taste - so please don't get mad about my opinion. But if you love this book, please - tell me WHY. What am I missing?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    Women are raised to routinely fear rape. “If you go at night, take a friend.” “Check under the car and in your backseat before you get in.” “I’m just saying it’s a good idea to know where the exits are.” “I got you this whistle for your keychain, you know, just so you have it.” “You were an hour later than I thought you’d be! We called the police!” “Oh, that’s pepper spray; I keep it with me just in case.” “I just make sure I get my keys out and check for other weapons if I’m getting off work lat Women are raised to routinely fear rape. “If you go at night, take a friend.” “Check under the car and in your backseat before you get in.” “I’m just saying it’s a good idea to know where the exits are.” “I got you this whistle for your keychain, you know, just so you have it.” “You were an hour later than I thought you’d be! We called the police!” “Oh, that’s pepper spray; I keep it with me just in case.” “I just make sure I get my keys out and check for other weapons if I’m getting off work late.” “Is this weird? I live alone and I’m going running, so if I don’t call you by 11:15, call the police, okay?” A woman who fights back – no, a woman who argues at all – does so knowing it will probably make her a social pariah. “She’s just one of those women who makes life hell . . . like a Hillary Clinton type.” “You’re different; you’re not a ball buster like some girls.” “You know that rape accusations can destroy a man’s life, right? And when she said it, did you see how she looked? I mean . . .” “All girls do is complain and nag. Not you, of course – most girls.” “But it is really women who are the privileged ones to be covered and cared for by the man; all of the responsibility for decisions are on him.” “He didn’t mean it the way it sounded, so you'll just regret it if you tell him he's wrong.” “She never understood me, and now she’s making all of these claims and trying to take practically half of my paycheck. I think she was just in it for the money in the first place.” “All I said was she has a nice rack; what a bitch.” “That’s just life; make the best of it.” And there is good reason we are raised to fear rape, and raised not to fight back: survival. Women know that if we walk alone in the dark, statistically there is a good chance we will get raped. If we go to the wrong party, we’ll be raped. If we misread that boy next door and his swellness is a con, rape. And when a person is in a position of being systematically controlled, it often does cause more physical or emotional damage to fight back. It’s not right, but it is realistic. It seems to me like it is the equivalent of every man being raised that if he leaves the house at the wrong time, he might encounter a woman who will strip him naked, hold him down, and knee him in the balls while she masturbates. And then in this alternate universe, these boys find out, as they grow up, that most of the men they know have had that happen to them. And I’m not trying to minimize sexual assault experiences that involve little or no physical injury, nor am I trying to minimize sexual assaults against men: no one has the right to touch another person’s body without permission. I’m talking about the way women are raised to think of daily life. Women are not raised to be afraid we’re going to get a super hot BJ that we didn’t realize we wanted, which is sometimes how I feel people talk about rape accusations. We are raised to encounter our daily lives knowing that, even if violence wasn't in our past, violence probably is in our future. And every time someone says, “Don’t go alone,” it is a little reminder that a lot of men hate us. I have to say, though, that while I think it is realistic to say that women are raised to fear rape and to incorporate that fear of rape into our daily routine, and that sometimes fighting back makes things more dangerous, I do not believe it is effective to live in fear or to encourage women to live in fear or not defend ourselves. I think that perpetuates an idea that women are powerless, which then encourages women to freeze up when encountered with violence or even conflict. I think trusting our instincts and learning martial arts is probably more productive. And teaching men not to rape. That seems like the approach this book takes, though it more directly simply reflects, with appropriate outrage, on the levels of male contempt for women. And I think in that way, in the way it is directed to men, it is about how gross contempt for women is, whether it takes the form of self-absorption or sadism. This book is smart. It is symmetrical in its execution in many ways: in starting and ending with Blomkvist’s corporate corruption story, and in the way it shows men and women accused of race whoring, men and women subjected to violence. The juxtaposition of (view spoiler)[Salander’s rape with Blomkvist’s consensual sexual encounter with Cicilia (hide spoiler)] is really well played. It is viscerally grotesque in the contrast, and it highlights the theme of consent. It was physically difficult for me to read, especially in the contrast, and I thought that made it very effective. Salander’s character, too, is smart. She is both the outcast that women are when we fight back, and she is something of the misunderstood-bad-boy hero turned girl. I liked that. When she (view spoiler)[saves Blomkvist, it is all really vivid and heroic, but still corporeal and disgusting. I liked that Blomkvist couldn’t take charge because he was in too much shock, and that she truly saved his life (hide spoiler)] . It bothers me when a storyteller starts to let a girl save a guy, but really she only tosses him the gun to save himself. Salander gets some real action and some real credit, and it is satisfying. Ultimately, it is pretty clear, but not laughing in your face, just resigned, Larsson knows (view spoiler)[Blomkvist is a self-serving ass, too. It was so smart at the end when Blomkvist runs into his nemesis with a girl Salander’s age on his arm, and Blomkvist so despises him for it. I like how in the end our hero really isn’t our hero. He really has only used Salander, and how far is that from hating women? It is certainly not respectful (hide spoiler)] . The hatred we condemn in this book, though, manifests as violence, and I can get behind featuring that and then fading out to Cicilia’s father condemning her as a whore and Blomkvist’s blissful self-absorption. It is a meaningful gradation. But, it is important that (view spoiler)[Blomkvist isn’t the ideal model of men being friends with women because he would be too specific – because there probably isn’t an ideal model. Larsson doesn’t justify Blomkvist’s assholery, but he is not so in love with his hero that he can’t acknowledge it (hide spoiler)] . And, aren’t we all assholes to each other a lot of the time? But not all of us get off on kneeing each other in the balls. This struck me as a very masculine translation of male hatred of women and the way women navigate a world that tells us every time we turn a corner that it hates us. It seems like men either have considered what life would be like if they had been trained to fear leaving the house after dark, or they haven’t. And in my experience, it is difficult for men to understand a woman’s words if she tries to describe it, so I think it is important to have a man tell a story this way. I do see how the graphic descriptions of sadistic violence against women might allow a sadistic audience to read only for that, but the fact that Larsson balances this with graphic violence against men neutralizes the gender-hatred aspect of that to me. And if you are reading these books for the violence, see a psychiatrist, but I don’t think it is productive to censor descriptions of violence just because someone fucked up might get off on them. And if you think these descriptions are fantastical exaggerations, go spend some time at your local women’s shelter. Unfortunately, I think you will find you are wrong. And I don't think it does anybody any good to be afraid to tell these stories. I hated the writing in this book a lot. Like, I hated it a lot. It both hit a lot of pet peeves of mine and it was just objectively bad in a lot of places. I don’t have a problem with books being badly written if the writing doesn’t get in the way of a good story, but here the writing was waiving its hands in my face the whole time trying to get me to lose the story. The sandwiches! OH TEH SANDWICHES! I wonder how much tourism for Sweden Larsson drummed up by the sandwich descriptions. I hope none because gag. I can see how he created the effect of an investigatory report through the writing, so, I think it is intentionally the way it is, but it was a choice I did not enjoy at all. So, overall this was a very unpleasant book to read, but it was smart, and its smartness outweighed its unpleasantness in my evaluation. It is always kind of a funny experience to read your own words as someone else would write them. In every Willa Cather novel I have read, there has been a moment where I’ve read something and thought, “I just said that last week!!!” It was funny in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: I wanted to high five Salander all the time because I would think her dialogue right before I read it. I imagine everyone in the world has told me to read this book because of the times I say, “Oh, another man who hates women.” Or that it is bullshit to say someone had a violent childhood, so of course he had to be violent against women as an adult. So, it was funny to read somebody else say those words. At the same time, Salander felt like a man recording the facts of what he saw a woman do and say once, not like a living, breathing human character. That doesn’t take away from the smartness of the book, but it is another reason my actual enjoyment factor was low. Also, I had to go buy pickles yesterday because reading about so many of them gave me a craving. I hope Larsson’s estate got some sponsorship money from the sandwich and pickle lobbies.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jayson

    (A) 85% | Extraordinary Notes: It’s a logical, captivating mystery where everything clicks into place. It gives backwoods Sweden a Transylvania feel.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    After having leaped onto the bandwagon with the rest of everyone, I feel a certain amount of pretentious indie pride saying that I wasn't as awed by this book as everyone else apparently was. Which is not to say that the book wasn't enjoyable and exciting; it just didn't knock my socks off whilst simultaneously blowing my mind and rocking my world. (that sounds like either some great song lyrics or a very complicated sexual maneuver. Let's go with the first option.) So, the good stuff: the main s After having leaped onto the bandwagon with the rest of everyone, I feel a certain amount of pretentious indie pride saying that I wasn't as awed by this book as everyone else apparently was. Which is not to say that the book wasn't enjoyable and exciting; it just didn't knock my socks off whilst simultaneously blowing my mind and rocking my world. (that sounds like either some great song lyrics or a very complicated sexual maneuver. Let's go with the first option.) So, the good stuff: the main story - a disgraced journalist is hired by a rich old man to write a book about said man's crazy rich family, while secretly working to discover truth behind the disappearance and supposed murder of the man's granddaughter. Also in play is Lisbeth Salander, a freelance investigator who also happens to be one of the best hackers in Sweden. She also happens to be made of awesome, but I'll get to that later. The journalist is investigating a supposed murder (a body was never found, so no one even knows what happened to the girl), so violence is expected. I just wasn't quite prepared for just how intensely graphic the violence is. There's a lot of stuff dealing with assault, rape, and murder of various women. There is also a lot of sex in the book, and the stuff that gets described in the most detail is definitely not consensual and will probably make you very uncomfortable. You've been warned. The investigation itself is pretty fascinating, implausible as it is that some random guy investigating a disappearance that took place 40 years ago was able to find out completely new leads that weren't found by the police or the girl's grandfather (who's been obsessing about the case since forever), but I digress. The family itself is equal parts interesting, creepy, and frustrating. It's not until the journalist (Blomkvist) teams up with Lisbeth that things get really interesting, and they made such a fun team I wanted them to get their own detective show. The book deals mainly with crimes against women and those who commit them. Larsson obviously feels very passionately about this subject, as well as what should be done with the men who assault women. Without giving anything away, rest assured that every bad guy rapist/murderer/whatever gets a large helping of tasty justice. And now for the bad stuff: -There's a lot of nattering on about business and computers and journalism and more business stuff that either bored me or went over my head completely. -Larsson cannot seem to decide whether he wants to refer to people by their last name or their first name, so he switches back and forth and it is confusing. -A family tree is provided at the beginning of the book, since the family the journalist is investigating (the Vangers) is pretty big, but I never had much trouble keeping everyone straight. A map of the island the family compound is located on would have been much more helpful, since I never really figured out the geography of the place. -Pointless details. I don't need to know what the characters ate for every single meal, I don't need to know exactly what model of computer/motorcycle/car a character uses, and I definitely don't need to know what each character is wearing at every moment of the day. Larsson is especially guilty of this when Lisbeth is concerned - I guess he decided we wouldn't understand what a unique counterculture tough chick she is unless we know that she's always wearing leather jackets, boots, torn jeans, and black t-shirts with angry slogans. (yes, Larsson actually tells us what each of Lisbeth's t-shirts says.) Listen, Stieg: Lisbeth is awesome. She is wonderfully defined simply through her own actions and thoughts - we don't even need the other characters constantly reminding us how antisocial and tough and uncommunicative and badass she is. Believe me, we can see that. Show don't tell etc. To sum up, I'm going to give the last word to the book itself, and quote a sentence that's actually a character talking about a book featured towards the end of the story - but it could easily describe Larsson's book: "It was uneven stylistically, and in places the writing was actually rather poor - there had been no time for any fine polishing - but the book was animated by a fury that no reader could help but notice." That, in a nutshell, was how I felt about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. UPDATE: I just watched the film version of this book (the original Swedish one, thank you verra much), and am adding this to my "the movie is better" shelf. Not that the book isn't good; it's just that the movie streamlines the story and gets rid of everything I complained about earlier in this review. In the movie, all the minor characters and business-drama babble has been eliminated, Erika and Mikael's weird three-way relationship is thankfully unmentioned, Mikael never boffs Cecilia Vanger, and Noomi Rapace is so fucking cool as Lisbeth I can't even handle it. I'm also pretty sure they took some stuff from The Girl Who Played With Fire and put it in the movie, because there's some stuff about Lisbeth's past that I don't remember from the book. UPDATE UPDATE: Having now seen the American remake, and re-watched the Swedish version, I have come to a following decision. While the American version is, in a technical sense, a better movie (Fincher is a much better director - for just one example, the scene where Henrik Vanger explains the circumstances of Harriet's disappearance is a masterful example of show-don't-tell), I dislike the changes they made to the ending, and I simply cannot accept Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. Although I'm proud of Fincher & Co. for making her look and act as weird as the character should, something about her portrayal still wasn't right. If you're interested, this article explains pretty much every complaint I have about American Lisbeth.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarita

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hey, kids, if you like books in which the only major descriptive moments happen during sexual torture scenes, where major characters lack motive, and where the red herrings...stink ... this book's for you! I may feel less strongly after a few days, but I am having a hard time believing this book has hit the best-seller lists in multiple countries. **Rant containing Mild Spoilers** Here are my complaints: 1. The entire book sets you up to think that the alleged killing/s were perpetrated by one or m Hey, kids, if you like books in which the only major descriptive moments happen during sexual torture scenes, where major characters lack motive, and where the red herrings...stink ... this book's for you! I may feel less strongly after a few days, but I am having a hard time believing this book has hit the best-seller lists in multiple countries. **Rant containing Mild Spoilers** Here are my complaints: 1. The entire book sets you up to think that the alleged killing/s were perpetrated by one or more people for complicated reasons. Spoiler: They're not. A murderer, at the climax, reveals, "I like killing [people]." That's the motive. That's it. 2. The title character has her macabre past detailed at length. The salient facts to the case - how did she come into possession of her detective-ing skills? - is left out entirely. Her emotional life is ignored until it's needed for a little plot development and then ignored again for a gazillion pages. She makes Kinsey Milhoney look like a guru of emotional awareness and self-knowledge. 3. When a MAJOR DEVELOPMENT happens in the case, like, THE MAJOR DEVELOPMENT, we the readers hear about its resolution third hand. A reunion occurs and we are not privvy to it, even though it's REALLY IMPORTANT. That is LAME. 4. Stop with the Mac commericials aleady. Is it possible that the well-financed campaign for this book had to do with the fact that the dead author couldn't object to selling Apple and Kawasaki shout-outs? 5.The two plot lines are almost entirely unrelated. They don't even intersect, really; one segues into a second, and then, when the second is wrapped up entirely, the first plot returns to end with a whimper. 6. There is a Lot of torture-porn in this book. Did I mention that? Detailed description of sexual abuse, incest, and general nastiness that does nothing to advance the plot. Really. It just takes up space making you think there are reasons for the murders, but ...no, see #1. We listened to this on cd and I kept trying to forward and ending up on the absolute worst moments. Blech. 7. Several passages written as an email conversation. It's like the author realized at a certain point that he was so bad at dialogue that he'd better just give it a rest for a while and instead use stilted telegraph talking. 8. This book was not fun or smart. I kept thinking it was about to be, but I was wrong. **End of Rant**

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    The original Swedish title of this book is "Men Who Hate Women." If you ask me, it suits this story much better than catchier but less relevant "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," because it is in fact about men doing all kinds of horrid things to women. So here is the first warning to you, if you don't handle violence against women and children well, skip this novel. It's hard to give a short synopsis of the book. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" starts off as an investigation of a 40-year old The original Swedish title of this book is "Men Who Hate Women." If you ask me, it suits this story much better than catchier but less relevant "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," because it is in fact about men doing all kinds of horrid things to women. So here is the first warning to you, if you don't handle violence against women and children well, skip this novel. It's hard to give a short synopsis of the book. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" starts off as an investigation of a 40-year old disappearance of a teenage heiress, but gradually morphs into a tale of serial murder and corporate trickery spanning several continents and later takes in complicated international financial fraud and the buried evil past of a wealthy Swedish industrial family. I found this book extremely engaging and full of action and came to regret many times that I had an audio version instead of a regular paper book. I also enjoyed immensely the amount details about everything - the publishing business, twisted Swedish family, corporate crime, history and political order of Sweden, etc. I am guessing if you don't care to read about any of this subjects, this book is not for you, because it is packed with this information. My only qualm about this book, a small one, was the characterization. The character of Mikael Blomkvist smelled of a male wish fulfillment fantasy, the one where a man is adored by all women, gets laid all the time and always gets lauded for his stellar bedroom skills. Lisbeth Salander also felt a little shaky and I thought Asberger's decease didn't quite account for her strange personality. I thought her antisocial behavior was inconsistent. This however didn't spoil my reading experience. I am eager to move on to "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and see what Mikael and Lisbeth are up to next.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I re-read this book by audio and even though the narrator was good, he didn't do a good job on Lisbeth's voice. I wish that Noomi Rapace would have done her own voice. That would have been awesome. So, I have been a fan of this series for quite some time. I have the movie trilogy box set of the books that are fan freaking tastic! Although, now I have to switch from dvd to blu-ray! I also have a couple of different copies of the books! Lisbeth Salander is just freaking awesome. She's so bloody sm I re-read this book by audio and even though the narrator was good, he didn't do a good job on Lisbeth's voice. I wish that Noomi Rapace would have done her own voice. That would have been awesome. So, I have been a fan of this series for quite some time. I have the movie trilogy box set of the books that are fan freaking tastic! Although, now I have to switch from dvd to blu-ray! I also have a couple of different copies of the books! Lisbeth Salander is just freaking awesome. She's so bloody smart, I wish I was as smart as her and could be an awesome hacker like her too. Lol. I freaking loved when she got back at the [email protected] who raped her as well. Wheewwwww, if only everyone could get that kind of revenge on their rapist. Oh, happy day! There are other things going on in the book but the main story line is about an uncle wanting to find out what happened to his niece, Harriet. He ends up hiring Mikael Blomkvist to find out what happened. Then Mikael gets lucky to have Lisbeth help him. Do these two find out some secrets! Mikael almost gets killed a time or two. Makes you wonder what all they are hiding! And of course, it's a big ole nasty secret. Why am I not surprised. It was just as hard to read about the second time around. Of course, there were other scenes that I had to skim through again, but I digress. If you haven't wandered into the world that is Lisbeth Salander, what are you waiting for? And try and watch the movie trilogy. They used to have it on Netflix, that is where I originally watched them and then went straight to Amazon to buy them. Yes, they are that good as well as the books. Happy Reading!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to solve the decades-old murder of Harriet Vanger, member of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. Aided by a tattooed, antisocial hacker named Lisabeth Salander, Blomkvist unearths horrible skeletons lurking in the Vanger family closet... For a few years now, I've been avoiding The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since so many people told me I just had to read it, many of them non-readers, I assumed it was a lot of over-hyped, dumbed-down crap. Wel Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to solve the decades-old murder of Harriet Vanger, member of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. Aided by a tattooed, antisocial hacker named Lisabeth Salander, Blomkvist unearths horrible skeletons lurking in the Vanger family closet... For a few years now, I've been avoiding The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since so many people told me I just had to read it, many of them non-readers, I assumed it was a lot of over-hyped, dumbed-down crap. Well, I may have been wrong. All hype aside, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a damn good book and I feel it goes beyond just being a mystery. Larsson creates some memorable characters. We've got Mikael Blomkvist, the tarnished journalist, Lisabeth Salander, bad ass hacker, for the leads, both multidimensional characters. Neither are by any means perfect but I liked them just the same. The Vanger family and the staff of the Millennium aren't as well drawn as the leads but Ericka Berger and some of the Vangers are good characters in their own right. I'll be honest. It took a little while for me to get moving but I was enthralled pretty early on. You wouldn't have thought I'd be that interesting in what could have been a tedious subject to read about, namely researching family archives for hints. Somehow Larsson managed to grab me, though. There isn't a lot of violence but what there is is pretty brutal. The hacking was pretty well done and not completely unbelievable. I guess what really sold the book for me was that I really believed in the characters. Both of them are pretty flawed but completely believable. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a some complaints. Aside from the pace, I felt like Larsson threw in some needless details. I didn't need to know the brands of a lot of products or what the characters were eating. I also thought that Mikael Blomkvist being a sort of James Bond in regard to the ladies was a tad unbelievable. Honestly, those are my only two complaints I can think of at the moment. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo deserves a lot of the hype it gets. Now go out and read it if you haven't already! Edit: I'm marking this down because I'm reading In the Woods and enjoying it more than I enjoyed this. I was kind of a whore with my 5s in past years.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    I HATED this book. I don't understand all of the good reviews that are coming in on it. I hated the characters, the plot was thin - ugh. I can't believe I read the whole thing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    El

    He slapped her hard. Salander opened her eyes wide, but before she could react, he grabbed her by the shoulder and threw her on to the bed. The violence caught her by surprise. When she tried to turn over, he pressed her down on the bed and straddled her. That's just to give you a little taste of what one is dealing with by picking up this book. If you can handle that and the previous x amount of paragraphs and the following x amount of paragraphs, you're golden. If that sort of makes that thing He slapped her hard. Salander opened her eyes wide, but before she could react, he grabbed her by the shoulder and threw her on to the bed. The violence caught her by surprise. When she tried to turn over, he pressed her down on the bed and straddled her. That's just to give you a little taste of what one is dealing with by picking up this book. If you can handle that and the previous x amount of paragraphs and the following x amount of paragraphs, you're golden. If that sort of makes that thing in your throat rise up a little bit and make your mouth taste sour, you might reconsider reading this book. Carry on. I wasn't going to read this book, ever. But then I saw the theater up the street from me (a cool one that plays those indie and art films, and their popcorn is always sort of either stale or slightly burnt, and the employees all have an air of snootiness - it's one of my favorite places in town) is showing the foreign movie. My first thought was, "When did they make a movie of this book?" My second thought was, "Dammit. I sort of want to see that movie." My third thought was, "Sonsofbitches. I can't see it until I read it." (Yes, I'm hard on myself, thanks.) So last weekend when we went out of town I decided it was the best time to purchase it and read it. The mini-break was going to entail my boyfriend spending hours playing guitars with his brother and then later with his BFF, and his brother's fiance and his BFF's wife were all conveniently elsewhere for the most part, so I had the fantastic opportunity to tag along and not have to do a damn thing. I sat on the couch/futon/floor and read. I read a freaking lot. This was the book I had along to read. It passed the time. It didn't bore me. It held my attention. And... that's about it. It didn't turn my world upside down, or even teeter it necessarily. This is what I like to refer to as a nice popcorn read. I didn't have to give it a lot of thought, the story sort of did the work for me, I was just an innocent and willing bystander. I actually got a little annoyed the few times when it felt like I was beginning to have to work. Like figuring out who the hell Larsson was talking about at any given moment - he was apparently one of those authors who liked to use a character's first name in one sentence and then refer to the same character by their last name in the next sentence. What's up with that? Make a freaking decision and stick with it. Eventually I stopped caring so much. My biggest annoyance with the book (and likely to be the most offense to lovers of this book who stumble across my humble review here) was not the violence and the rape; it actually was Lisbeth Salander. The female protagonist. Okay, so she's cool. I get that. She's Hotty-McHotterson, all corporate and world-weary and a computer hacker to boot. She's pierced and inked, and for some reason this is such a source of fascination for Larsson (and apparently everyone who reads this book). Every time Salander comes into the story there is a mention about her piercings, her surly attitude, her tough clothes, her tattoos. At one point another character counts her tattoos. Six. Six. This apparently contributes to some point Larsson was trying to make that Salander is a social freak, but he's still clearly obsessed with the image of her. For the record, numerous piercings, surly attitudes, tough clothes and six tattoos sums up just about every female I know. It's not all that bizarre. This is, after all, the 21st century. Anyone who lived through the 80s/90s either embodies all of those things or at least doesn't bat an eyelash at those things in others. Maybe it's different in Sweden. Maybe they're just now getting the whole dyed-hair-pierced-faces-crazy-tattoos craze there. Wow. Way to go, Sweden. Maybe if you all hadn't spent the last 30 years listening to ABBA and Europe obsessively, you might actually not find kick-ass girls in boots all that magical. All of these unfair generalizations aside, I can honestly say that I read this book and I'm not all that excited about it. I'm not dying to read the next one, but I'm sure I will eventually (probably if they make a movie of it too). I'm certainly not waiting with bated breath for the third book in the trilogy to come out. I guess I'm just not that fascinated by Salander in particular, so I don't really care what happens to her next. Maybe the movie will make me feel differently. We'll see. ETA (01/14/12): I have since read The Girl Who Played with Fire which I enjoyed more than this first book, though my impression of Lisbeth hadn't changed that much. I have also seen the Hollywood version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which I liked more than the book because the performances were fantastic, Fincher is a wonderful director, and I felt like the characters could breathe which is something I felt they were unable to do in the book because they were so constricted and pigeon-holed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Larsson takes what seemed at the outset to be a juicy 'locked-island-mystery plot' and turns it first into an insightful family saga and then into a scathing political and social commentary that forces us to think about such a wide variety of themes and aspects that we normally refuse to accept as part of society. It takes an author like Larsson to shove it in our faces in all its stinking ugliness for us to stop turning the blind eye at these atrocities. Do not mistake this for a mere fictional Larsson takes what seemed at the outset to be a juicy 'locked-island-mystery plot' and turns it first into an insightful family saga and then into a scathing political and social commentary that forces us to think about such a wide variety of themes and aspects that we normally refuse to accept as part of society. It takes an author like Larsson to shove it in our faces in all its stinking ugliness for us to stop turning the blind eye at these atrocities. Do not mistake this for a mere fictional work with imagined crimes. It has firm foundations in reality. In my opinion, the whole plot is a thin wrap-sheet thrown around the brutal truths of real crimes. Larsson has extensive knowledge of the most heinous crimes and he has written extensively about them for his entire professional career. This expertise shows through in his description of such acts of unimaginable cruelty with an almost nonchalant objectivity, with a careless leaving out of the gory details and focus on the trivial aspects of the act that sends shivers down our spine. Larsson uses his investigative style of presentation and his two main characters and an extremely dysfunctional family to work in an amazing variety of potent themes into his first book. I cannot wait to see what he’ll do in the second one. Some of the themes explored in detail are: Online Privacy This is not part of the plot but Larsson seems to be sending out a warning about how deadly information can be in the wrong hands and how easily accessible any private info about you stored in digital form is. You are exposed and absolutely naked to a determined digital assault and there is nothing you can do about it. Of course in the novel it is never misused but the threat is always hanging in the air - if an uneducated girl and her friends can get the most private information about the most protected individuals in the country, what kind of a world are we heading into? And is it really bad? Food for thought... Feminism No matter which way you look at it, this work will have to defined as one of the most wrathful outcries against society's attitude towards women. The entire story is about the enormous acts of cruelty committed against women and the absolute indifference to it by everyone who is supposed to care. It is also about the different responses that these women have in such an uncaring society. Which brings us to the most important theme of the book in my opinion: Morality and Allocation of Blame The book is truly about three paths that a victim can take after an abused childhood. One of the characters suffers abuse and decides to become an abuser himself and embrace it as a fact of life The second one suffers abuse and decides to run away from that life and live faraway and sheltered. No attempt is made to punish the abuser or to report it. The third character too suffers abuse but decides to confront it and return it with a vengeance. No violence or abuse is tolerated and any reaction is justified for this character. The fourth is the invisible character of what we expect a person to do in such a situation - report it, seek help from the authorities who are supposed to protect them. The society around and the grim reality that prompted the book gives the outcome to this course of action. Now the key point to me was that Larsson does not condemn any of them - he makes different characters speak in defense for each of these responses and lets us wonder about which course can ever be called right. in the end he manages to condemn both the society as a whole as well as us, the individuals who allow the society to be so. A caricature of morality. Law, Crime & BDSM Larsson's extensive knowledge about the worst forms of crime and the procedure of law allows him to give a gruesome reality to what we usually consider to be just sadistic fiction. He convinces the reader that it is real and all around us if we only cared enough to look. Nazi History, Military Training, Religious Extremism & Apologetics These are also touched upon at various points in the books and provides a background, especially of Swedish Nazism, from which the excuses for all the real crimes in the books could spring from. Journalistic (Professional) Ethics This too is quite obviously one of the favorite topics for Larsson and it forms a strong undercurrent throughout the book and comes to a head with the firm conviction of the lead character that he is finally a corrupt journalist. He is reassured that he has done the right thing by choosing between being a professional and being a human being. But we as the readers, the character and the author, all know that this is not remotely convincing. Justice was meted out selectively and subjectively in the end and even though it feels right, that is only because of personal knowledge. Is that enough? Financial & Economic Commentary, Industrial Espionage and Hacker-lore Large parts of the book goes into great detail about industrial politics and machinations and is sometimes quite boring to be frank, but it adds credence to the plot and has to be borne out. The elaborate hacker methodology too is a drag at times but remains mostly interesting and strangely disturbing. The financial interplay and the economic commentary sounds a bit forced but Larsson still manages to give out some forceful ideas such as: “We’re experiencing the largest single drop in the history of the Swedish stock exchange—and you think that’s nonsense?” “You have to distinguish between two things—the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skövde. That’s the Swedish economy, and it’s just as strong or weak today as it was a week ago.” He paused for effect and took a sip of water. “The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or with the Swedish economy.” “So you’re saying that it doesn’t matter if the Stock Exchange drops like a rock?” “No, it doesn’t matter at all,” Blomkvist said in a voice so weary and resigned that he sounded like some sort of oracle. His words would be quoted many times over the following year. Family & Incest What it means to be a family and the inevitable nature of family relationships too seem to haunt Larsson and he gives free reign to his fears and troubles about family life, incest, indifference and corporate life affecting personal relations. He also asks the question of whether we can ever truly judge a person based on corporate success without knowing his relationships with his family and his personal life. There are probably other important ones that I have failed to mention but these were, in my opinion, the things that the book was meant to shine a torchlight on. On The Characters I found this in an interview with Larsson and it captures the enigma of the two amazing main characters: “I considered Pippi Longstocking,” he said, referring to the most famous creation of the Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren, a girl so strong she could carry a horse. “What would she be like today? What would she be like as an adult? What would you call a person like that, a sociopath? Hyperactive? Wrong. She simply sees society in a different light. I’ll make her 25 years old and an outcast. She has no friends and is deficient in social skills. That was my original thought.” That thought evolved into Larsson’s formidable heroine, Lisbeth Salander. But he felt Salander needed a counterweight if his story was to be a success. Once again he turned to one of Lindgren’s characters, this time to Kalle Blomkvist, boy detective. “Only now he’s 45 years old and a journalist [called Mikael Blomkvist]. An altruistic know-it-all who publishes a magazine called Millennium. The story will revolve around the people who work there.” Personal Impressions While I loved the book wholeheartedly, I still had a few unfavorable impressions: Some of the side characters are a bit sketchy not fully realized. Especially some of the family members including Martin who did not get a gradual transition that a character like him deserved for maximum impact. The stylistically simple nature of the chapters and the book structure too takes away from the sophistication of the detail and plot. A bit more variety in the technique than a simple shift-of-perspective would have been better and less obvious. Also the tension eases off at all the wrong moments, primarily because Larsson has given a portent of things to come later too easily for a whodunnit. The pace too is not consistent and we spend a lot of time seeing scenery and almost every chapter opens with making coffee or with long uneventful walks. In the end, the reader does not get the pleasure of a proper whodunnit as there were no hidden clues spread across the book and in spite of homages throughout the book to masters of crime and mystery fiction, Larsson at some point decided to make his book not fit to the thrill of that genre and moved instead to far more sinister territories. The last section of the book felt much like a filler and had way too much detail and predictable action and could just as well have been left to the reader's imagination. The long winding down has put me off from any tension that would have made me run for the second book immediately. Now that everything is calm and quiet in the Millennium world, I too can take an idyllic break from it all... A good editor and more time to polish would have made this into a definite modern masterpiece, which I strongly suspect it to be already. But in spite of the flaws we still have an opus and some unforgettable characters that will stay with us for a long time to come. One Final Note: All the villains have a Windows PC and all the heroes have an Apple notebook. Splendid thing to use in a book about corporate morality among other things. I think this tipped the scales for the book to be a bestseller!

  14. 5 out of 5

    F

    My very first time reading a mystery/detective novel. Loved it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Loved! an interesting,mystery filled and a very thrill-seeking storyline..well written,nice movie also (paperback!)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelli Marko

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is really a 1.5 stars. Ok, there was a good mystery during the middle third of the book. THere were alot of characters. There was suspense. AND there was also those first 200+ painful pages of character introduction and back story. That equals 1/3 of the whole book. Who slogged through those first 200 to find out that the mystery picks up? How did this series get so huge? And there was also a plot that revolved around rape, violence, torture, murder and endless degredation of women. My quest This is really a 1.5 stars. Ok, there was a good mystery during the middle third of the book. THere were alot of characters. There was suspense. AND there was also those first 200+ painful pages of character introduction and back story. That equals 1/3 of the whole book. Who slogged through those first 200 to find out that the mystery picks up? How did this series get so huge? And there was also a plot that revolved around rape, violence, torture, murder and endless degredation of women. My question is: is this necessary to fictionalize? What do we gain from it? Of the two main characters, only LisBeth Salander was a character that I cared about and wanted the best for. She also seemed crucial to the plot. Mikael "Kalle" Blomvquist had no character arc. He was not a dynamic character - just a detective with no growth or change. I just didn't get it, but I slogged through for book club and the right of free expression!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Buckle up. It's gonna be...a slow ride until about halfway through. Then it's hairpin turn after hairpin turn at breakneck speed. Whiplash. This book was a bit difficult to get into. Mikael Blomkvist (a journalist) is sentenced to jail for liable. He knows he's right. His team knows he's right. But they don't have enough evidence to overturn it. His magazine is about to go under and with this jail scandal....let's just say life isn't a bouquet of roses. Henrik Vanger - ex-head of the Vanger corpor Buckle up. It's gonna be...a slow ride until about halfway through. Then it's hairpin turn after hairpin turn at breakneck speed. Whiplash. This book was a bit difficult to get into. Mikael Blomkvist (a journalist) is sentenced to jail for liable. He knows he's right. His team knows he's right. But they don't have enough evidence to overturn it. His magazine is about to go under and with this jail scandal....let's just say life isn't a bouquet of roses. Henrik Vanger - ex-head of the Vanger corporation - decides to hire Mikael for a special assignment: writing the family history. However, that is just a cover. His real job? Solve a decades-old murder of Henrik's favorite niece (Harriet). Mikael soon teams up with Lisbeth Salander. She's a hacker extraordinaire with her own, peculiar brand of justice. She's simply stunning and absolutely puts all other heroines to shame. An absolute motherfreaking badass. Together, they discover far more than their wildest nightmares. NOTE: This was my third time through, and honestly...third time's the charm. Attempt 1: Eighth Grade. Read up until the financial scam and lost interest (DNF). Attempt 2: Learned that this was my grandfather's fave book. I wanted to have something in common with him so I reluctantly picked it up. I listened to the audiobook and became engrossed in the mystery but frequently lost track of who was who. I'm still glad I tried it because it gave me something to write to him about in the weekly letters. Attempt 3: It's been a bit over a year since my grandfather passed and I just felt like I needed to read it again. Reading this book for the third time just blew my mind. It's partly because I was constantly reminded of him and partially because I'm familiar enough with the plot/characters that I can pick up on all the things I missed earlier. It's been a bittersweet reread. The 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge - Nordic Noir Audiobook Comments Read by Simon Vance and he was just the absolute perfect voice for this book. Really, truly a great listen. Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    Thanks to the slew of Swedish and Hollywood movies, everyone knows that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a story of a kickass hacker Lisbeth Salander who has the eponymous tattoo and a knack for solving decades-old murders. Well, not exactly. Lisbeth is awesome and badass, no doubt there, but this book is so much more than just her story, and focusing solely on that undermines the message Stieg Larsson was sending. The original Swedish title is Men Who Hate Women and it is precisely what the Thanks to the slew of Swedish and Hollywood movies, everyone knows that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a story of a kickass hacker Lisbeth Salander who has the eponymous tattoo and a knack for solving decades-old murders. Well, not exactly. Lisbeth is awesome and badass, no doubt there, but this book is so much more than just her story, and focusing solely on that undermines the message Stieg Larsson was sending. The original Swedish title is Men Who Hate Women and it is precisely what the story is about. (*) * I am pretty sure it received its Book Witness Protection Program name change treatment to avoid being seen as "that feminist crap" in the English-speaking society. Where "feminist" sadly may still be viewed as an insult. Apparently a teenage Larsson witnessed and failed to stop rape of a young woman. He was so affected by it that he wrote his magnum opus to make amends for the witnessed atrocity. Thus we have Men Who Hate Women, which is a short description of the focus of his entire Millenium series. Larsson speaks up - angrily, loudly, with conviction - on behalf of not just Salander but all women who have been marginalized, dismissed, paternalised, silenced, treated as inferior, treated as property, overlooked, infantilized, sexualized, assaulted, and murdered. Larsson, like his protagonist Blomkvist, was an investigative journalist who specialized in airing out stuff that many "higher-ups" would want to see left alone. (**) ** To quote Terry Pratchett (all bow to his genius), "It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it." This book is an angry and poignant social commentary on the right-wing extremism, prejudice, Nazi leanings, and of course misogyny that still permeate even the quintessential European paradise country of Sweden. Larsson condemns all this, and in his journalism-like style does not hold back the slightest bit. And it is often an uncomfortable read as we see and recognize all those little societal bits and conventions that make these prejudices and even violence possible. Larsson may not be the most skillful writer, his prose may suffer from long-windedness and overabundance of details (seriously, at times it reads like a cross between a diary and a shopping catalog), but he has strong opinions on painful subjects and is not afraid to let them be known. He had this attitude both in his journalism and his fiction, and I applaud him for that. 3 stars only because of weak prose, but full marks for content.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Not sure what all the hype was about. The first 1/3 of the book showed promise. Two seperate characters who will soon cross paths. Kind of classic mystery story telling. But then it has some moments of perversity that didn't really need to be in the story. Kind of creepy and weird. I guess there is not a lot to do in Sweden. The second part they are together on an island trying to solve a mystery that was never really engaging. They had to find out what happened to a girl forty years ago. Wow! Not sure what all the hype was about. The first 1/3 of the book showed promise. Two seperate characters who will soon cross paths. Kind of classic mystery story telling. But then it has some moments of perversity that didn't really need to be in the story. Kind of creepy and weird. I guess there is not a lot to do in Sweden. The second part they are together on an island trying to solve a mystery that was never really engaging. They had to find out what happened to a girl forty years ago. Wow! Exciting stuff. Oh and some family members were part of the Nazi party sixty years ago. Uh ok. Not sure why that is relevant but every good mystery needs a Nazi or two I'm sure. The story brings out more sexual darkness (I can see the tourist ads now for Sweden) and disolves into a weird sexual torture/homosexual/incest tale. No Beastiality? C'mon! I feel cheated! The last 1/3 of the book was never really needed because the mystery is over and it basically takes the author 100 pages to wrap it up. Oh and we find out his longtime lover is into B&D and S&M. Why this is important? I have no idea. But it was important to Stieg. I like to call him Stieg because, even though he is dead, I feel that we are on a first name basis after the author uses "buttplug" in his book. It was not that great of a book. I am shocked at all the great reviews. A girlfriend of mine agreed with all the problems I had with the book yet she still loved it. This seems to be the case with many book groups. Why? I don't understand admitting the book is crap but still loving it. The end results were not remotely believable. A woman comes off a sheep ranch where she has been living for the last forty years and immediately takes over a fortune 500 type company. Uh, ok? Characters were either tossed aside quickly (then why have them?) or never developed. Another reviewer mentioned the product placement. I did find it strange that the author seemed to have a Mac fetish among many others. Also, his main character is the self appointed moral watchdog of companies (because capitalism is evil I guess) yet can't keep his zipper zipped. This book did not encourage me to visit Sweden any time soon. Also, as an Elvis fan, I did not appreciate the last line in the book. I just saw the Swedish film adaptation of the book and I actually enjoyed it. This was the first time I have ever said, "The film was better than the book." Now I hear there will be an American version. Which we all know will be crap.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Luffy

    Now that's what I'm talking about! I've never seen the genre political thriller get mentioned on Goodreads, but here is a prime candidate for this moniker. The translation seems elaborate, genuine, and faithful enough. The places or settings in the book are descriptive. The scenes are well lit. As for the plot, it's quite intricate. Read it and find out! The characterization is not world class, but the author gives the impression that he could write purple prose, if he wanted to. There is blackmai Now that's what I'm talking about! I've never seen the genre political thriller get mentioned on Goodreads, but here is a prime candidate for this moniker. The translation seems elaborate, genuine, and faithful enough. The places or settings in the book are descriptive. The scenes are well lit. As for the plot, it's quite intricate. Read it and find out! The characterization is not world class, but the author gives the impression that he could write purple prose, if he wanted to. There is blackmail present in the book, and also deciphering of names, there are misdirections galore. Stieg Larsson packed so much in this book, you got to admire his work ethic. Five well earned stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    One of the best thrillers I've ever read. Great story, great characters, very intelligent and thoughtful. Writing is nothing special but it doesn't need to be. ___________________________________________ I finally saw the movie a couple of days ago, and I'm a bit conflicted. On the plus side, it conveys the feel of the book very well, and several of the main characters are excellently realized. I particularly liked Lisbeth, who was just perfect. But they have taken some enormous liberties with the One of the best thrillers I've ever read. Great story, great characters, very intelligent and thoughtful. Writing is nothing special but it doesn't need to be. ___________________________________________ I finally saw the movie a couple of days ago, and I'm a bit conflicted. On the plus side, it conveys the feel of the book very well, and several of the main characters are excellently realized. I particularly liked Lisbeth, who was just perfect. But they have taken some enormous liberties with the story. For example, Erika, who in the book is a central figure, has almost disappeared. So if you're a purist, you might want to avoid this, but in the end I decided I liked it. I guess it's just a bit too long, and cuts were necessary. ___________________________________________ I just read the following passage in Precious Williams's review of this book, but I have seen at least half a dozen similar ones:The constant references to sandwiches (you get the impression the Swedes eat at least an entire loaf of bread every day), coffee (how on earth do they manage to sleep?) and breasts became tedious very rapidly.I can stay silent no longer. Precious and others, I lived in Sweden for most of the 80s, and I can tell that you Stieg Larsson wasn't making it up: 1. Sandwiches. Yes, you're right: Swedes love sandwiches. There's a widespread belief that eating bread is good for you. When I was there, I caught the tailend of a popular campaign by the Ministry of Health, whose tagline was Ät 6-8 skivor bröd om dagen - eat 6-8 slices of bread a day. Moreover, Swedish bread is delicious. I'm thinking about kruskalimpa and rågrut right now and my mouth is watering. If they were on sale here, I'd definitely eat more sandwiches. 2. Coffee. Swedes used to drink more coffee per capita than any other county in the world, though I understand that they've now slipped a couple of places. It's powerful stuff too, but you get used to it. Fun facts: Swedish has a verb fika, meaning "to drink coffee" and a noun, påtår, meaning "a second cup of coffee". You know, the old Eskimo/snow thing. 3. Breasts. Topless sunbathing is popular in Sweden, and Swedes are in general extremely relaxed about nudity. Swedish men have pretty much the same interests as men everywhere else in the world. If I were drunk I'd probably recount an anecdote or two at this point, but as it is I'm afraid you'll just have to take my word for it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    karen

    we are in low-three land here. but at least i am learning things about sweden! for example: ladies in sweden just kind of shrug off sexual abuse! they are rape-teflon! this i am learning from the facts provided at the beginning of chapters, and from various characters' reactions to events. they just brush themselves off and go back to eating sandwiches. yes, that is another thing i learned: the swedes eat sandwiches. exclusively. if you excise every occurrence of the words "coffee" and "sandwich we are in low-three land here. but at least i am learning things about sweden! for example: ladies in sweden just kind of shrug off sexual abuse! they are rape-teflon! this i am learning from the facts provided at the beginning of chapters, and from various characters' reactions to events. they just brush themselves off and go back to eating sandwiches. yes, that is another thing i learned: the swedes eat sandwiches. exclusively. if you excise every occurrence of the words "coffee" and "sandwiches" from the text, you will be left with a book maybe half the size of what it is now. it is like larsson had some sort of writing tic that when he was stuck for what the characters should do next, he would just bang out, "eat sandwiches and coffee". sweden is overall a sexually permissive country - women will share their men with a "no harm done" attitude of complacency - there will be handshakes and smiles all around. and perhaps a sandwich! sweden's prisons are fun places where a guy can really get some rest before he goes back into the world to sex up some more ladies - consensually, of course. these are the wonders of sweden, as presented by the girl with the dragon tattoo. so those constitute my "ughs" i really just don't understand the mass appeal of this book. there are crimes committed in this book for no other reason than character development. that, to me, is an odd way to write a book. there is a density to the writing that is enjoyable, but the dénouement is incredibly abrupt, and then there is just... more story... true, it is a wrapping-up of another plotline, but the energy that should follow the big whodunit seems compromised by about fifty pages of plot. the reader becomes emotionally invested in one storyline and intellectually invested in the other... after the emotional plot is spent, who wants to read a long subplot wrap-up? this is coming from someone who doesn't read a lot of mysteries, but knows how they should be shaped. and i rather liked the subplot wrap-up, but my attentions as a reader were confused. questions i am forced to ask: is the hype just because of author-death? and the mystique therein? because this guy ain't no mishima, is all i'm saying. is there a distinction between autism and sociopathy? what was the point of the character of cecelia? are three facial piercings and 4 tattoos really considered to be that "weird" and excessive in sweden? and while we are on the subject - i am so sick of hot-goth-computer-hacker characters. i was sick of it wayyyy back here: and here: and i don't even watch this show, but i am aware of it: i announce:it is enough already. get a new cliché. like "average-build girl who sometimes listens to dave matthews". or "girl who dresses office-appropriate and sometimes smokes pot on weekends". cybergoth chicks are over, people... the book is fine, i may or may not read the other ones - this one was for class, but now that i have read one, i am almost compelled to finish it off. this is the reason i don't usually read genre fiction. i cannot commit to 11 books, or whatever... but i may have just mentally committed to 2. come to my blog!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Nordic noir of the highest order and very entertaining. Larsson’s 2005 Swedish publication Män som hatar kvinnor “Men Who Hate Women” was later translated and published in English in 2008 by Steven T. Murray, by that time already an international best-seller. And for good reason. Complicated, intricate, and intelligent, Larsson’s journalistic prose is crisp and logical. Filled with interesting characters, exciting scenes and this just flows very well. Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are two Nordic noir of the highest order and very entertaining. Larsson’s 2005 Swedish publication Män som hatar kvinnor “Men Who Hate Women” was later translated and published in English in 2008 by Steven T. Murray, by that time already an international best-seller. And for good reason. Complicated, intricate, and intelligent, Larsson’s journalistic prose is crisp and logical. Filled with interesting characters, exciting scenes and this just flows very well. Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are two of the most interesting characters in recent fiction. Larsson’s great achievement, though, is not just in their creation, but in the dynamic chemistry he has fused between them. One of the best accolades that can be given a work is that it was hard to put down, and that most definitely applies here. I can easily understand why it has become so popular.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James

    5 stars to Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You heard all the hype about the author who died and his books weren't published. You heard that they were translated into English. You heard they were great and both Sweden and Hollywood were making a movie of it. Well, it's all true. So is the fact that this is a must read for every mystery fan! Story So many plots, so little time. Basically, the primary plot is about a missing girl. A relative wants to find out what happened that mys 5 stars to Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You heard all the hype about the author who died and his books weren't published. You heard that they were translated into English. You heard they were great and both Sweden and Hollywood were making a movie of it. Well, it's all true. So is the fact that this is a must read for every mystery fan! Story So many plots, so little time. Basically, the primary plot is about a missing girl. A relative wants to find out what happened that mysterious day decades ago. Enter a flawed newspaper report. Enter a troubled hacker. Enter a few romances. Mischief. Confusion. Alliances. Enemies. And none of that includes the rather extensive family of the missing girl -- some who believe she died, some who couldn't even care more. The story weaves in and out telling the various plights of the hacker, the newspaper man and the family with secrets. It comes together in an explosive way -- every plot twist imaginable all combined into one. The description of the death scenes are so vivid that feel like you are there! By the end, I wanted to meet these people... and so will you. Strengths 1. The characters are just a force not to be reckoned with. You will have strong feelings towards ALL of them. 2. The plot and the way in which Larsson weaves the sub-plots together. It's genius and it's captivating. Weaknesses 1. Really none... it's not for the easy reader or one who wants a straightforward, simple story. You have to want the complexity. Final Thoughts Get it now. Don't watch the movie. Maybe learn Swedish so you can read the story in it's written language. But to be honest, the translation hardly misses a beat. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Man som hatar kvinnor = The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1), Stieg Larsson عنوانها: دختری با نشان اژدها؛ دختری با خالکوبی اژدها؛ دختری که رازی کهنه را آشکار کرد؛ عنوان سوئدی: مردانی که از زنان نفرت دارند؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه جولای سال 2012 میلادی عنوان: دختری با خالکوبی اژدها - کتاب اول؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ مترجم: اصغر اندرودی؛ کرج، در دانش، 1389؛ در 620 ص؛ شابک: 9789641741299؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان سوئدی قرن 20 م عنوا Män som hatar kvinnor = The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1), Stieg Larsson عنوانها: دختری با نشان اژدها؛ دختری با خالکوبی اژدها؛ دختری که رازی کهنه را آشکار کرد؛ عنوان سوئدی: مردانی که از زنان نفرت دارند؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه جولای سال 2012 میلادی عنوان: دختری با خالکوبی اژدها - کتاب اول؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ مترجم: اصغر اندرودی؛ کرج، در دانش، 1389؛ در 620 ص؛ شابک: 9789641741299؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان سوئدی قرن 20 م عنوان: دختری با خالکوبی اژدها؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ مترجم: شیما دلدوزی؛ تهران، نشر گستر، 1389؛ در 508 ص؛ شابک: 9786005883244؛ عنوان: دختری با نشان اژدها؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ مترجم: شرکت رایان فراسو؛ تهران، سروش گستر، 1390؛ در 485 ص؛ شابک: 9786006369020؛ عنوان: دختری با نشان اژدها؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ مترجم: علی منصوری؛ قم، بهمن آرا، 1391؛ در 715 ص؛ شابک: 9786006013091؛ عنوان: دختری با نشان اژدها؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ مترجم: آزاده حیدریان؛ تهران، چکاوک پگاه، 1393؛ در 670 ص؛ شابک: 9786006013091؛ عنوان: دختری که رازی کهنه را آشکار کرد - کتاب اول؛ نویسنده: استیگ لارسن (لارسون)؛ مترجم: میترا کیوان مهر؛ تهران، نشر قطره، 1394؛ در 704 ص؛ شابک: 9786001196324؛ با عنوان سوئدی: مردانی که از زنان نفرت دارند؛ رمانی دلهره‌ آور، و جنایی که توسط نویسنده و روزنامه‌ نگار سوئدی: استیگ لارسن نوشته شده و نخستین کتاب از سری سه‌ گانه ی: «هزاره» است، که در سال 2005 میلادی، یک سال پس از مرگ ناگهانی نویسنده اش، در سوئد منتشر گردید. داستان با یک جریان مرموز و جذاب آغاز می‌شود. هنریک ونگر یک صنعتگر بازنشسته ی هشتاد ساله، میکائیل بلومکویست را، که یک محقق و پژوهشگر، روزنامه‌ نگار، و ویراستار مجله‌ ای به نام «هزاره» است، و به تازگی پرونده‌ ای را در شرایط بسیار بد، از دست داده، برای پژوهش درباره ی ناپدید شدن خواهرزاده ی خویش «هریئت»، که در حدود چهل سال پیش ناپدید شده، استخدام می‌کند. غافل از اینکه، ونگر پیشتر سابقه ی شخصی و حرفه‌ ای بلومکویست را بررسی کرده؛ هریئت از جزیره‌ ای که بیشتر آن متعلق به خانواده ونگر بوده، ناپدید شده بود. بلومکویست با وجود تردیدی که داشت، پس از آنکه هنریک ونگر به او بیش از دو میلیون کرونور را پیشنهاد کرد، در قبال نوشتن کتاب تاریخ خانوادگی ونگرها، کار روی پرونده را پذیرفت. ونگر باور داشت هریئت، که سی و شش سال پیش ناپدید شده، توسط یکی از اعضای خانواده‌ خویش به قتل رسیده است. او به بلومکویست گفت: من از بیشتر اعضای خانواده خود بیزار هستم، چون بیشتر آن‌ها دزد، خسیس، قلدر و بی کفایت هستند. پس از این ماجرا بلومکویست به جزیره رفته و تحقیقات خود را درباره ی خانواده ونگر و ناپدید شدن هریئت در آنجا آغاز کرد. اما ... ادامه ی ماجرا؛ ا. شربیانی

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Editorial meeting of Bryant Reviews Ltd Topic : book 1, Millennium series - Is everyone here? - We should start anyway. - Okay, well, we have to figure out how to review this damned Dragon Tattoo book. The problem is, everyone and his dog has already reviewed it, and seen the movie. Movies. What’s left to say? - Well, you could say the same thing about Dickens. - All due respect, Larsson is not no Dickens. - True dat. - True dat? Who are you, gangsta-reviewer? - What about the sandwiches and coffee? - ? - Editorial meeting of Bryant Reviews Ltd Topic : book 1, Millennium series - Is everyone here? - We should start anyway. - Okay, well, we have to figure out how to review this damned Dragon Tattoo book. The problem is, everyone and his dog has already reviewed it, and seen the movie. Movies. What’s left to say? - Well, you could say the same thing about Dickens. - All due respect, Larsson is not no Dickens. - True dat. - True dat? Who are you, gangsta-reviewer? - What about the sandwiches and coffee? - ? - You know, you could do a kind of parody, might be funny… - It’s been done! Haven’t you read Joel’s review? - Done! - Done done done! - Also, really, there weren’t that many sandwiches. I counted, there were 7. It’s a bit of a myth. - That’s 7 more than most sane novelists describe in their novels. I bet you could scour the works of Henry James and not find a single sniff of a sandwich. - That’s cause they only eat ptarmigan’s brains on a bed of rocket leaves in Henry James. - What about the blatant product placement? I mean, I assume that’s what this is. - Product placement in a novel? Can you do that? - Well, listen to this bit : She set her sights on the new Apple PowerBook G4/1.0 GHz in an aluminium case with a PowerPC. 7451 processor with an AltiVec Velocity Engine, 960 megs of R.A.M and a sixty-gig hard drive. It had Blue-Tooth and built-in CD and DVD burners. Page 202. - Yep, that has to be product placement. It’s like right out of a sales brochure. Outrageous really. - So did anyone like this thing? - Oh sure. It was kind of okay. - Okay? - It’s a thriller, you know, it’s not A la recherché du Temps Tattoo. Also, it’s a serial killer thriller, where the victims are females chopped up in various horrible ways. So it’s a completely ordinary thriller. They say shit like “But for you I would be dead!” and “This can’t be brushed under the carpet!” and “Get out of my house this minute!” (General laughter) - What about Salamander? - It’s Salander. - Oh yeah, I did that too. Every time it said Salander I thought it said salamander, it was so crazy. - She was a bit off the peg, didn’t you think? - Yeah, it was like a central casting “hip edgy young female character”. - I liked her. - Everyone likes her. Okay, except you. You too? Okay, vote – who liked her? Okay, that’s three who did, so the rest of you didn’t. All right then, we’ll take a contrarian position on Salander. We’ll say, oh, I don’t know, utterly implausible, Manga cartoon, middle-aged guy’s fantasy girlfriend, the goth version of the manic dream pixie girl, you know, that kind of stuff. - Agreed. - What about the plot? - It was just a big fat thriller so it had a big fat villain who was completely silly and an exciting denouement which I’ve been more excited going through a tunnel in a train to be brutally honest. - Anybody else? - Er… I felt slightly tense. Once. - Oh, and did you notice it took like 80 pages to splutter into life and then another 50 pages after the story ended to wind down and go to sleep? - Well look, there’s a deadline here, this review has to be done by Tuesday evening. Any volunteers? - …. - …. - I’ll do it then - Hey, thanks. And as your reward… you don’t have to read The Emo who Played with Fire or The Emo who Fucked Up the Beehive. - Okay, I appreciate that. - The rest of you watch it… I see any review slackness and Emo with the Beehive is coming right at you. (General catcalling and ribaldry) - Meeting adjourned.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    In 1966 sixteen-year-old Harriet Vanger, daughter of the CEO of the large family-run Vanger Corporation, goes missing from her family's island community and is never seen again. Not even a body is found, and her great uncle, Henrik Vanger, has explored every possible lead to discover what happened to his one and only favourite family member. Over the last forty years her disappearance has become Henrik's obsession, and he's positive someone in the family murdered her - but they never found a moti In 1966 sixteen-year-old Harriet Vanger, daughter of the CEO of the large family-run Vanger Corporation, goes missing from her family's island community and is never seen again. Not even a body is found, and her great uncle, Henrik Vanger, has explored every possible lead to discover what happened to his one and only favourite family member. Over the last forty years her disappearance has become Henrik's obsession, and he's positive someone in the family murdered her - but they never found a motive, and without one he doesn't know who to suspect. Now, in 2005, Henrik has little time left as he grows old and plenty of money to indulge in his obsession one last time. Mikael Blomkvist is a forty-something financial journalist and editor of Millennium magazine, a magazine he co-founded which prides itself on investigative journalism. But Blomkvist and the magazine have just suffered their first big blow: he's been convicted of libel against one of the biggest business entrepreneurs in Sweden, Hans-Erik Wennerström. Wanting to keep a low profile and pretend he's been fired from the magazine in order to try and save it from further attack by Wennerström, Henrik Vanger's proposition comes at an ideal time. Mikael's father once worked for the Vanger Corporation, and Harriet herself had babysat little Mikael a few times. Henrik offers Blomkvist a year-long contract with the pretext of writing a history of the family - an autobiography of Henrik - while his real mission is to discover what happened to Harriet. After some convincing, Blomkvist takes the job - but when he discovers the first new evidence since the tragedy occurred, he realises he needs help - and who better to go to than the private investigator who did such a good job on Blomkvist when Henrik hired her? Lisbeth Salander is a quiet, secretive young woman who excels at what she does because she's also a genius hacker. With a troubled past and a dicey present, her trust in Blomkvist takes her by surprise. The two team up to discover the truth about Harriet, and to take Wennerström down. Thanks to a friend of mine, who also recommended this to me, I knew the English translation of the original title before I started reading this, which is Men Who Hate Women. This is actually very interesting and worth mentioning. It's certainly an apt title; perhaps not obvious at first, after a while it becomes a very clear theme. It may also give it away a bit. But I can also understand why they went with a very different title for the English translation. Lisbeth is "the girl with the dragon tattoo" - among other tattoos and piercings - and she is one of two main characters. The second book's English title is "The girl who played with fire", so you can see they're going with their own theme here. More importantly, though, such a title is more appealing to an English-language audience. Titles, like covers, that feature girls or women - or wives - are popular and sell well. This is an intriguing title, and doesn't give away the genre. When this book first came out, the hardcover was marketed to a literary crowd. This is the mass market paperback edition, and with a quote from Harlan Coben on the cover along with the style of cover itself (and the long, narrow format), it is more clearly pitched at the Mystery mob (hence why both my parents-in-law read this before I did). It is a mystery, and a thriller at times, and a detective book - but it's also a political and economic commentary, has one of the more original and daring heroines of the genre, and is invigorating in its details. I don't read many mystery novels, because (ironically), I find them boring. Aside from a quiet patch at about the two-quarter mark, I never found this book boring, even though not a whole lot happens until the last third. Both Blomkvist and Salander are engaging protagonists, for very different reasons. Things happen to them that will make you upset and angry, especially Salander, whose side story holds you enthralled and revolted at the same time, as does the truth about Harriet - but there's nothing gratuitous here, or unnecessarily included or described: it's all relevant. The pacing is superb (yes, even with that "quiet patch"), and the plotting cleverly controlled. The cold of Sweden - at times down to -35F (which makes the 44F of Shiver seem somewhat laughable) - was vividly realised, as was the setting of Hedeby Island. I would have liked to "see" more of Sweden - everything was terribly familiar - but a mystery book isn't really the place for that. This is a very mature book, with themes that make you despair yet are handled so compassionately that you are never alienated. I also enjoyed the economic side of the other plot line, and Blomkvist's words towards the end were very apt considering the recent problems with the American stock exchange and subsequent recession, when he's asked by a TV host about "the fact that Sweden's economy was now headed for a crash." He calls it nonsense, and goes on to explain something which I think we all tend to forget: "You have to distinguish between two things - the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skövde. That's the Swedish economy, and it's just as strong or weak today as it was a week ago. ... The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn't have a thing to do with reality or with the Swedish economy." (p819) Sure that's a simplistic way of putting it, but his description of the Stock Exchange pretty neatly sums up the way I've always perceived it - and scorned it. So I enjoyed this exchange, and the whole Wennerström sub plot, as much as the mystery about Harriet itself. The other side of the commentary that's strong and interesting is the issue of journalistic responsibility, and ethics. Decisions are made at the end that are highly questionable, but there are no easy answers - Blomkvist is the voice of our conscience here, and yet you can see the other side too. I don't envy him his position! I have no complaints with this book, but I have one to the publisher: I really hate the new, narrow format of mass market paperbacks. (Thankfully, only a few books get printed like this.) They're just so tall and ... skinny. It certainly doesn't save any paper, and makes me feel like I'm falling off the edge of the page at the end of each line, which barely fits five words. I don't care for the larger typeface and roomy layout either - I like tighter lines and smaller fonts, personally. That would have saved paper!

  28. 5 out of 5

    unknown

    ode to a dragon-tattooed girl shall i compare thee to a cinematic adaptation of one of my favorite books? thou art more genuine and less mass marketable. rough cgi does shake my sense of disbelief, and the movie's adaptation hath all too short a running time. sometimes too overemphasized the plot and action sequences, and often the depth of character dimmed. and every sequel from prequel's quality declines, by chance, or budgets allowed to expand, untrimmed. but thy entertainment value shall not fade nor ode to a dragon-tattooed girl shall i compare thee to a cinematic adaptation of one of my favorite books? thou art more genuine and less mass marketable. rough cgi does shake my sense of disbelief, and the movie's adaptation hath all too short a running time. sometimes too overemphasized the plot and action sequences, and often the depth of character dimmed. and every sequel from prequel's quality declines, by chance, or budgets allowed to expand, untrimmed. but thy entertainment value shall not fade nor be compromised by translation from one medium to anoth'r. nor shall bloggers brag that the original was better when in eternal lines to time thou ares't original. so long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, so long lives this: the book was better, and so are thee.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diane Wallace

    Loved it! an interesting,mystery filled and very thrill-seeking storyline..was well written,nice movie also... (paperback!)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have so many negative thoughts about this book. So here's a list of complaints: a.) Either this was very poorly translated or very poorly written. I've heard arguments for both. Tons of unnecessary details (all the coffee stops!), repetition of things we already know, paragraphs about nothing just petering out. Even at times when I was enjoying the plot, I felt as though I had to fight my way through dull writing. b.) For as dull as it is in most parts, this book is waaaay too over the top in ot I have so many negative thoughts about this book. So here's a list of complaints: a.) Either this was very poorly translated or very poorly written. I've heard arguments for both. Tons of unnecessary details (all the coffee stops!), repetition of things we already know, paragraphs about nothing just petering out. Even at times when I was enjoying the plot, I felt as though I had to fight my way through dull writing. b.) For as dull as it is in most parts, this book is waaaay too over the top in others. Butt plugs?! What is my reaction to that even supposed to be? (For the curious: it was a big old WTF face.) While I think there is a place for graphic rape and torture scenes (more in film than in books, because it's not as hard to convey intent in a multi-dimensional visual format), I didn't see the need for them here. Salander being the survivor of rape and perpetrator of revenge did not make me root for her here -- as it might have in a film -- because it was only a tangential and forgotten part of the story, rather than being necessary to it. We don't see her dealing with the aftereffects of her abuse at all; she's not fundamentally changed because of it, aside from taking her revenge. Which leads me to: c.) Salander's supposed to be this amazingly kickass character that I'll just automatically love, right? Umm, no. Aside from knowing that she's a good investigator, sexual but detached, has Asperger's and is kind of ruthless, I felt like she could have been anyone. Really. I looked for some piece of insight or indication that she is a dynamic character that would make me like her, but it never happened. Dressing her up like a punk in a sea of suits is not enough characterization. Perhaps in further books and with time, I'd feel attached to her like I've felt to other mystery series characters, but I'm not really tempted to read on. d.) The only reason I was invested in the mystery of Harriet Vanger's disappearance is because I thought she'd been murdered. When it turned out she was still alive and had skipped town, I wanted to throw the damn book at a wall. e.) How freaking over the top was it for the murderer to have a Hostel-style torture chamber right in his house? Does anyone find this seriously scary, instead of laughably stupid? Moreover, does this sort of thing exist outside the world of comic book super villains? Better make sure THAT room's locked when company comes over. I enjoyed this book so little that after the solution to the Harriet mystery wrapped up, I just skimmed to the end. I have no idea what happened with the Wennerstrom affair, nor do I particularly care. I'm assuming that Blomqvist got some scandalous scoop and super busted him, because that's what happens in utterly predictable books like this one.

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