Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo (Millenium #1) by Stieg Larsson

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.
This book is so popular that I had to read it and see if it lived up to the hype.  Guess what?  It does.  It SO does.

The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo is set in Sweden, which can be a little confusing at times.  All of the town names, character names, and dialogue patterns are unfamiliar to most readers.  This made the story a little difficult to follow, especially in the beginning.  The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo really takes off about 200 pages in.  And when I got to about 300 pages, I became unable to put it down.   

This is a very uniquely written book.  The writing feels heavy at times.  The best comparison I can make is to say that it reads a little like one of Ken Follett's historical fiction novels.  And by that, I mean that while slow to build up steam, the story gets really good about halfway through, and from there you just can't stop reading.

I am no economist, nor am I plugged into the financial world.  Hey, I'm too busy reading to even watch the news!  This didn't stop me from really enjoying this book, though.  Yes, the story is about a journalist and a hacker who uncover major financial scandals and upset the Swedish Stock Exchange; however, you don't have to have a college-level grasp of economics to understand and appreciate the story.

My favorite character is Lisbeth.  She is such a plucky little thing.  I felt sorry for her but loved how she refuses to act like a victim.  I'm looking forward to book two:  The Girl Who Played With Fire

Just One Gripe:
The back story, especially about the Vanger family history, was overwhelming at times.

The Best Thing About This Book:
I love the poetic justice that befalls Larsson's "bad guys."  The only other author I've read who can wield that kind of payback is Ken Follett.

Appropriate for a younger audience:

Characters:  5/5
Plot:  5/5
Setting/Imagery:  4/5
Originality:  5/5
Ending:  4/5
Total Score:  23/25


  1. I have been worried this one was all hype. So glad to hear you like it! I may have to add it to my summer reading list. Thanks for the review!

  2. Yay! I'm so glad that you loved this book. I was totally engrossed in it (thought the backstory wore me out at times, too) and could not put it down. I actually read it in one day so that I could go and watch the movie with a friend. I have the second in the series waiting for me--I just need a rainy day and I'm golden!

  3. Thank you both for the comments. I'm so glad to meet someone else who read and liked it! I didn't know there was a movie, how exciting. I am saving the second one for when I need something great to read. I'm currently working my way through a big stack of books to review, then I'm going to book two. I've heard it's even better than book one!

  4. I'm here from the CEP Program!
    I have heard so much about this book. I'm glad you liked it. I may check this one out finally!


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