The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo follows the investigation of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist into the mysterious past of the Vanger family. What they discovered was very surprising and not at all what I expected. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is Stieg Larsson’s first book in the Millennium trilogy. I’m not usually a “mystery” reader, but this was an amazing. It’s more than a mystery novel. Lisbeth and Blomkvist shine a light on serious social issues.
I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. I won’t talk about specific events (unless someone who has read the book asks in the comments). However, certain implications might be made.
Lisbeth is the character everyone is talking about. Multiple actresses vied for the role when it was announced that a Hollywood version of the movie would be made. I think I can understand why. Lisbeth Salander is unique. If an actress is looking for a strong female lead, possibly the defining role of their young career, this could be the one. Lisbeth is anti-social, anti-police, anti-normal, but she can act normal if she wants. Lisbeth has an intelligence no one can quite grasp and some who doubt that it’s even there. Bad things happen to Lisbeth, they make you wonder how she could ever get over them, but she does. She is stronger and smarter than anyone realizes.
Except, Mikael Blomkvist. Blomkvist is an investigative journalist. He is a journalist who has integrity and accepts the punishment for his actions. He is smart, intuitive and trustworthy. He also sleeps with multiple women by the end of the novel. Blomkvist survives and acts as his morals tell him. He’s strong and can also be kind and understanding. He is really a great counter for Lisbeth Salander.
I know that this is a mystery and the mystery of the disappearance of Harriet Vanger was great. For me, it wasn’t the plot that moved the story along; it was how Lisbeth and Blomkvist moved through the plot. It was their reactions to the different events and discoveries that took the reader to the next step on the road to Harriet Vanger. Regarding the mystery, my first instincts were right. The book tried to convince me otherwise, so I doubted myself along the way, but in the end, I was right. I know I said that I was surprised, but that surprise didn’t have to do with Harriet; it had to do with other characters.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a mesmerizing story. I only had to minor problems with it. First, Lisbeth and Blomkvist are the main characters, right? It takes ages before they actually meet. I kept waiting and wondering when it was going to happen. Second, after the Harriet mystery is taken care of, the secondary plot of the Wennerström affair has to be resolved. Fine, I understand that. Why did it take so long? I kept waiting, for ages, after what I thought should be the essential end of the novel for the novel actually to end. It’s not that it wasn’t interesting or exciting, I just felt that once Harriet Vanger’s disappearance was solved (the primary mystery), there shouldn’t be so much more novel left.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is an excellent novel. It has complex and interesting characters and an intriguing plot. I’m glad my friends and family peer pressured me into reading it. I was happy to oblige. Now The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest have just been added onto my to-be-read list.