Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is the introduction to his Millennium series. This book introduces the reader to Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, two very different people in a crash course towards each other. Mikael is an investigative journalist who has just lost a libel case and Lisbeth is a seemingly socially awkward woman with more than one hidden talent. 

Mikael is contracted by Henrik Vanger to solve a mystery spanning decades: the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, Henrik's niece. Together, Mikael and Lisbeth begin a journey into a story that is much more than either one of them could imagine. 

It's difficult to classify Larsson's story because it is entirely on a level on its own. I'll tell you the truth, I'm very surprised I even finished it! Don't jump to conclusions now - I did finish it and I LOVED it, but it has a very slow start. Mikael and Lisbeth don't even meet until 326 pages into the story! The reason why I didn't just quit it, however, was for Lisbeth's point of view. I find the girl so wonderfully fascinating! It's no wonder that this has caused many others to jump on the Salander bandwagon. I don't want to give too much information away, so I'll just say that she should be impossible. 

Once you get to their first meet up, however, the story picks up speed and you're led into a psychologically, action packed thriller. It's like a roller coaster - it takes some time to get to the good stuff. So, give it a chance! I will say this though - if you don't like this book...you probably won't like the second one, The Girl Who Played with Fire, which I will be reviewing next. Both stories are interconnected and it would be best to know Lisbeth and Mikael's story from its origin.

And in case you've already read it and are living under a rock, you can find two adaptations for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish; English):

I've seen both of these movies and enjoyed each one tremendously. There are some differences in the portrayals of each one, but I was able to appreciate both interpretations. The American version is more stylized, of course, but follows close to the story. Both pairs of actors, in my opinion, are successful in their pursuits to match the characters in the books. Maybe it's because I'm from the states, but when I read the books now, I have Mara Rooney in my head. It works.

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