799 of 837 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I have just finished reading this book which was recommended to me by a friend. As someone who is not usually a crime fiction fan (I certainly never buy them), I was not very enthusiastic about it but had some curiousity because of the rave reviews it was getting in other areas also. I found the beginning of the book a bit tedious and was starting to think it was not...
Published on 28 Dec 2009 by Mrs. Jean Ross
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is it just me?
Okay...I admit it...I just don't get the whole Stieg Larsson hysteria. After all the hype, I had been relishing getting stuck into this - but in the end I just thought it was a very average thriller. I've tried to be objective about it - maybe I was affected by the hyperbole, maybe I was in the wrong mood, maybe I expected too much, maybe, maybe, maybe...but when all's...
Published 11 months ago by M Norman
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799 of 837 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,
77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it,The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Trilogy)
I would advise persevering with the early chapters and wait for the hook the draws you into this harrowing tale.
640 of 701 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent tense thriller with a conscience,
This is the first volume in the Millenium trilogy and after finishing this first book, I am very much looking forward to the next two volumes. Larssson died in 2004 soon after delivering the manuscripts for 3 crime novels to his publisher. It's a pity that this gifted author isn't around for a long time to come.
The tale is split between the shady secrets of a wealthy family and the murky dealings of a famous businessman. Mikael Blomkvist, a recently convicted journalist, is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of his niece almost 40 years ago. Vanger promises Blomkvist the means to clear his good name as part of the payment and Blomkvist accepts.
The author manages to maintain an excellent pace throughout, but still delivers a strong social lesson while providing the thrills. It is an intelligent thriller with a conscience. Probably one of the best of its kind in recent years.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.,
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a convoluted thriller set in Sweden. The atypical heroine is a dysfunctional, wary female computer hacker called Lisbeth Salander. Skinny as a bedraggled cat, surly, pierced and tattooed, she looks more of a delinquent teenager than the whizz-kid she is. She freelances for a security company and specialises in carrying out detailed private investigations on individuals. Conventional laws are there to be flouted as far as Salander goes, but she does have a strong moral code in other ways, refusing to tolerate violence against women. Salander becomes involved when a journalist called Mikael Blomkvist is asked to investigate a disappearance of a young woman that occurred thirty six years previously. Those under investigation are the members of a venerable and powerful business family, the Vangers .
The novel involves a large cast of characters and much intrigue. This is a very twenty first century thriller with sophisticated technology as well as the traditional stalwarts such as murderous megalomaniacs, scheming relatives and corrupt financiers. Salander is undoubtedly the star. Silent, fiercely intelligent, private, possibly abused in the past, made poignant by family tragedy, yet far too ferocious to be pitied, she is a very modern day heroine. So adept is she at knocking back threats that at times the story has a feminist cartoonish fantasy feel about it: it's easy to imagine a gamine actress kickboxing her way through the action scenes, and a Hollywood adaptation can't be far off.
The translation from Swedish is occasionally stilted- 'And because the conversation had so much an echo of a schoolboy tone' (rather than 'such an'); 'But even as alcoholics are drawn to the state liquor store' (rather than 'just as'); 'Blomkvist regretted his decision before even he left for home' (rather than 'even before'); 'Harriet's disappearance was the reason why gradually I withdrew' (rather than 'I gradually'). But despite the sometimes stiff feel, the storyline hooks the reader in. The prose is simple and utalitarian, employed only to tell the story - this is not literary fiction in any way, so if you're after sumptuous or poetic language, look elsewhere. But it's always intelligent, and the reader is never taken for a fool: although there are implausibilities, they're not impossibilities, as in so many other thrillers.
My least favourite parts were the very few sections in which Larsson lectured the reader, such as the lengthy explanation of legal competence: 'Since 1989, the term 'legally incompetent' is no longer applied to adults. There are two levels of social welfare protection - trusteeship and guardianship....'
As soon as Larsson started teaching, in his own voice, rather than telling the story through his characters, I felt hectored. Maybe these parts would have been changed had Larsson not died; altered so that the information was provided by a character rather than the preachy voice of the author, though having characters provide complex explanations is also problematic.
Nevertheless, I was still riveted. The characters are credible and one gets the sense that they have pasts, which is so often not the case in action stories with their two-dimensional heros and villains. The characters here are fallible, with faults as well as hopes, desires and dreams. Salander is an enigma, but that makes the reader more likely to revisit her in the second of the trilogy. The writing is unflashy but consistently solid, and Larsson has dotted every i and crossed every t as far as his plot is concerned: many thrillers have storylines so thin they feel like mohair stretched over bones of glaring incredulity. This is a racy, exciting page-turner; undemanding intellectually but quality stuff despite its accessibility. I'll be back for more.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Stieg Larsson,
The book suffers, in my opinion, from a lack of editing and from a somewhat pedestrian translation. Both of these become apparent in the first 70-odd pages, in an often dull introduction that needs to be persevered with to enjoy the action to come.
'Kalle' Blomquist (an Astrid Lindgren character, one of many Swedish references awkwardly dealt with by the translation) is clearly a sexed-up version of Larsson himself; and is convicted of libel against a businessman which has something to do with an over-long account of industrial fraud in Eastern Europe. He eventually decamps to the frozen wastes of Norrland to investigate a decades-old disappearance.
He is eventually, inevitably, joined by Lisbeth Salander, an 'investigator' with severe social dysfunction (apart from when conning international businessmen and financiers).
There are plenty of 'first novel' type holes in the plot which surely a good editor should clear up. The opening chapter concerns a clue that is completely ignored until the very end, when the author remembered it and had to clear it up.
However these criticisms should not mask what, for 75% of the book, is a cracking good read. It becomes sort of Agatha Christie meets Val McDermid, a locked room mystery crossed with sadistic serial killer(s). As a frequent visitor to Norrland myself, the life of a small community is impeccably rendered, and it was a personal pleasure to recognise favourite towns like Umea and Skelleftea in the narrative.
The first 50 pages are a bit dull, the last 50 become a bit absurd, but in between you will find a fine 4-star thriller that saw me enjoyably through a week's tube journeys to work. Hopefully the author will grow into his characters, and I look forward to meeting them again in the two remaining books.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books I've ever read,
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This review is from: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Kindle Edition)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy)
This has been an amazing read. Unlike previous reviewers I did not find the early part of the book slow. It builds the environment for the story carefully and I really felt I knew the areas where the story took place. Someone commented that the small details like the type of coffee being drunk and the furniture from Ikea were unnecessary but I think they gave hints about the lifestyle of the people involved. I can't wait to read the other stories in this trilogy now. This has easily been one of the best books I've read in ages.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the girl with the dragon tattoo,
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is it just me?,
I know it's a worldwide phenomenon. I know I'm in a minority. But I didn't like it. There are plenty of people who will disagree with me - and Lord knows, it's just one opinion - but I honestly can't put my hand on my heart and say it was even okay.
Whilst I thought the premise was promising (eccentric tycoon commissions disgraced investigative journalist to solve a 40-year-old mysterious disappearance), the plotting was leaden, most of the characters irredeemably unlikeable (with the possible exception of Salander) and the sub-plots completely detached and irrelevant.
I'm not going to be so crass as to suggest how the late Larsson might have written it differently - I'm not qualified to do that - but I do think I was forced to spend an unholy amount of time at the start being given reasons to dislike the central character Michael Blomqvist, finding out more than I needed to know (in the context of relevance to the core storyline) about how he came to commit the libel that will ultimately land him in prison and generally being taken through a series of scenarios and situations that, I discovered, have little, if anything, to do with the key plot.
It's not even as though the story (or finale) is remarkably unique. Whilst it's true to say the solution to the puzzle isn't obvious, neither is it so outlandishly surprising or shocking that it redeems the turgidity of some of what precedes it.
In truth, I feel somewhat silly writing all this. Surely I must be missing something? Talking to my father, who loved it, I can't avoid the creeping suspicion that I have overlooked some aspect or element of the book that has elicited the oohs and ahhs of appreciation that I have heard from so many others. If it's there, then I am either horribly under-appreciative, fiendishly difficult to please or simply stupid. Or perhaps everyone else is a gullible victim of publisher rhetoric. The only way to judge is to read it for yourself.
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent enough book,
I learned two things having taken that decision. Firstly, that sales figures are not directly proportional to quality (ok so I should have got that from the Da Vinci Code), and secondly, that my friend has pretty poor taste in books.
Perhaps that is a little harsh because, as you can see from the 3 star rating, it's not *that* bad. It's just not that great either. I'm just surprised anyone could think of this as one of their favourite books. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with it, save for some utterly pointless detail about the model and spec of a laptop, and totally unnecessary info on the great shareware the main character uses. It's just a little weak overall. For example some pretty far fetched story telling and pretty unbelievable "twists". The characterisation is decent, but far too many points are drilled home (yes, she's a tough girl despite being tiny, we get it!). The closed room mystery works until the reveal, when it just really doesn't add up given what we've already been told. And there are a few too many sections where you just feel a little bored. I've read that Larsson's widow didn't want it edited at all - she wanted it released exactly as he wrote it. Completely understandable, but a definite error.
In brief, if like me you find it impossible to resist making your own mind up about this book, the huge array of ratings will likely encourage rather than dissuade you against this, and certainly nothing I can say would do so. But if you do want my advice (as opposed to any given in the other 500+ reviews) I don't think it's really worth it. It will no doubt sound harsh, but if Larsson was alive, and if a billion other people hadn't already read it, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't either. I know I wouldn't have.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a first draft - didn't live up to the hype for me,
This review is from: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy) (Paperback)This book was recommended by three separate friends who said they couldn't put it down and had read the whole trilogy one after another so my expectations were high.
I found it quite a tedious read in parts, too much mundane and unnecessary detail which did nothing to move the plot along (do I care what kind of sandwich the characters had or even that they were having a sandwich?) The translation was clumsy and pulled me out of my reading - particularly the dialogue.
I could see the bones of a good story although very reminiscent of Val McDermid who wrote one of the books read by the journalist character - another detail we didn't need. Those bones were buried beneath a "what I did on my holidays" style narrative where every detail is reported and given equal weight
It's such a pity that the author died before having chance to revise the book with a good editor - it could have been so much better; he was there with the plot and that's what I look for in a novel. I can forgive less than fabulous prose even in a published author but there's no excuse for a bad translation - that was just terrible! It seemed like the translator wasn't a native English speaker, or was just lazy and translated Swedish idiom directly into English which doesn't work.
3 stars because I appreciated the potential and enjoyed the "good" bits but, for me, the book needs to be edited down by about half to get rid of the bits that made me groan.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson