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873 of 918 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

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29 of 32 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 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...
Published on 22 Jun. 2011 by J. Mitchell


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873 of 918 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 28 Dec. 2009
By 
Mrs. Jean Ross (WA, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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 for me, but, all of a sudden, it got a grip and I found that I was most reluctant to put it down! I have now had the satisfaction of finishing it this morning after a record reading time. I found the book most entertaining, evoking many differing emotions - suspense, disgust, intrigue, and some laughs also. The location being in Sweden was interesting and the translation certainly did not affect the impact of the storytelling. The two main characters were likeable and I grew fond of them and found myself caring about them. The author certainly can reach the reader and at the end, my main emotion was one of satisfaction. I certainly intend to the read his other two books.
Jean Ross
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647 of 711 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent tense thriller with a conscience, 14 Aug. 2008
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Some incredible thrillers are coming from Scandinavian countries these days. Anyone who is a fan of the Kurt Wallander series of books by Henning Mankell will know what I mean. Now we have a new addition to the shelf, courtesy of deceased author, Stieg Larsson.

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.
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88 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it, 5 July 2011
My overall impression of `The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' is positive and I will remember a lot of the strong aspects of the writing, notably the unique characterisation and the Nordic backdrop described. Central to the plot are Kalle' Blomquist, a journalist convicted of libel who serves out his penance between jail and the isolated wilds of Norrland + Lisbeth Salander, an expert system hacker and all-round investigator. Blomquist is employed to investigate the unsolved disappearance of Harriet Vanger in the 1960's. At first he is not really interested but as Blomquist delves into the complex layers of the horrible Vanger dynasty he picks up clues that will ultimately lead to the truth, amid a Silence of the Lambs tale of horror. The social misfit Salander is the star of the book; a complex irrational character who joins up with Blomquist after originally being employed to investigate him. Together the expose the horrible truth and then set about taking down the corrupt businessman that Blomquist had supposedly libelled. It is a bleak tale with no clean cut heroes - Blomquist is clever but lacking in common sense and with awkward social skills in dealing with women. There is a struggle in reading the book where the narrative is over descriptive and long winded, particularly early on when adapting to the style. Sometimes you know what is coming but it takes five extra pages to get there through the extra unnecessary passages. Will have a break before reading the next book - 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.
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29 of 32 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, 22 Jun. 2011
By 
J. Mitchell - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Stieg Larsson, 13 Nov. 2009
This is a very enjoyable, if slightly flawed, start to the highly-publicised 'Millennium Trilogy'.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Slow to Start but Absolutely Worth Sticking With, 5 Feb. 2012
By 
Elk2011 "Elk2011" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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If you, like me are a Patrica Cornwall and/or James Patterson fan who has in recent years found yourself wondering "Didn't I read this already?" about their new releases, then this is the way to go. It's something completely different and yet strangely similar which will have you feeling like you've just started reading crime fiction all over again.

I had to start this book twice before I finally managed to read it through. The pace for the first half of the book is very, very slow. This combined with an unusually "choppy" writing style, which I assume may be down to translation can make breaking the barrier on this book quite challenging, so much so that you will no doubt be tempted to give it up and be left wondering what all the hype was about but this would be a mistake in my opinion.

Once the book "got going" it engaged me fully, I found myself wanting to read on and on. Perhaps the most striking difference between this novel and those I usually read is the unpredictability of the characters. Stieg Larsson manages to create characters which SHOULD be dislikeable e.g. Michael is a man who sleeps around and believes any woman, married or not is fair game and Lisbeth is an anti-social misfit with no little emotional intelligence, but nonetheless you do like them and you want to read on to see what happens with each of them next.

The background of the book being set in Sweden adds an unusual backdrop to the novel, and whereas I've historically found anything set outside of the US or UK difficult to get involved in, this wasn't the case here - probably due to the very descriptive nature of Larsson's writing, which I admit at times can be a little TOO much but ultimately I as grateful for as it allowed me to get a much better "feel" for the surroundings of the characters and made the read on the whole, much richer.

The story itself is about a disgraced journalist (Michael Blomkvist) who winds up conducting an investigation into a cold case missing person investigation for a wealthy, old media tycoon. During his investigation he crosses paths with Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator who has been declared mentally incompetent by the state but is infact a computer genius with very little social savvy. When the two characters finally meet and team up to solve the mystery, the real "chemistry" happens and you'll stop wondering what the hype was about and start wondering when you should download/buy the second book.

In short, this is one of the best novels and certainly one of the most unique (along with the next two books) I've read in several years. Don't be put off by the unusual writing style or the slow start as if this turns out to be a novel you love or hate, you'll at least be able to say you've read one of the most popular "cult" authors of this century as Larsson has undeniably become.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of CD Audion version of the book - ONLY, 10 Oct. 2009
By 
Susman "Sussman" (London Mills IL) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Other people will review the book to a much better extent than I can and will do a much better job, so I leave it to them.

My review rather refers to the quality of the Unabridge CD reproduction of the book, and the inferior abridged version. The is abridged version is not an option for me, I can never see the attraction in these abridged CD reproductions they lose `flavour', `colour' and lastly they seem to make little sense. While the full version, while more expensive is worth every penny.

Please be careful when choosing which version you what to buy as, on this site, it is easy to pick the wrong version.

My only negative about these audio CDs is:-

As person who likes to listen to these audio CDs more than once,the packaging does not lend it self to repeated use the packaging is poor and almost disintegrates on trying to open. I now have all three audio CDs and the quality of the `jewel' case has always been poor, which is rather sad. The box comes to pieces in your hands as you try to remove, or return a CD to the case.

The plus points are your listening to a 21st century classic thriller; the narrator is top notch, he gives you a nice feel to the story, without sounding 'dead pan'! lastly it's a story by Stieg Larsson, enough said?

Well it is worth buying, and the price now is OK, for my money its worth 5 out of 5 stars. Please please the CD makers of this product please change the design and make it more user friendly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get into but worth persevering for a classic, 23 July 2011
By 
Mr. P. Stamp (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It took me two goes at reading this book as I received it at the same time as a couple of other novels and I found this hard going at first and shelved it in favour of a Jeffery Deaver novel.

When I came back to it this week I read it through in about 3 days and it explodes into life after a slow beginning. I think I struggled a little because of so many initially unrelated characters, and the fact that the Swedish names of people and places are so very different to English or American names meaning it took a lot of concentration to keep them straight in my mind. I found myself thinking back constantly to my one and only visit to Stockholm and trying to piece together some of the locations when I would probably have been better off just ignoring that and concentrating on the plot!

Anyway once I picked it up again and started to re-read it I got through the character build up and into the plot proper, and it was well worth perservering. Very well written and intriguing with lots of complex characters and plenty of atmosphere.

I won't spoil the plot by saying more - my message is that its a bit hard to get going with but it is genuinely worth sticking at it and you'll get a darkly engrossing and page-turning read.

Looking forward to reading the next two parts of the Milennium trilogy now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it, 11 Jan. 2014
It took me a while to get round to this but I'm glad I did. Rather than write just another positive review, I thought I would comment on some of the critical ones on here. But at the end of the day it is all opinion....
1. doesn't live up to the hype. What does? Since the definition of hyperbole is "ridiculous exaggeration" it's hardly surprising.
2. not as good as Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson etc. I like them too but see below
3. Too many confusing Swedish place names. Well a novel set in Sweden will have Swedish place names, and you don't get street by street descriptions of how to get from A to B in Edinburgh like Rankin does.
4. Too long and too much gratuitous sex/violence. Partly true, the stuff with Salander's guardian was unnecessary.
5. Too many characters not developed. Hang on, I thought it was too long? There are a lot of characters but it's a big family. "Essential to the plot" I think
6. Main character based on author, attractive women going to bed with him clearly his fantasy. Possibly. Banks and Rebus get lucky sometimes too, must be common fantasy.
7. Too much tekky detail on laptops. True! And as this stuff changes so quickly it really dates the book.
But I still loved it and will get the sequels.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent enough book, 19 July 2010
I was unsure about this, as I was keen to learn if the many millions of sales meant it was indeed a good book, or just lots of band-wagon jumping, followed by even more just seeing if it's worth the fuss (like me). So I asked a friend who had just finished reading it, who told me it was one of her favourite books and a must-read! So I bought it and saw for myself.

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.
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