BOOK REVIEW: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

When The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels first came out, I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention. But as all the hubbub over the series continued to grow, I became intrigued. Though I don’t normally read adult novels (especially Swedish ones), I decided that I had to see what all the talk was about.
The novel begins with journalist Mikael Blomkvist being convicted for libel against a powerful Swedish tycoon. Out of options and on leave from his job, he is approached by a wealthy old man to solve a forty-year-old mystery – the strange disappearance of Harriet Vanger, the niece of the old man. Mikael is eventually joined by Lisbeth Salander, “the girl with the dragon tattoo” – a goth/punk hacker with a talent for digging up secrets. The unlikely duo works together to uncover the haunting mystery of Harriet Vanger’s disappearance, risking their lives at every turn.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a well-written, complex novel with a dynamic cast of characters. It can, however, be very slow at times. The first third of the book mostly consists of introductions to both characters and conflicts with very little action, and the protagonists, Blomkvist and Salander, don’t even meet until about halfway through the book. Now, slow doesn’t necessarily mean boring – there are lots of subplots and background stories to keep you interested until the real action gets started, just know that you have to be patient. Also, keep in mind that this book was written for adults; therefore, it contains lots of financial and business-related terms that I found difficult to understand. But that’s not all – this book is VERY mature. There is some graphic violence and sexual content, so be prepared. Don’t let this scare you, though. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may be gritty, but it is popular for a reason. The plot strings you along, never fully revealing anything until the end, just as a good mystery should. The characters are unique and well-developed, and their relationships will keep you guessing. So what are you waiting for? See for yourself what all the hype is about.

(NOTE: Due to adult content, I would recommend this book for mature teens, around age 16 and up.)

Review by , teen blogger

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