Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [Millennium I] (Stieg Larsson)

Author: Stieg Larsson

Published: 2005

Language: Translated to English from Swedish, in 2008

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Rating: 4.5/5

Where do I begin with this book? I never watched the movies because I didn’t want spoilers before I read the book and I am so glad I took that decision! I didn’t know what to expect; the blurbs on the back only gave me mixed bits of information that left me with questions. And the movie wasn’t half as good as the book, in my opinion.

When I started reading, the Vanger family tree made me wonder how I would keep track of all the characters. Larsson has blended time and space in a stunning manner and made sure you remember all the characters as you go through the book. His work is not just a narration of events to build a story, but a study of minds and all that we, as humans, are capable of doing with our minds alone.

465 pages is a long haul and I happened to breeze through it, thanks to his captivating style. I read while I had breakfast, lunch and dinner; I read while cleaning my room; and I took the book along so that I could read in any free minutes I had as I went about my day. This is not an exaggeration, believe me.

Lisbeth Salander is such a strong, intellectually sexy and complex character who creates a stark contrast against Mikael Blomkvist, equally strong, with his thoughts laid out in a linear pattern. I couldn’t pick one over the other as a favourite, so I am going to take them as one of my favourite teams.

The whole Vanger family is a puzzle and I wondered, just like Blomkvist did, how they live as neighbours on an island, when they can’t stand to breathe the same air as each other. The access we get through Blomkvist as he interviews them and digs around is a clever technique Larsson used to help us remember all the characters and keep track of the a-maze-ing storyline.

The suspense he maintained and the variation in the speed at which the events unravel were my top moments in the book. It did leave me at the edge of my seat and lived up to being a thriller. I couldn’t guess the outcome of the investigation, no matter how hard I put my mind to it.

The language is elaborate, in description and fine details, if not in vocabulary; I cannot say much more about it since it has been translated from Swedish to English, and there would have been some references and figures of speech which would have changed during translation. And though I don’t know a word of Swedish, it has been translated well – the intensity, the suspense and the visualisation came through perfectly.

If you love crime fiction, this has to be on your to-be-read list, along with the next two books in this series. I am currently reading the third one and I wish there were more books.

What breaks my heart is that Stieg Larsson never lived to see what a phenomenon his books have become, as he passed away a year before this series hit the shelves. I did send out a silent message of appreciation to him as I read his books because he deserves all the attention he has been receiving over the years. I recommend this to you, reader, and if it’s not your cup of tea, do remember to pass it on to someone who would enjoy reading ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’.

Photo credit: @fictionographer (https://www.instagram.com/fictionographer/)

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DreamingAtMyDesk View All →

Reader. Learner. Dreamer.
I am all about the little things in life!

4 Comments Leave a comment

        • Going by my own review, Mr P asked me how I gave it a 5 when I pointed out that it’s a translation and that language is never perfect. I re-read what I wrote and it made total sense! Though the book is one of my top favourites, I had to leave that little room for error (that teachers leave as well). I’ve rated it 5 stars on Goodreads because that’s the only scale they have, but I have flexibility here to do otherwise, hence the change!

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