Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two reviews of Dragon Tattoo

As we've mentioned before, one of the beauties of having multiple owners of this blog is the chance for different viewpoints. In that spirit, I (Flo) just found on my computer the review for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson that I actually wrote when I was done reading it because Mary asked me to! Mary had reviewed it earlier, so here are her review and my review. Mary loved it. Flo....thought it was okay. Enjoy reading our reviews and let us know in the comments where you stand!

Mary's Review:

This book is one of the greats. I was so pleased to read this. I fell in love with characters and was rooting for them the whole time. I wanted Lisbeth and Mikeal to be together forever and solve everyone's problems. The moment I was done with this book I rushed to the bookstore to get the next one. I have recommended it to everyone I have seen.  It is a little bit slow in the beginning but after the first few chapters you will not be able to put it down.

Flo's Review (There's a reason it's so long):
I had heard a lot about this book before even reading it. I recall seeing the Swedish movie available on the Blockbuster kiosk near my apartment several months ago, and who can ignore the bright yellow cover?
I was even familiar with the name of the lead protagonist: Lisbeth Salander.

So, I went in with a familiarity that turned out to be both good and bad.  Let’s start with the bad and work our way to the good

First, a synopsis, which I’m taking verbatim from the book cover: Harriet Vanger, scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

After hearing so much about Lisbeth Salander – how she’s so cool, speculation on who should play her in an American movie, and so forth – I eagerly opened the neon-colored book, ready to devour it...

…and I immediately got bogged down by the details some financial crime involving journalist Mikael Blomkvist. I was confused. On page 8. And not the type of confused where there’s a hint that it will all become clear later. Confusion that makes you feel like you’re a little dim-witted, and maybe if you read it closely enough you can get it. But when I’m reading for pleasure, that’s not what I want to do. Again, please know that I am speaking of myself personally.

Also, where was this Lisbeth?

By about p. 25 I was ready to give up, but outside forces encouraged me to continue. Ok – found a glimpse of Salander. She’s a free spirit. She has a dragon tattoo. Now back to the main story, that doesn’t involve Salander yet.

More characters … ok, enter the Vanger family. Henrik hates them all, and someone killed his Harriet. Who was it? Mikael moves to the small town where the girl disappeared and starts digging into old documents to hopefully find some new evidence. We also get numerous lengthy descriptions of the warm clothes he buys, his interaction with the lady at the coffee shop, what he cooks, and his daily walks/run around town.

Wait! Interject a small, crazy story about Lisbeth Salander getting revenge on a man who does her wrong. Whoa! Intense!

Ok, now back to Mikael. He woke up, read documents at this computer all day, had a cigarette in his garden, cooked dinner, read a book and then went to bed.

By about p. 200, I was ready to give up, but outside forces encouraged me to continue. Ok. I forged on. Tonight, Mikael is taking another walk around town. Let me guess, then he will go home and cook potatoes, read his book, do a little work at the kitchen – wait! What’s in that picture? This could mean something! Thanks for another clue, Mikael’s daughter! Now we (finally!!) need Lisbeth! Oh my gosh, could this all mean that ----

I will stop there, because I want to keep this spoiler free, and I got my point across. My review actually read to me like the book read to me – namely, it starts off slow and then suddenly it explodes and you are hooked to the end! My main critique is that it takes so long to get to that point.

From the point when the action starts happening, it comes pouring down like an avalanche, with twists and surprises on every page. When I made it to the last page, I immediately wished I could start the second book in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire.


  1. We read this for our book club and I found it hard to get into at first but I'm glad I persevered. Some of the scenes were hard to take but I liked getting to know a little about the country and the plot was very good.

  2. Hi Ann,
    Yes, I ended up reading it for book club as well! It was cool because at that meeting we rented the Swedish film and watched it. I can't wait to see how the American film differs from both the book & the Swedish movie.
    Flo :)

  3. tough subject matter to read. but a good book. i still have to read the 3rd and last one of the trilogy.

  4. Agreed, vv! I still have to read Played with Fire & Hornet's Nest. Mary said she loved Fire & finished it really quickly. I heard it was a quicker read because not as much explanation is required as in Dragon Tattoo. How'd you like it? ~Flo~

  5. Thanks for the review. I'm on the fence about getting this as an ebook so I'll wait longer!

  6. I really enjoyed this book. I was shocked when approximately 200 pages into the story it took a drastic turn, which I never saw coming. The first half of the book contains a lot of background information (which took a long time to read and absorb), while the last half was an action packed unraveling of the mystery. There is some graphic content, which will not appeal to everyone.