The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


I bought this book to gift to someone as part of the Christmas book swap going on currently. I had seen it reviewed on a few blogs, and it seemed like the perfect gift.

After I got home from the book store, I lightly read through the first couple of pages, and before I even knew what was happening, I was totally and completely hooked on to it. I sat up nights reading the book, kept obsessively wondering about the details, the whole works. It’s been a long time since a crime thriller had me on such tenterhooks.

I just hope the person I have gifted this to ends up enjoying it as much as I did.

What the Book is About

Well, it is part of a trilogy called the Millenium series (the other two books are The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest). The two main protagonists are Mikael Blomqist and Lisbeth Salander (she is the girl with the dragon tattoo). He is a financial journalist investigating a corrupt businessman’s dealings. She is a brilliant, troubled young girl almost half his age, suffering from Asperger’s? who works in an investigation agency.

When Blomqist is asked to investigate a murder that took place almost forty years ago, the two end up working together to solve the case. They also end up nailing the corrupt businessman successfully.

So, well that’s the story in a nutshell. But there is lots more to it, and it is one of those rare books that is not merely a crime thriller. In some ways, it is a commentary on present-day Swedish life. Yes, the story is based in Sweden.

My Thoughts on this Book

I love a good edge of the seat kind of crime thriller, and so this read was right in my comfort zone. What I liked were all the small details that elevate this book from the norm.

For one, this was my first experience with any crime novel in Europe (apart from UK and Russia, that is). So, it was great to read quite a bit about a very different way of life set in a place quite unfamiliar to me.

The writing and the translation is first-class. So, is the mystery. It was awesome how Mikael and Lisbeth were able to uncover the murderer with such minimal information on their hands.

The feminist in me also loved that Lisbeth is an equal partner in the solving of this crime. She’s not just the sidekick. In fact, in many ways, she is the stronger personality who makes the decisions most of the time, and in fact saves Mikael when he takes a very rash action that gets him into deep trouble.

What intrigued me was the amount of casual sex throughout the novel; and how it does not seem to be anything out of the norm.

What I did not like was the slow ending. The mystery is solved almost three-quarters of the way into the novel, and the financial fraud case starts to take importance. The story then becomes extremely boring when they start gathering evidence to prove fraud and blah, blah, blah…I just skimmed through these sections.

That doesn’t mean I am not queuing up for books 2 and 3 in this series 🙂

On a parting note, here’s a nice statement that Mikael gives when he is quizzed by a journalist who claims that he caused the downfall of the Swedish economy by publishing information that disclosed the businessman’s corrupt practices. Seems very apt for today’s world, no?

You have to distinguish between two things – the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skövde. That’s the Swedish economy, and it’s just as strong or weak today as it was a week ago. The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or with the Swedish economy.

You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon

  • I absolutely loved this series, if you want please check out my review here. The review is not the best, but in short I read all 3 of them in a very short time.

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  • Hi! I avoided this at all costs because I was so put off by the hype, but I recently caved in and read it! I felt like it was really slow to begin with, but Lisbeth Salander was its redeeming feature, and I kept at it. Turned out to be a fab read, desperate to read the rest of the series!

  • Hopped in here from your reading list page.. let me read the first book and then comment 🙂

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  • Thanks Nishita for the book. I loved it. Lisbeth is someone who stays in mind and I am looking forward to read the next two.

    Great review!

  • I was surprised how much this book hooked me. I started with the audio while driving to work, but had to keep going so I switched to the book to read at night. Good enought to listen over sections. Interesting to note that the author was a human rights advocate. The title of the movie is “Men Who Hate Women”, in Sweden, from Wikopedia. His version of Lisbeth is a grown up Pippi Longstocking. Excellent writing.

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  • I liked the title of this book. Added this to my next in reading list.

  • Kat

    This book is my next to-be-read. I didn’t finish your review in case it has spoilers but I’ve heard it is hard to put down. The snow on your blog is cute!

    • Thanks for dropping by. I have tried to avoid spoilers in the review, but then it’s really difficult when you have so much to say about the book 🙂

      Btw, you can enable snow on your blog too.

      Just go to Appearance ->Extras and select Show Snow Falling on my blog.

      There, you will have snow too…

      Just popped into your blog and saw you are planning a trip to Paris.

      Have a good vacation, and Merry Christmas to you all !

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  • I too have read this book and it was a wonderful mystery. I plan to read the next two very soon. Great review..

  • Beauty! I knew you will like it. And another lesson.. never peep into a novel like that 😀 You will end up reading it LOL!
    I sat up whole night with it too///

    well on the last part… it is kind of what you can say, not leaving anything out. the author might have thought like tat!

    and i m telling you if u like Lisbeth… 2nd book is something you MUST pick up Right away… it starts 1 yr later and is totally another mystery… loved it!
    i m waiting to get my hands on the 3rd one.. actually i m begging anyone who will lend me an ear to gift it o me LOL!

  • Kals

    I’ve seen this book in my book store and library and for some reason, avoided it. After this review, I think I’ll give it a try =)

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