Tuesday, January 22, 2013

{A Kelly Coffee Review} The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Series: Millennium #1
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Knopf

Synopsis: Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there's always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

This is an Adult book and contains sexual content, strong language and violence. Recommended for mature readers.
Okay, I know I'm a little behind with this one, but it's been sitting on my To-Read list for a while. Having finally got through it (it's unusual for me to take a month to get through a book), I'm a little on the fence about this one.

The good: if you're into detailed, intricate plot lines, this one is for you. There's a number of running story lines which are integrated very well with one another. There's a great building of character and individuality that made the characters very real. The cookie crumbs that are laid out and how the main mystery comes together are all very well done. As for the reading, it was both easy to get caught up in, but pretty easy to put down and come back to. Because of the almost episodic nature of the breaks in the book, it's easy to find stopping places as well.

The hiccups:

And I call them hiccups because they're not things that are innately wrong, just things that didn't work so well for me. The writing is a little awkward, which I attribute to translation more than anything, but it was noticeable, especially at the beginning. Once I got used to it, it didn't bother me so much, and the writing isn't particularly flowery so overall it reads pretty smoothly. But it was still dense so while smooth, it wasn't fast. I was driven nuts by the use of Kronor, because I just had no frame of reference for how much money anything really was (and since money and expense is a big deal throughout the book, it's annoying). I wasn't agitated enough to look it up, but it was still irritating.

But my biggest hang up with this book was my indifference and borderline dislike of Mikael Blomkvist, the main character. I wanted to like him. I actually liked him quite a bit when portrayed by Daniel Craig, but I just couldn't quite root for the base character. I loved Lisbeth, but while she is a main character, she's not the main character, and the end of the book kind of broke my heart a little bit (and not in the good way).

So, overall, a worthwhile read for both Lisbeth and the pure intricacy in the mystery. It's worth it to see what all the fuss is about from the source, but the end broke my heart in the wrong way and didn't really encourage me to pick up the next one. 

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