Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Date Finished: 1/2/2016
2005 • 533 pages • Rating ★★★

I realise that I’m several years behind everyone else when concerned with this book but it had been on my to-read list for a long time, so last week I picked up my copy and got reading. Admittedly, being super late to the party meant that I wasn’t as psyched to read this as I could have been had I jumped on the bandwagon earlier, but I finally decided to give The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a go and here’s what I thought:

For the most part, I enjoyed it. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired by the former CEO of a million dollar company to look in to the disappearance of a young girl in his family, who vanished nearly forty years ago. Lisbeth Salander, a freelance researcher, becomes involved in the case alongside our journalist and they go about trying to solve the case together. As far as the plot goes and the case itself, it was interesting to read about if perhaps very graphic and sometimes a little unsettling. The missing girl in question is assumed to have been murdered and so there is lots of talk about violence – like, a lot. Women who’ve been raped and mutilated and it’s pretty intense so just a heads up because I wasn’t prepared for how graphic the violence is.

Intense as it may be in the long run the plot starts of really slow, and I didn’t really become completely interested in the story until about a third of the way through. But once the mystery of the case started to unravel and Lisbeth and Blomkvist teamed up the pace of the story definitely improved. I guess the slow build up has something to do with effect and creating tension or some crap but let’s be honest, there’s nothing interesting in reading about a guy reading old police reports and newspaper clippings. It needs to be done, I know, for narrative purposes but where is Salander in all of this, dammit.

Which brings me to the next part: Lisbeth Salander is totally boss and a complete fucking badass. She goes through some rough shit but comes back kicking and it’s so awesome. And like I said, it wasn’t until she got involved in the investigation that things really got interesting so that just says what kind of a character she is.

The story is smart and I for one didn’t see the case taking the turn it did, but it lacked something that prevented this book from blowing my mind and I know what it was: the narrative and the absolutely pointless details that just weighed the whole thing down unnecessarily. The clothes everyone was wearing, what they’re eating every minute of the day and oh my God I do not need to know everything somebody makes coffee. I was so tired of reading about the million times “Blomkvist made coffee” or when someone “put water on for coffee”. Completely. Pointless. Information. The book could have been fifty pages shorter if all that drivel had been cut out.

In all this turned out to be entertaining and I’m glad I read it if only to finally see the David Fincher adaptation afterwards, which is actually pretty good - very stylish and edgy. The book is good too; it wasn’t amazing but I feel a sense of self satisfaction at having read it at last.

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