Because I suck at making my own summary, here’s one from Goodreads:
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.
In this first installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, I can’t really say whether I made the mistake of watching the movie adaptation (Swedish version) first before reading the book. It was one of the rare moments where I bent my personal rule of not watching movie adaptation before I have read the book, and on these rare occasions, most often I end up not reading the book anymore because I find it redundant already. I’d rather read other books which I don’t have any idea yet, right? With The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I must say, though, that I liked the story well enough that watching it did not not dissuade me from wanting to read the book.
Ever since I got introduced to the infamous lady sleuth Nancy Drew, I have been a perennial lover of good mystery stories. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is one such story and one of the main characters is a genius lady sleuth ala Nancy Drew (but not quite), Lisbeth Salander.
That the book is originally written in Swedish and the setting is in Sweden have added to my interest. Sweden is one of the countries in Europe that I hold a fascination for, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has indulged my curiosity — if only for a little bit.
I cannot make up my mind yet as to whether I should like or hate Mikael Blomkvist. On one hand, he is principled journalist, passionate about the ethics and morals of his profession, but on the other hand, his relationships with women, particularly with Erika and Lisbeth (and even Cecilia) have made me raise my eyebrows several times.
Lisbeth Salander is an enigma. As a mystery-solver, she is a mystery herself. Her past is shady, although I am guessing that there will be more revelations about her character in the next succeeding books. Still, her ingenuity when it comes to investigations and computers and interpreting the sequence of events makes her such an efficient assistant for Blomkvist, although how she has gained such admirable skill and knowledge is not revealed yet on this book. At least, not yet.
The Vangers. Ah, the Vangers. There were times when I got confused with the intricacies of the Vanger family tree, but at least only a few names played a major role in the story. Henrik, the old man who started it all, can be sympathetic but I can’t escape the feeling that he is still a ruthless negotiator and businessman despite his advanced age.
There were actually no big surprises for me regarding the twists and turns of the events considering that I have already watched the movie (which is, I must say, a rather good adaptation of the book), but I am glad that most of my questions were answered after I have read the book.
There were instances when the book meanders into boring and rather useless details such as the taking of walks, the smoking of cigarettes, the drinking of wine, etc. that I had to skip through these parts and directly go into the more relevant paragraphs. The financial scam aspect of the story could have have bored me, only that I was able to gain a little knowledge about securities and financing in one class so it was also quite an interesting read for me.
What I love the most about the book is that it centers on the issue of violence, abuse and exploitation against women. Political activism is greatly explored in the book as well, and contributed to the book’s appeal, to me at least. Reading the author’s background on Wikipedia, I can’t help but think that there are facets of his life that were similar to that of Blomkvist’s.
All in all, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a worthwhile read. Starting now on the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire.
My copy: ebook