REVIEW: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larrson


I embarked upon the first novel in the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, with absolutely no knowledge about the series other than its famous reputation. Seriously, I knew there was a high chance of encountering a female character with a dragon tattoo, but other than the information provided on the cover, I was clueless.

The book series, which I was self-decidedly too young for back when it launched in 2008, fell into my lap by chance this month. Nowadays everyone seems to have a copy of Dragon Tattoo so when a friend of my mum’s was giving her copy away I seemed to be the only person who was in need of one (and yes, I do mean need). In short, Dragon Tattoo is about a financial journalist named Mikael Blomkvist who will do anything to expose an immoral gangster corporation leader – even if that means launching a personal investigation of a missing person for his nemesis’ commercial opposition. The girl, that one with the dragon tattoo, fits into the story early on as her life merges with Blomkvist’s and they launch the high-risk venture as a team.

Although overly complex in the start, after I’d read the first 50 pages or so I began to realise exactly why this novel has captured the adoration of millions. It’s fast, thrilling, full of twists, and truly keeps you guessing. Salander and Blomkvist aren’t your typical stock characters, instead they are complex and interesting, frustrating at times, but mostly fascinating.
As a reader who appreciates the author behind a story and the context behind a novel, I was pleased to discover that Dragon Tattoo’s author Stieg Larrson was the second best-selling author in the world in 2008, just behind one of my favourite authors Khaled Hosseini. Another piece of trivia I only learnt from opening the book was that Larrson died suddenly and surprisingly in 2004, after submitting the entire trilogy for publication but before the first novel was even published, let alone gathering in fame. Here’s another writer that never got to realise the true greatness of his art amongst the masses.

Larrson balanced the nitty-gritty, shocking elements of the novel well against the emotions of the characters. They aren’t falling all over one another overcome with emotion and because of this poignant, memorable lines arise.

“What she had realised was that love was that moment when your heart was about to burst."

Dragon Tattoo is a Swedish story, translated into English and so it’s hard to tell if the version I read truly communicates the author’s intentions, but as far as the story goes it is immensely clever and detailed. While I don’t regret giving it a miss aged 12, I’m glad I finally got round to reading it at a time in my life when I could appreciate it. For anyone who is yet to start the series I strongly encourage you to do so (here).

Love, Jess

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