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Wednesday Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stieg Larsson

Genre: Crime Thriller

Book procurement: Bought a copy at a second-hand bookstore in Melville.


A murder mystery, family saga, love story, and a tale of financial intrigue wrapped into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.Harriet Vanger, scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.


First Thoughts

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel. I had heard many thing about it, heard people rave about both the book and the movie. Some said it was too brutal, others said it was a fantastic read/watch. I was drawn in to the book immediately when I started and by the end of the book I must say I was somewhat satisfied. Not your conventional book and the characters were both unique, and riveting. Definitely worth the read.


Mikael Blomkvist is a financial journalist whose name had appeared briefly in a previous news story before he built his reputation as the head of the Millennium and a reputable journalist. However, a libel conviction against him rows his career off the rails. At the same time, Henrik Vanger employs Mikael to investigate the disappearance of his niece Harriet Vanger, who disappeared over 40 years ago. He feels someone is taunting him, as every year at the same time he gets a pressed flower in a picture frame from an unknown individual. The flowers and frame are untraceable. Lisbeth Salander is a young prodigy with a unique personality that extends beyond her piercings and particular tattoo. She proves to be beyond capable.

Together they unravel one helluva history with roots in the Nazi, of profound corruption, and a truth that is sure to rock everyone’s boat.


Stieg Larsson sure plumbed the depths of societal taboos when he came up with this story and the characters frolicking about throughout the novel. All written brilliantly and brought alive by their personalities, I had a love/hate relationship with most of them. Mikael is a likable guy but he’s a man in all respects. The Vanger family – wow what a family to be born in. Lisbeth is sometimes an annoying teen and I want to punch some life into her and yet her individuality makes me want to get to know her (although she’ll probably scoff me off).

The mystery also seems unsolvable. I mean, the Vanger family used their riches, influence and resources into finding the girl and yet whatever happened to her 40 years ago came to naught. Full police investigation and all. Stieg brilliantly leads us through the whole process, delving into Mikael, Lisbeth, and the Vanger family’s lives, working it all together towards the truth behind Harriet’s disappearance and the conclusion was completely unexpected.

Oh and it is pretty savage. Stieg pulls no punches and tells it like it is – taboo? What’s that?

Final Thoughts

The ending is sort of open ended, which makes me want to read the remaining two novels  The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. A really well thought out book. Truly unique character. Fascinating setting. If this novel was anything to go by, I’m in for a helluva ride with the next two books!

Rating: A mind-boggling 4 out of 5


About Nthato Morakabi

Nthato Morakabi is a South African published author. He has short stories appearing in both international and local anthologies, and has published his first book, Beneath the Wax, which opens his three-part novella series "Wax". He is an avid reader, blogger and writer.

3 responses »

  1. Great review. I still have to get my hands on this book.

  2. Our (old ladies) book club gave it a four out of five as well, but as far as I know, only one member went on to read the next two books. There was talk of going to see the movie together, but nobody drives at nigh–ha!

  3. Pingback: Mr Mercedes – Review | A-Scribe To Describe

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