Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy

I would rather be reviewing the trilogy of the Hunger Games because I just finished it, but since it is so new, I do not want to give away any spoilers. Alas, I will finally review another excellent trilogy written by Steig Larsson.

Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomvist is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of Vanger’s great-niece Harriet. Henrik suspects that someone in his family, the powerful Vanger clan, murdered Harriet over forty years ago
Starting his investigation, Mikael realizes that Harriet’s disappearance is not a single event, but rather linked to series of gruesome murders in the past. He now crossespaths with Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, an asocial punk and most importantly, a young woman driven by her vindictiveness.

I picked up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo completely on a whim. It had an eye-catching cover, was on the best-seller list, and I needed a new book to read since Brandon was in the midst of his internship (aka. never home). It turned out to be so much more than I expected. I will admit, I was bored to tears through the first half of it. When Larsson lays out the Wennestrom affair I had no difficulty turning off the light and going to sleep, but after I got over that hump, I was hooked. The character of Lisbeth Salander, with her social awkwardness and sharp edges, intrigued and captivated me. I was impressed by her kick-ass-ness and touched by her vulnerabilities that she tried to keep hidden. I felt like Larsson really packed a lot into this book, almost enough to make it two separate books: one about Blomvist and Wennestrom and another about the Vanger family. Obviously these two stories are far to interconnected to be able to separate them into different books, but I was a little overwhelmed. It becomes clear though that this first book is only the tip of the iceberg and lays the foundation for an even more intricate and fabulous story. At the end of the first book I couldn't wait to get my hands on the 2nd on.

Lisbeth Salander is wanted for a triple murder. All three victims are connected to a trafficking exposé about to be published in Mikael Blomqvist’s magazine Millenium, and Lisbeth’s fingerprints are on the weapon.

Lisbeth vanishes to avoid capture by the justice. Mikael, not believing the police, is despairingly trying to clear her name, using all his resources and the staff of his magazine. During this process, Mikael discovers Lisbeth’s past, a terrible story of abuse and traumatizing experiences growing up in the Swedish care system

The Girl Who Played With Fire, is my personal favorite out of the series. It is pretty much all about Lisbeth, and since she is the most interesting character, who always seems to find trouble, it was a pretty excellent book and there was never a period that I forced myself to get through, like there was in the beginning of Dragon Tattoo. But, I expected great things from Larsson with this book after reading Dragon Tattoo, and he definitely delivered. I was not disappointed. This book goes more in depth into Lisbeth's life and history on a personal level. I enjoyed seeing a young, damaged, angry Lisbeth strike out to defend her mother and it was haunting to experience the atrocities of her childhood. This book again, lays the groundwork for the 3rd book in the trilogy which is filled with political corruption and intrigue.

Two seriously injured people arrive at the emergency ward of the Sahlgrensa hospital in Gothenburg. One is the wanted murderer Lisbeth Salander who has taken a bullet to the head and needs immediate surgery, the other is Alexander Zalachenko, an older man who Lisbeth has attacked with an axe.

In this third novel in the Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth is planning her revenge against the men who tried to kill her, and even more importantly, revenge against the government which nearly destroyed her life. But first she must escape from the intensive care unit and exculpate her name from the charges of murder that hangs over her head.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next was almost disappointing to me and I can't quite put my finger on why that is. I was hooked from the first chapter because it picks up almost exactly where book #2 leaves off. The book was suspenseful and full of government corruption, which might be what I didn't like as much about it. This book was less centered on Lisbeth as a person and more focused on the team and web of intrigue that led her to be an innocent victim of the government. This book wraps up Lisbeth's saga with a lot of drama and a dash of suspense. I enjoyed seeing people rally together for Lisbeth and her defense at trial. The whole Sapo part of the story lost my interest at times. I also think that the romantic in me was disappointed in Blomvist in the end. I wanted him to change his philandering ways, but he did not. To be fair, he has always been upfront and unapologetic about who he is and makes it clear he won't change because he likes his life. I was very glad though that Lisbeth decided to let him back in her life, as a friend.

I would recommend reading these books and think that they would be appealing to both men and women. There is intrigue, suspense, drama, murders, and so much more. The characters are intricate and interesting and Lisbeth will capture your heart, even with her tough exterior. I am going to give these books a collective 7.5/10. (For me book 2 would be closer to an 8.5/10 and the others more a 7/10, but all worth reading).

BONUS: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: The Movie!
I watched the Swedish Dragon Tattoo movie, dubbed unfortunately. (I think I'd rather read the subtitles instead of having lips moving and words not matching) Aside from the fact it was dubbed, I can't find a darn thing wrong with this movie. It stays absolutely true to the book! I loved seeing Lisbeth on-screen and the actress portrays her perfectly! The American-Hollywood Dragon Tattoo has begun filming and will come out next winter. I think Daniel Craig is going to be the perfect Blomvist, but this new actress they have cast is going to have some huge shoes to fill after the Swedish actress's role. If you can handle the dubbing I would 100% recommend this movie- but I do think I only loved it as much as I did because I had read the book and it followed it so well.


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