A Review: Dancing with the Dragon

Hey, guys! Can you believe it is already August?! That means I am starting grad school this month! I even had a grad prep night yesterday. Holy frijoles I am a grad student. What? When did this happen?

Well, I have been using my summer free time trying to catch up on my reading list (Never gonna happen. It’s impossible. Still, I must persevere!) Anyway, part of that list contained The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Let’s take a look!

Title:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson
Release Date: 
September 16, 2008
Publisher:  Knopf
Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
644 pages
Status:  Series (1/4)

Sum It Up (from Amazon)

Harriet Vanger, a 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.

Let’s Review, Shall We?

This book had been on my “To Read” list for quite some time, and I was just recently able to get around to reading it. To be honest, it started out slow for me. There was a lot of backstory and political/journalistic components that I got bogged down in, in addition to Swedish culture that I did not fully understand. I almost stopped reading it once I lost momentum—mind you I was already nearly 200 pages in. I very rarely stop reading a book once I have started it, especially if I spent money on it or if it was a gift. Now, I powered through because of my code of the books, and I was rewarded by a hook of mystery and intrigue.

I have to admit, I was not prepared for what lurked within the pages. This novel is not for the weak-stomached. That is for sure.

Larsson tells the story from several different perspectives, including, but not limited to, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. Additionally, the story is told through other subsequent characters, adding depth to an already deep storyline.

A short recap of the beginning is that we focus on Blomkvist as he stands trial for a libel suit after publishing an expose of Hans-Christian Anderson, a corrupt businessman who will sink to no means to rid the world of his enemies. Erm…wait. I mean Hans-Erik Wennerström.

My Bad

Anywho. Blomkvist loses the case in the first pages, and he is sentenced to pay a large sum of money and serve time in jail. He removes himself from his position at a magazine he and his…best friend…Erica Berger, founded—Millennium. As he hits rock bottom, he is drawn into the mysterious investigation of the long cold (40ish years?) murder/missing person case of Harriett Vanger at the request of her uncle, Henrik Vanger, an aging, eccentric, filthy rich man. He promises information on Wennerström if Blomkvist will search the case for any new information for a year under the pretense of assisting Henrik with his autobiography. Blomkvist accepts against his better judgment and is sucked into a world he never imagined.

Little does Blomkvist know that Vanger has delved deeply into Blomkvist’s personal life before hiring him through the help of a personal investigator, Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant and somewhat disturbed young woman with a dark, tangled past, linking the two. With the enemies Blomkvist uncovers he will need all the help he can get, leading him to cross paths with the mysterious Salander as they strive to solve the cold case of Harriet Vanger’s disappearance.

This novel kept me guessing throughout, and I was thrilled by the ending of the case. One thing that disappointed me was that I failed to connect with the main characters. Quirks, intricacies, and behaviors drove a wedge between us, and I struggled to recover. Granted, I held enough piqued interest to continue reading—if only to see how the thriller/mystery ended. Most likely I will continue the series, but, as I mentioned earlier, the novel is heavy. Yikes.

Overall:  3 out of 5 stars


You can purchase The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or many other major booksellers.

Other Reviews:

  • TAwrites a review similar to mine, seemingly facing similar struggles in the first third of the book.
  • Lakshmi Padmanaban gave a positive review on her website.






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