Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book because it was popular and discounted for Kindle on Not the best way to choose a book, but not the worst way either. 

The first part of the book lacked a coherent story line and I decided it wasn't worth my time and set it aside.  The most interesting character, in my opinion, was Lisbeth Salander (social misfit computer hacker with tortured past) and she disappeared with no hint of returning.  A friend at work encouraged me to keep reading because, she claimed, it gets better and let me know that Lisbeth does in fact return.

It did get better as the unecessary background of journalist Mikel Blomkvist's method and boring day-in-the-life narrative ended. A week later, the same friend who encouraged me to finished the book apologized for convincing me to go on because she "hated" the ending. I finished anyway and also regretted it. The girl will need to kick the hornet's nest and play with fire without me. 

The problem with this book is that it is three stories, only one of which is completely developed. The first story is a journalist trying to clear his name after being set up and convicted for libel. This part of the story is what convinced me to set the book aside.  The story merely talks about the daily life of a journalist with sideshows of sexual escapades.  The only interesting thing about the first part of the story is the introduction of a misfit computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander, who works doing private investigations.  There is enough of an introduction of her to make you interested and then she disappears, leaving you with boring how to be a journalist and run a magazine 101.

The second story (and the only complete story) is the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy man's niece, Harriet Vanger, and the efforts of Blomkvist and, thank you for small miracles, Lisbeth Salander to solve the mystery (which they do). When Blomkvist and Salander solve the disappearance of Harriet Vanger I felt like the book should have ended but my Kindle told me I was just over 80% done.  I remember thinking, "what on earth could be left?"  Turns out the author had one more incomplete story to tell. 

The last story is an unexpected love story between Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander which, up to this point in the story, appeared only sexual.  Blomkvist sleeps with anything with legs in this book from the wealthy man's sister, a married woman who is also his partner at the magazine, and Lisbeth when she offers.  I say this only to show that the fact that they slept together does not develop the romantic relationship between the characters enough to justify a love interest crammed into the ending.  I believe this lack of development is why my friend hated the ending.  The relationship between Blomkvist and Salander was primarily professional and then the story tries to add a possible love interest while returning to the wrap up of clearing Blomkvist's name from the first part of the book that hasn't been really mentioned or developed since we dropped it for the second story line.  I enjoyed the mystery portion of the book and the other storylines bored me, confused me, or just made me angry.  That is why I will not be reading the remaining books in the series.

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