Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Blurb: “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.

An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.”

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Crime novel, Nordic noir, Crime Fiction

Page Count: 672

Goodreads Rating: 4.1/5

My Rating: 4/5

THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Trigger Warning: Rape


This is my second attempt at reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo so I went into this book very skeptical and apprehensive. Last time I found my reading capability wasn’t up to standard with the book so to be able to give this another go was interesting and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

So I considered the first part of the book to be incredibly slow. I fully understand and appreciate that for a book of this size, context is very important. But I felt that the amount given made the start of the book really slow for me. Further down the line I realise I appreciated the content given but it definitely tinted the reading experience for me, if it hadn’t been for my first 100 pages rule (where if i’m not enjoying a book and I’m still not enjoying it at the 100th page I won’t continue with the book) I would have absolutely have put it down. But I am so so glad I didn’t!

So straight away after being introduced to the characters I LOVED the contrast of the two main characters, Michael Blomkvist and Elizabeth Salander. For me Michael Blomkvist’s character development throughout the whole book was monumental, I started the book like ‘lord above this man is bland’. Then I realised he has an open relationship with his co-worker and close friend Erika which perked him up a bit, then you realise this man is not afraid to speak his mind, potentially lose his job and stand up to the big boys like he does early on in the book. Towards the end of the book I loved him. The confidence, passion and determination this man holds is commendable and when his relationship with Salander advances I never saw it coming but I was absolutely here for it.

The general mystery of the storyline itself is intense. Michael Blomkvist after going through some legal battles is recruited to work for Henrik Vanger on his estate in Hedestad, Sweden. He’s recruited to write the Vanger daily history. In actual fact he is there to uncover the truth as to where Harriet Vanger disappeared too. The way the mystery is unraveled is one bombshell after the next. I absolutely could not put this book down once it really got into it. The twists and turns, the revelations one after the other I needed to know where she was, if someone had killed her and if so, who? The family had so many secrets. the crescendo for me was when someone was shooting at Blomkvist. At this point you know someone is after him. But It was never who I would expected.

In contrast with Michael is Elizabeth Salander. Right form the start she’s a mystery. I also sympathise for her straight away, not even too far into the book she is raped. But she’s cool, calm and collected and I have a lot of respect for her especially when she takes matters into her own hands. Although she is very shattered and broken person, she is one badass bitch. She’s damn good at what she does and its impressive. This is why when she does start seeing Blomkvist Im shocked but 100% here for it as I said above. I loved the two of them together, they are polar opposites but they balance each other out. The ending did get me though. Salander is aware of his relationship with his co-worker Erika, so to know she was so hurt and wound up got me wanting to pick up the next book!

To back up my point that Salander is a bad ass bitch. When Michael is taken ‘prisoner’ by Henry Vanger in his basement, after realising it was him who was trying to shoot Blomkvist for digging too deep into the family history to find Harriet, Salander realises where he is and comes to his rescue. He’s in a torturous situation in Henry’s basement where we realise that Henry is a disgusting animal who rapes, mutilates and kills women for FUN. After being recruited to do this by his FATHER. SICKENING. But it also influences the investigation into Harriet with Henry being her brother. She was fully aware of what he is capable of. But, a great plot twist as I was not expecting it from him. So naturally my assumption was that Henry killed Harriet. LUCKILY that was not the case.

I was SHOOK when we discovered Harriet was alive. Her involvement in the remainder of the book made my heart warm. She was just running from something awful. I also didn’t expect Henry to kill himself in a car crash after the incident with Blomkvist and Salander in his basement but I guess he thought it was better to die than to go to jail for being an absolutely arsehole of epic proportions, especially because Harriet knew all of his secrets.

And yet once Harriet is discovered it doesn’t end there. Michael, Erika and Elizabeth take on the corporation at the start of the book who Michael tried to tackle before and absolutely decimated them and played them at their own game. If that isn’t a badass team i don’t know what is. Although Salander doesn’t think so so much at the end,

The book itself is really well written, gripping, exciting and I could not put it down. I voted this book 4/5 due to the slow start but thats literally it. It would be a 4.9/5 if it was possible. I also felt like when I was reading, the village of Hedestad reminded me of the small village I visited in Norway, Aurland! Beautiful, small, personal and quaint. Ill post a photograph of Aurland below!

Have you read this book before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

My 2020 Reading Round Up!

My 2020 reading journey was a ride and a half. With Lockdown coming into play in early 2020 I’d already picked up more books as a means to keep myself busy. What was even better was when my boyfriend, our friends and I decided during lockdown to get a book club going. It really varied up my reading and as we were all really interested in different types of genres it was interesting to read something different!

My reading goal for 2020 was 50 books. I ended up reading 53 books, so I was really happy to have reached my goal and then some! You can find some of the books I read this year below, as well as my top 10 books from the year. Top 10 was not easy to choose thats for sure, but it definitely made me realise every once and a while you should pick up something you’re not used to reading!

My top 10 below! Let me know if you’ve ready any of the books below in the comments and your thoughts as well!

My Top 10 from 2020!

Choosing my top 10 was the hardest thing I’ve had to do this year (so far!), but please enjoy these recommendations in no particular order! I did also throw a few series in here which were amazing but will definitely tell you the best book from the series.

The Wayward Pines Series – Blake Crouch

The most excitable series I’ve read so far, futuristic, thrilling and absolutely terrifying all in one. The best book was without a doubt Wayward #2, the second book in the series. I was gripped from start to finish and didn’t take a minute between books before I was moving onto the next.

The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

This entire series was phenomenal from start to finish and the final book was the longest book I read all year. Winter #4 was 827 pages and I finished this book as I came into the new year for 2020. BUT the best book of the series personally for me absolutely had to be Scarlet #2. I thoroughly enjoyed learning abut Scarlet and Wolf, I remember their story, minus Cinders, more than any of the others in the book. Including Levanas story and that was pretty crazy.

A Court of Thorns & Roses Series – Sarah J. Maas

I finished this season quite recently and although I enjoyed all the entire series the best book was without a doubt the first one, A Court of Thorns & Roses #1. The way this book ended and meeting the characters and seeing how they change throughout made me so excited to see how the story was going to progress.

The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton

This was a recommendation from our lockdown bookclub and not something I would usually read. I know absolutely nothing about the Tour De France, Lance Armstrong or doping. But this book by Ex-Cyclist Tyler Hamilton definitely changed all of that and in a really great way. Tyler Hamilton tells his story of the cycling scene in Tour De France, how the doping happens and where, and what Lance Armstrong is really like. I LOVED this book, totally addicted. Especially as this is a topic I didn’t know much about I found it so so interesting to read and learn about!

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

A comedic and eye-opening revelation of what happens in our hospitals and the challenges faced with becoming a doctor. Another recommendation from bookclub too! I read this book in 2 days, it made me chuckle but it also made me cry with loss and heartache. So well written and incredibly well done. Not tasteless and a really insightful.

War Doctor – David Nott

Another recommendation from our glorious bookclub which I never would have thought of reading. Straight away I was sucked in. To be a doctor in a war zone sounds like carnage and I was so upset with a few of the stories and how devastating they were. It was just incredible learning what its like volunteering in a war zone, the risk of being kidnapped, murdered, tortured. But being able to save so many lives who had been involuntarily affected by the wars surrounding them must be SO rewarding.

10 Minutes & 38 Seconds in this Strange World – Elif Shafak

I picked this one up from one of the night manager at work. It was left in the hotel I work in and eventually we can take the books for ourselves if they go unclaimed. So I decided this was mine and it made me want to go to Istanbul and explore. This book also really highlights the essence of true friendship, love and traditions and really made me feel warm inside. Even if the story was based on murdering prostitutes.

The Kiss Quotent – Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotent is #1 of the series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was from a perspective I had only ever once read before. The Curious incident of the Dog In the Nighttime, the main character has Aspergers. In this story the main female character is Autistic. It was so lovely but also a learning curve to see this love story come together through their difficulties. The second book was also fantastic, I am now patiently waiting for book #3!

The Choice – Dr Edith Eger

I LOVE Holocaust books, I find them so interesting and insightful and I feel this is why I also enjoy Dark Tourism as I take a lot of interesting in learning about something I could not ever imagine having to experience. The Choice is based on Dr Edith Eger, Mengeles Little Dancer, and her experience and memoir of her time in the holocaust. Moving and truly inspiring on EVERY account.

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I laughed and I cried and I wanted this love story SO MUCH. It was so lighthearted and constantly kept you wondering and wishing. I really really loved this book, the storyline and the way it came together. So much so that I recommended it to my boyfriend and even he enjoyed the humour it offered. I thought it was too much of a chick flick book for him but he loved it.

#StayHome TV Recommendations – Blog Brew Collab

With everything going on and being in isolation/quarantine lockdown during Covid-19, its a good opportunity to catch up on some shows you may be halfway through, wanting too watch or are wanting to join in with the Tiger King memes!

Ive never really taken the time to watch shows until now, its been really refreshing and I’ve watched SO MUCH MORE than I could have ever anticipated. So here are some recommendations from Netflix, Amazon Prime and more!

TOP BOY; Summerhouse Season 1 & 2 and TOP BOY Season 3 – NETFLIX

If you’re into gritty behind the scenes action of the London drug scene then this is definitely one for you. Sully and Dushane are the main characters and I enjoyed these seasons form start to finish. There is certainly never a dull moment and it keeps you on your toes. How all the storylines link is very clever, insanely action packed.

Breaking Bad – NETFLIX

If there is any time to watch a 5 season series it is now. With phenomenal ratings, a prequel series call Better Call Saul and a MOVIE, This show is a hit and not one to be missed! Underground meth labs and an incredible cast and storyline to go with it, no doubt those who have watched it have definitely told you about it.

Hanna – AMAZON PRIME

For this there is the Film and the TV Series. I would definitely recommend watching the film as it is fantastic. AS IS The Amazon Prime TV Series, consisting of 7 episodes the film only covers so much of the storyline. The TV Series however keeps the storyline going and it is just endlessly action packed and gripping. Definitely another one to binge watch.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness – NETFLIX

NOW THIS ONE, WOW. A documentary rollercoaster of animal rights, misery, mystery and murder. Focusing mainly on GW Zoo in Oklahoma, Joe Exotic runs on of the largest big cat zoos with over 200+ Tigers and other animal, not forgetting THAT BITCH CAROLE BASKIN. I highly recommend as some of the twists and turns within this docu-series are WILD.

Louis Theroux’s Most Dangerous Pets – BBC iPLAYER

If you enjoyed Tiger King and couldn’t get enough of it, then you’re in luck. in 2011 Joe Exotic did an episode with the AMAZING Louis Theroux. You can enjoy Joe Exotic and Louis Theroux all in the same place!

The US Office – AMAZON PRIME

It’s safe to say the US Office will never ever, ever, let us down. The greatest comedy sitcom with Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and so many more iconic actors and actresses I could binge watch this show for hours and hours. Definitely one to lighten the mood with this series for some light watching!

Hunters – AMAZON PRIME

Now this one I would advise that you look into first, I personally thoroughly enjoyed this dive to the way it was filmed and the actors, although it has a lot of reviews for being distasteful and glorifying the holocaust. The main premise is those who survived the holocaust targeting those nazis able to live in the US after everything that happened. Those who mistreated them the most, would most probably end up dead. Personally, I would recommend a watch, especially with Logan Lerman as one of the main stars.

The Staircase – NETFLIX

Another docuseries based on a woman who died from falling down the stairs. Although, the series highlights how, this definitely isn’t the case. Focusing solely on her husband this is another series which makes you THINK. I am highly excited to watch this as I am hugely into scandals and how the story being portrayed is definitely not what happened.

MTV’s (Celebrity) Ex On The Beach – SKY+ / NOW TV

I can safely say after keeping up with this explosive TV show from the start, the seasons just get better and better. What better concept of sending sexy singles to a villa to then watch them crumble as their Ex’s appear out of the sea. Highly recommend this series if you’re wanting something easy going, explosive, entertaining and sometimes some big celebrities (For example the season out at the moment is Celebrity Ex On the Beach, but sometimes on normal seasons they’ll have the occasional celebrity ex appear).

Hannah Montana, That’s so Raven, Suite life of Zack and Cody, etc. – DISNEY+

The Disney Original shows, what more do you NEED in this time? Binge watch all the OG shows from your childhood, not to mention all the big school music films. AND A HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL TV SERIES? What more do you NEED WOW. This one is definitely a childhood pleasure. Not to mention all the incredible movies and the Star Wars original from Disney available also!

Jack Ryan – AMAZON PRIME

This series staring John Krasinski is apparently incredible. 2 seasons are available on Amazon Prime and it is explosive and I have heard nothing but good things and good ratings for it. Action packed and a great storyline also! Another one to add to your watch list.

White Gold – NETFLIX

An amazing comedy staring Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl and Inbetweeners stars James Buckley and Joe Thomas this is the greatest laugh. Based in Essex, 3 double glazing salesmen trying to make money. I personally found the series absolutely hilarious. The characters, the storyline, the cockiness go of Ed Westwick’s character just seals the deal. A great and comical watch with 2 seasons available.

Noughts + Crosses – BBC iPLAYER

A recent adaptation on Malorie Blackman’s book series Noughts + Crosses on BBC iPlayer, I definitely recommend the books and the TV Series! The first season is 6 episodes long, its gritty and covers so many topics which are usually not discussed, its action packed and the storyline is awesome, its incredible really and also features Stormzy in the last episode! The books are also amazing, I’ve read the 5 book series twice!

There are so many more great shows and films to watch out there but these are just a few of my favourites / ones that have been recommended not to miss!

What have you watched / Been watching during your Isolation? Let me know!

This blog post was part of a wonderful Series by myself and 9 beautiful girlies known as The Blog Brew, Find all the girls websites below and what they have posted about within this series!

Bloggers Participating in this collaboration!