Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.
I really and truly did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I have no idea why but it just didn’t strike me as a book I would like that much, despite the good reviews. Even so I decided it was worth a shot and I was in the mood for a mystery, so why not?
As a whole, this was probably one of the stronger mysteries I’ve ever read. The details are meticulous, the story is well thought out, and the evidence is presented in a way that you really are trying to solve the mystery along with the main characters. For the most part I loved how the evidence was presented so thoroughly as the characters discovered it. There’s no piece of evidence that is really left out of the readers’ scope and I loved that. It’s not easy to write a mystery like that and very few authors have the talent to do so.
However, being that it is meticulous with not only the evidence presented, but also the side-story going on in Mikael’s life/career and to a lesser degree Salander’s life as well, it had moments where it dragged. In particular the beginning (until about 30% on my Kindle) and the end (from about 75% onward) were rather slow. But the “meat” of the book was amazing and had me positively glued to the story.
Even though those parts did drag a bit, they were also kind of necessary, especially the beginning. I’m not sure that every detail of
needed to be revealed to the reader, but it was satisfying to see what happened on that front nonetheless.
That being said, even with those slow parts this book was incredible. I was constantly second-guessing my own predictions and even though I did sort of at least partially figure it out, I definitely didn’t put everything together and even though I did stumble upon some of the ending by putting together clues (and guessing), it wasn’t really very obvious and I certainly didn’t figure out the majority of it (not even close).
So yeah, excellent book and very satisfying mystery. Even the main characters solving the mystery are complex and interesting and not entirely revealed by the end, leaving them a bit of a mystery themselves. Hopefully their characters will be fleshed out even more in the next two books.
I can’t wait to pick up the next one. If it weren’t so late I’d be tempted to pick it up right now, but I’ll probably wait until tomorrow.