Monday 26 Sep 2016

Millennium Trilogy: 1
Jennifer Ramirez

A remarkable piece of imagineering, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, is an exciting story, one with enough changes and turns to keep all secret lovers at bay. With a wonderful story and some impressive characters, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” scores high on all fronts and absolutely deserves its place at the top of all topseller lists.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a global best-seller and is set in Sweden. It takes a little effort to get familiar to all the Swedish names and places. Thereafter, though, the storyline moves with impressive speed.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” begins by introducing us to the key characters of Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant young woman, tough, in all senses of the word; an imaginative computer researcher qua hacker and anti-hero hero in the fullest sense of the word.

Blomkvist and Salander are exceptional characters, compelling and intricate. The reader slowly, but surely, is pulled into their world. With easy to follow topic matter and some fantastic translation from the original Swedish work, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” has a style distinct to anything I've ever read before in a fiction story. I was absolutely hooked onto it from the beginning and loved the complicated yet detailed storyline, eager to move on from one chapter to the next.

A 24-year-old computer hacker showing off an assortment of tattoos and body piercings and afflicted with Asperger Syndrome or some thing of the like has been under state guardianship in her native Sweden since she was 13. She supports herself by doing deep background research for Dragan Armansky, who, in turn, worries the anorexic-looking Lisbeth Salander is "the perfect target for anyone who wished her ill." Salander might look fourteen and stubbornly shun public norms, but she has the internal energy of a determined survivor. She recognizes more than her word processor page in black and white and despises the users and abusers of this world. She won't think twice to exact her own special brand of retribution against small-potatoes bullies, sick predators, and corrupt magnates alike.

Economic and investigative reporter, Carl Mikael Blomkvist, has just been found guilty of libeling a financier and is facing a fine and about three months in jail. Blomkvist, after a Salander-completed background check, is summoned to a meeting with semi-retired industrialist Henrik Vanger whose far-flung but shrinking corporate empire is wholly family owned. Vanger has brooded for 36 years about the fate of his great niece, Harriet. Blomkvist is expected to live for a year on the island where many Vanger family members still reside and where Harriet was last seen. Under the cover story that he is writing a family history, Blomkvist is to investigate which family member might have done away with the teenager.  The climax of the book is an additional great feature and although it was a little too violent for my liking.

The character sketched by Stieg Larsson is done in a beautiful manner with Salander as unpredicted a heroine that one can ever think about. Enter punk-haired and severely unfavourable Lisbeth Salander, a mistrustful, anti social, and oft-violent 25 year-old woman who has been declared psychologically incompetent by the state and placed under guardianship of a state-appointed lawyer. An impressive hacker, she is mystical in her ways and behavior and makes one wonder as to what she will do next. She is appealing: ruthless and hard to a fault, yet internally vulnerable, struggling to understand her own feelings. She has an appeal that draws you to her, rooting for her, and wanting to comprehend her. Lisabeth is memorable, different from most characters that populate mystery series. There is such depth here.

The second protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist is another character who has been created as the ideal folly to the mystical Salander. The novel truly comes alive when these two mind blowing characters meet and pair up to solve a decade old murder mystery.

I recommend this worldwide bestseller to all who impatiently sift new books for challenging intellectual crime detective series, who luxuriate in immersing themselves in the aspect of a compellingly created world and unforgettable characters, who soak up financial and investigative minutiae as well as computer hacking data, and who want to share Larsson's crusade against violence of any kind and racism.

It’s a contagiously interesting, amazingly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the deeper aspects of their universe and of their own lives. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the best reads I've had in a long time.

Click to read the review of "The Girl Who Played with Fire" or "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," by Jennifer Ramirez.

Jennifer Ramirez, known as Jenny, has reviewed and edited for 5+ years. Originally from Toronto, she grew up performing and competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Jenny enjoys reviewing movies, books and music albums. She describes herself as funny and righteous, with a 'go that extra mile' attitude. Her philosophy is quite simple: try to live life to the fullest Jenny writes that hr passion is books. She reads and reviews current and back-list literary fiction, crime fiction, thrillers, occasionally science fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She also loves music. She's a huge fan of The Maine and All Time Low! Joy is her favorite word and creativity is something she can't live without.

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