Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo--Stieg Larsson

I've given into the best-selling craze and read the first of Larrsson's mystery thrillers (Of course this had nothing to do with the fact that Amazon offered the book for a total of five dollars); Well I can't truly say if I loved it or loathed it.

The main set-up for the novel is the best materials for a locked room mystery I've seen; in Sweden there is an island owned by the billionaire Vanger family. The teenaged daughter disappeared during a time where nearly everyone on the island was attempting to clear the only possible exit from the island. Clearly, she had to have been murdered. The body was never found.

Larsson carefully builds two protagonists that meet my two critia for fictional characters, they feel real and I cared about what happened to them. But, they were both disgusting human beings.

This all said, the book has problems; the mystery isn't truly resolved. Near the end of the book, Larsson just pulls a solution out of the ether that just doesn't gel correctly with what we know. This is a pity, since all the building clues pointed in a beautifully devious solution to the case.

The other problem with the novel is the heavy sexual violence. It can be handled well (like in Eckert's The Evil in Pemberley House) or badly, like this. While reading what all happened to Lisbeth Salander, and on a different level the events missing Vanger girl was a part of, it never feels like Larsson cares about the characters and is having a good ol' time putting the poor girls though several rapes (making it worse is that Salander is slightly retarded). Perhaps I'm not stating clearly what exactly disturbs me about this; it's not just that he's having fun, it feels like Larsson is getting a sexual high of the misfortunes of his female characters. And that's just wrong.

Still, for pure page turning ability, I do give the novel points. I was hooked reading from the first page to the end.

Final Rating: B+

Wold Newton: Nothing that can be stated without research; but it seems this novel brings to light a slight interaction between THRUSH and the immortal Nine.

James Bojaciuk

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