From the start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hooks the reader, making him not only interested in the main characters but also wanting to learn what is going to happen throughout the book. Stieg Larsson gives fascinating descriptions of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, making them both not only real but also unique, then sets the two on seemingly different courses until they finally meet up in the middle of the book. The decision to have Mikael and Lisbeth’s respective stories grow significantly before intertwining with one another was genius so as to make the character’s interactions with one another more real during the last half of the book. The second best decision was that mystery of Harriet Vanger turned out not to be the central emphasis of the book, but a genius way of getting Mikael and Lisbeth together and seeing their independent perspectives of the outcome while also setting up their trust with one another the leads to the books intriguing finish.
I have heard the critiques that this book is sexist and anti-female, so I am going to address that in this review. The experiences of Lisbeth in the first half of the book and what Mikael and she uncover in their Vanger investigation do seem to be really anti-female. However, it should be noted that Lisbeth gets revenge for her situation and that both Mikael and she are repulsed with what they find out during the Vanger investigation. Larsson throughout the book includes statistics on the sexual mistreatment of women in Sweden at the beginning of each part in his book. So yes, Larsson does have some blatant mistreatment of women in this book, however he also shows that not every individual in this book likes it and they want to do something about it if possible. Parts of the world we live in are pitch black and most people doesn’t want look at it, Larsson however shows that some times these things have to be looked at however uncomfortable.
Although, I understand Larsson inclusion of the mistreatment of women that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. The rape scenes were not a highlight in the book for me and I got through them as best I could. However, the book as a whole had everything a really good story needed and was a fantastic read.