The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
(Millennium #1)
by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland
Published 2008 by Knopf
465 pages. Paperback.
Rating: 4/5

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 genious with cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there’s one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

This is the kind of series I would never normally read, but my curiosity got the better of me. It was so popular I had to pick it up. It started out really slow for me, since I have no interest in the financial babble at the beginning. Once Lisbeth was introduced, my interest was peaked.

Lisbeth is a wonderfully complicated character. Her development in this book was minor, but it was there. I feel a lot like her boss about her relationship with Mikeal. How on earth did he gain her trust so easily? This tough-as-nails little girl who never trusts anyone, opens herself up (as much as she’s ever willing to) to a man old enough to be her father. Not that his age really matters. I kind of feel like Mikael and Lisbeth are the type of people that are beyond age difference issues. Mikael is cool enough, but nothing particularly special to me. He has a good eye and really pays attention to detail (probably a side-effect of getting screwed by Wennerström

The plot, though very interesting, had a tendency to drag. I’m attributing this to Larsson’s detailed writing. He gives very in depth descriptions of everything. Sometimes it’s a little much, but other times I appreciate it. He does a great job with the element of suspense toward the end, then we’re left with a very surprising discovery at the end. I think the writing is good enough. It’s nothing special, but it really doesn’t need to be. It definitely could have been a little shorter.

The theme isn’t hard to find in this book. Especially since the original Swedish version was called “Men Who Hate Women.” The whole book is centered around hate crimes committed on women. Most of the crimes are committed for no real reason, just hatred. I think we can all agree that some of the things that go on in this book are just sick. There were a few particular scenes that seriously made me sick to my stomach. I guess, if you can’t deal with that kind of thing you might want to skip this one.

I saw the movie soon after I read the book. I think they did a stellar job. I was thoroughly impressed with Noomi Rapace. She is Lisbeth Salander. I just don’t think the American version will live up to this. Michael Nyqvist did an excellent job as well. I think he’s just perfect as Mikael. I do not think that Daniel Craig is the right choice, but we’ll just wait and see. I will say it will be a relief to be able to watch without reading subtitles the whole time. I don’t really mind all that much, but it gets a little tiresome. All in all, two thumbs up for the Swedish version.

In the end, the plot and main characters won out over any qualms I had with this book. By the end of it, I was in love. I just had to get there first. One question, why is Mikael such a hit with the ladies? I don’t see it. He’s cool and all, but I’m not jumping into bed with him over it.

The Girl Who Played with Fire
(Millennium #2)
by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland
Published 2009 by Knopf
503 pages. Paperback.
Rating: 5/5

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and published of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. But he has no idea just now explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander–the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genious hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire. As Blomkvist, alone in his belief of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings. Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.

This volume is a little more action-packed so it moves faster. I blazed through this one. It kept my interest in every aspect. We learn a lot more about Lisbeth (who is, after all, the most interesting character).

Lisbeth grows a lot in this book. She takes a look at how she has treated others. She begins to realize her choices have an effect on those around her. She’s kept everyone at arms length, trying to keep them out of her personal life. She never opens up, but it doesn’t stop people from caring about her. I loved that she started to see that she affects these people whether she keeps them close or not. I think this thought is what finally gives her the resolve to finish the job she started as a child.

It’s wonderful to watch the plot of this novel unravel. I was so excited by every bit of information I found. The pacing was so much better than that of the first book. I was very pleased with this one. I had to begin the next one immediately, as promised by the guy who loaned the books to me.

I enjoyed this movie, as well. I’m still impressed with Noomi Rapace. She’s just perfect. I’m not sure I want another Lisbeth. She really is Lisbeth for me. Like the book, the movie was better-paced. It was also shorter, which was nice. The first one was a tad too long for me.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
(Millennium #3)
by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland
Published 2010 by Knopf
566 pages. Hardcover.
Rating: 4/5

Lisbeth Salander, outsider and apparent enemy of society, is charged with attempted murder. In addition, the state has determined that she is mentally unstable and should be locked away in an institution once again. Pulling the strings behind the state’s prosecution is the inner circle of the Swedish security police. Only with Blomkvist’s help can Salander avoid the fate they have decided for her and expose and expose the secrets they are protecting. Lisbeth Salander has been abused by a system supposedly designed to protect. And yet she is the one person whose intransigence and limitless blood-mindedness can provoke the disruption of the Swedish secret state.

This book went back to a slower pace. There were moments when it would pick up with some action, but it was tame for the most part. The plot centered around exposing corrupt members of the Security Police and getting Lisbeth acquitted of all charges against her. I think that’s what makes this one slow. I’m not particularly interested in the inner-workings of Swedish government or in courtroom dramas. I didn’t mind it as much here because I was already invested in all the characters.

Lisbeth grows a little more. She’s slowly learning to trust the people that want to help her. It’s obvious that it will take some time before she really gets there, but she’s putting forth the effort which is nice. It’s also great to finally know all the details of her story. She’s kept it all so secret her whole life. I think writing her journey is really what opens her up. I think this book serves as a great finale to Lisbeth’s story.

The movie was well done. It followed the book pretty closely (like the others). It was a little long. I’m not sure what they could have cut to shorten it, because there’s already a lot cut out. It just felt long. My boyfriend was about to fall asleep by the time it starting winding down. I really enjoyed it though.

I really enjoyed this series, as a whole. Sometimes it was a little slow, and Larsson wrote in so much detail it made my brain hurt occasionally. But I loved Lisbeth and Mikael (usually) so much that I didn’t mind trudging through. I’m really glad I read this series.

This series contains explicit profanity, explicit violence, detailed rape and sexual abuse scenes, and sexual content.

Source: Books-a-Million
Author’s website:
Purchase this series: Book Depository | IndieBound

Leave a comment


  1. I could only skim your review at this time because I was nervous to learn too much. I currently have the first book on hold at the library and am anxiously awaiting its availability. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to begin this series….

  2. I have been wanting to read this series for awhile. Great reviews!!!Girls with BooksTeen Bookshelf

  3. I've finally got the first book on my nightstand. Can't wait to start it.


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