It’s not that often any more that I finish a book in a day. That should tell you something about what I thought about the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Especially when it isn’t fantasy. It isn’t science fiction. It isn’t horror (at least not the supernatural sort). Really, it’s more of a investigation / thriller. Not a genre that I read that often.
Honestly, for the first half of the book, I wasn’t sure that I was even going to finish it, let alone read the sequels. There were a few different story lines going on that I didn’t really see how they fit together. Nothing overly much seemed to be happening. Then, around halfway through (when the main characters finally started to interact more), things really started moving. I read the rest of the book in one sitting.
It’s certainly disturbing at times. It reminds me of Koontz style thrillers (who’s books I like, so that is a good thing) in shining a light into the darker corners of humanity–albeit without the supernatural angle Koontz usually has.
Then there’s the rape scenes (Yes, that’s probably a spoiler. But given the content, the fact that they’re fairly well known, and that they don’t end up having that large of an impact on the plot…).
They certainly bring another level of depth and pack a punch, but honestly I think the novel would be just as strong without them. There is plenty of other characterization for the characters involved and as mentioned, they don’t seem to advance the plot. Honestly, I felt like they were included for the sake of including them, which is never particularly great writing, let alone for a rape scene.
That being said, it’s an intense book. The second half drives to a powerful conclusion and there’s a twist or two that I only saw coming in hindsight. I’m honestly surprised, but I’ll definitely be moving on to the sequels.
Side note: There are points that you can tell this book was originally written in a different language. Some of the phrasing is odd along with parts of the setting (although that could have been done even in an English language novel). I don’t think it detracted from the work, but it’s something to keep in mind.