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Tuesday 28 December 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson | Book Review

the girl with the dragon tattoo stieg larsson book review

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" 
by Stieg Larsson 

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson is a sensational thrilling and a complex crime novel that deals largely with a murder mystery, financial fraud, sexual abuse of women and the darker aspects of the life of the privileged echelon in the society.

What is better than sinking into a cosy blanket with an interesting novel on cold wintry days? Well, I believe nothing like that! I finished reading this interesting novel, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'. By the name of it, I was under an impression that some magic and occult practices might be involved in the story. But, I was wrong.

This is the first novel in the author's 'Millennium Trilogy' series. Stieg Larsson was a Swedish Journalist and one of the world's leading experts on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi Organisations. He had died unexpectedly in 2004 soon after delivering the manuscripts for three crime novels - The Millennium Trilogy to his publisher. All of them have been posthumous best sellers and have been made into movies.

The novel story has roughly 3 plots of story entwining intricately and culminating into a spelling binding saga. The story starts with the octogenarian industrialist - Henrik Vanger, head of Vanger Corporation - currently run by his great-nephew Martin Vanger, receiving a frame of pressed flowers on his 82nd birthday. It had been a ritual receiving them for the past 40 years on his birthday. He had received it from his granddaughter 'Harriet' for the first time. The later year Harriet had disappeared mysteriously without a trace and all the following years he had received the frame of pressed flowers from some anonymous sender. It intrigued him and tormented him. He had spent his life trying to discover what had happened to Harriet and was obsessed with it. He believed someone in the family had murdered her.

In the second plot, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, a partner in the publishing firm, 'Millennium' loses a libel case against Billionaire Industrialist, Hans Erik Wennerstrom. Mikael is sentenced to 3 months jail and fined with a huge penalty. Faced with a prison sentence and a professional disgrace he chooses to take a break in his career and decides to resign from the magazines' board. His decision is met with resistance from his other partner-Erika Berger, his longtime friend, confidant and occasional lover. Dismissing all disapproval, he stands by his own decision which he thinks is good for him and for the magazine's survival.

The third plot is about, Lisbeth Salander- the girl with the dragon tattoo, who is a security specialist at Milton Security. She is an ingenious hacker and uses her skills in her assignments at Milton Security. She has a disturbed past and that has followed her all her life. She is introvert, has a bad temper and keeps her life largely to herself. She is given the assignment to dig into Mikael Blomvist's life by Vanger's longtime friend and faithful lawyer, Frode.

Mikael is summoned by Vanger to his house in Hedeby. Very inquisitively, he visits him and is offered a rather unusual assignment. Vanger asks him to officially write a book on Vanger family but his real assignment would be to dig into Harriet's case and possibly find out what happened to her in a year time. He promised him a huge financial reward and a solid evidence against Wennerstorm that would help him fight back in the court. Mikael agrees to do the task.

Mikael delves deep into the Vanger's past to uncover the truth behind Harriet's disappearance. He begins analyzing the information compiled by Henrik Vanger for over 40 years. He carries both real and official assignments simultaneously. The Vanger family is one large family with lots of relations and Mikael also finds it hard to remember who is who for the first few days. After months of futile hard work, Mikael makes some advancement and finally sees a ray of hope. At this stage, he requires a research assistant to help him. Frode suggests Salander's name and eventually, she is involved in the investigation.

They make some serious progress in the investigation to find out that there is someone who does not want the past to be revealed. Facing all deterrence, they continue to find out one of the darkest secrets of the Vanger family and the mystery into Harriet's disappearance in a very dramatic way. Finally, he cracks Harriet's mystery only to find out that Henrik's promise of a solid evidence against Wennerstorm had been mostly a bluff to lure him take this assignment. On top of that Henrik requests him not to publish the dark secrets of his family, he has come to know out of Harriet's case investigation. As a journalist, he is in a great dilemma and gives in to it. Lisbeth comes up with the idea of helping with evidence against Wennerstorm and together they work out a plan to expose Wennerstorm and save Millennium from collapsing.

The story in the novel after Harriet's case breakthrough becomes monotonous. The author in his childhood had been a witness of child abuse and sexual assault and that has a lot of influence on the storyline. The story offers a very ugly view of human nature and in particular how Swedish men treat Swedish women. The actual title of this novel in Swedish was' Men who hate women', which to me seems apter rather than this one. Most of the part of the novel had been about Harriet and the title does not seem to do justice to the content of the story. The character of Mikael also seems to fall for any woman in its way. Maybe the writer is trying to portray another Swedish man. 

Overall, the story begins on an exciting and high note, carries it to a considerable length and then suddenly falters a bit. None the less, it is an interesting novel with a gripping plot and deeply intriguing and varied characters. If crime fiction is a genre you enjoy, this should definitely on your to-read list.

Want to grab a copy, you can buy it here.

I have also read the next two books in the Millenium Trilogy series. You can check out their review in the links below.

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Monday 22 November 2010

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - A Book Review

the lost symbol by dan brown book review

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown 

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is a thrilling masterpiece that takes you into the world of secrets societies, ancient mysteries, symbols, conspiracies and unseen truth. Read on to know about my thoughts on the book.

I just finished reading 'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown. I borrowed it from the local library and it was sitting on my bookshelf for quite a time. I do not know why but somehow I was not really in a mood to read any novel. But, because of the bad weather these days, I was staying indoors most of the time. So, finally, I started to read it a week back and its over now. I found the first half of the book more entertaining than the end half. Somehow, I was a bit disappointed with the way it ended. Those who have already read Brown's Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code will find that the story is set in the same fashion as in these books. So, it seems a bit monotonous at times.

The whole story is set in Washington D.C where Robert Langdon comes on an invitation from his mentor to deliver a lecture in the Capitol Building. The story in the novel revolves around Freemasonry and its secrets that are imbibed in the architecture of the city has a couple of prominent characters namely Langdon, Peter Solomon, Katherine Solomon-Peter's Sister, Malakh - the villain in the story, CIA director Sato, Warren Bellamy-the architect of the Capitol Building, a Mason and Peter's trusted friend. The story moves very fast paced and there are surprises at short intervals. Soon after Langdon has arrived at the Capitol Building, he discovers that he has been tricked into coming to D.C. He receives a call from Malakh who tells him that it was all his idea and that Peter is his captive at the moment. He tells him to do what he wants or else Peter's life is at stake.

The night takes another bizarre turn when a hand gruesomely encoded with five symbols appears in the Capitol building and Langdon recognises it to be of Peter. The encoded hand symbolises an invitation meant to usher its recipient into the world of long-lost ancient esoteric wisdom. Langdon realises that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept the invitation and follow it where ever it leads him. Director of CIA, Sato takes control of the scene and urges that there is a matter of national security threat in which she needs Langdon's co-operation. Langdon is apprehensive about Sato's motives but still, he follows her instruction and decodes the mysterious hand and lands up in a place to find an ancient masonic masterpiece which can unveil enormous power to the worthy. At this point, Warren Bellamy who wants to guard the ancient secret saves Langdon from Sato's hand.
Langdon saves Katherine Solomon who is a neotic scientist from the clutches of Malakh and she joins Langdon in unveiling the ancient secret which she believes is the only way she can save her brother. The story then takes several twists and turns before the final revelation of the ancient secret, which does not seem to be a very surprising secret.

the lost symbol by dan brown interesting quotes

The last half of the book is filled with too much of technical details of symbolism that it seems difficult to engulf at one moment. The mystery loses its charm somewhere and hence it is somewhat disappointing at the end.

What I would say if you are planning a visit to Washington D.C then surely read it and take a copy of it with you. The visit will be more enlightening. Surely enough, after reading the book I did give a good look at the one Dollar bill & The American Seal and in future, if I read about George Washington, I will study a bit deeper. You might want to know the reason, then surely you have to do the same thing as I did. Go and grab a copy of the book from the library or if you a die-hard fan of Brown, buy yourself a copy.

You can get it here:

You might also want to check out the other Dan Brown books that I have read and reviewed here.

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

Deception Point by Dan Brown

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!
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