Confessions of a Digital Novelist

Archive for September, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by on Sep.20, 2010, under Books

I do apologize for the long delay in between posts. It has certainly been a busy month. I started a new job (it’s awesome), played some baseball (we lost), and worked on COTN in my spare time (it’s vastly improved). I just haven’t had the time that I would like to update my blog. So today I write on something that I meant to do a coupled of months ago, a review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Oh wait, the little one is here.

Ok and we’re back. Sorry about that but my roommate has his little one this weekend. Three hours and a pocket full of sand later, I’m back to my post. Note to self: playing in a sandy park with little kids with an iPhone in your pocket is not a good idea. However, I did learn that the iPhone can take a fistful of sand without a scratch.

Now where was I? Oh yay, that’s right the review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. the first part of a trilogy written by Stig Larssen before his death, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, spanning numerous bestselling lists and now three movies. So what did I think of it?

Meh.

I found the whole story rather generic. It’s your boilerplate mystery story with very little to set itself above the crowd. The only interesting thing about the story is Lisbeth Salander. Everytime she shows up, the book kicks in high gear. She’s smart, cunning, and darkly funny with an inventiveness that is fun to watch. Unfortunately, she’s only in about a third of the book.

Yep, that’s right. The character whose name graces the cover is not the main character of the story. That honor goes to a financial reporter by the name of Bloomkvist. Who is Bloomkvist you ask? Perhaps one of the most boring character leads that I have ever read. My friend Frederick argues that the lead character in modern novels are designed to be boring as they serve as a cypher for the reader, allowing us to interpolate ourselves into the story. I don’t think that’s true. A boring character is a boring character. In the case of Bloomkvist, what you get is a middle-aged average-looking man who is inexplicably irresistible to women. What? After a tepid but interesting start, the novel lags badly in the middle sections where it gets distracted from the main plot line and becomes obsessed with the sex life of the boring Bloomkvist. It seems like every women that he comes into contact with falls head over heels in love with him and there’s no explanation of why that would be the case. In it’s dead middle sections, the novel becomes more enamored with middle-aged male fantasies rather than the mystery that should be the centre of the story. It’s really disappointing.

Near the end of the novel, when the story focuses more on Salander and the mystery of Harriet”s death, it really picks up steam in a way that many novels would be jealous of. It’s great stuff but it should have been like this throughout the entire novel, not just at the end.

After reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I have no inclination to read the next two books in the series. Perhaps if the novels focused on Salander rather than Bloomkvist but even then I would have a difficult time forcing myself to read it. Try Oscar Jade instead, it’s a lot more fun.

C+

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