Ok, so it’s done. And I liked it. BUT, I’ve realized that apparently I don’t have the same reactions to books as other people at all. I mean, really. Everyone else in the world LOVED this book. And I didn’t. I just liked it. And only just.
Initially, I hadn’t even realized it was a mystery. Then, once I was firmly ensconced in it, I didn’t even find it to be a great mystery. It wasn’t un-put-down-able. It didn’t call to me when I was working or playing on the internet. It didn’t leave me sleepless. The whole locked room, private “unreachable island,” and missing girl setup felt full of holes.
I think it was all the financial and corporate drama that put me off, honestly. I didn’t find that part compelling at all and I didn’t even really care that Blomkvist was imprisoned unfairly, that Henrik Vanger was obsessed for decades over his lost niece, or that Wennerstrom was a self-serving dick who really had it coming to him. I don’t give two figs about the Swedish economy or any economy, really. And computer hacking…meh. Minimal amounts of Biblical fanaticism, which I generally do like, are a minor plus in Dragon Tattoo, but again, it was minimal. Even the journalism/libel issues, which I expected to appeal to my younger, nostalgic self, really didn’t catch my interest all that much. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t care for Blomkvist much. He was kind of a womanizing, insensitive ass, but only in a passive-aggressive sort of way, not an I-wanna-kick-him-in-the-balls way. So, overall, he was unsatisfying as both protagonist and villain alike.
I did enjoy the Lisbeth Salander bits a lot and find the statement the novel was trying to make about mistreatment of women in Sweden fascinating. I hope the later books pick up on these themes and flesh out the characters, particularly Salander and her quirks, a bit more. Also, I’m a bit miffed about the title, which really doesn’t reflect the book in anything but a superficial way; let’s hope that’s an intentional prelude to something exciting and dramatic in the rest of the series. (It apparently had a different title in the original Swedish, but who knows? My theory: all Lisbeth’s tattoos seem intentional; maybe there is a connection between Dragan and her dragon?) So, yes…that does mean I’m on to book 2…