Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Worth Reading?

I’m about 85 pages into the book. Thing is, I’ve already seen the film (the original version), which I thought was very good, although upsetting to watch in places. The impression I have so far is of a rare case where the film adaptation is as good as or possibly even better than the source materiel. I’m interested to hear what people think, does reading the book add much to the story? I’d especially like to hear from anyone who read the book after seeing the film.

Please, no spoilers if elements of the book differ significantly from the film.

I had to slog through about the first hundred pages. It gets better pretty soon.


The whole movie series stays faithful to one particular arc of the books, that of Lisbeth Salander. The majority of other characters other than Michael Blomkvist put in no more than guest appearances. To that end, the movies do open up what the book describes in moving pictures, particually the part where Salander tattoos her guardian, I am used to thinking and reading in English, and that Swedish original lettering just added more pain.

What you see in the movies, is just enough of Blomkvists legal problems to insert Lisabeth into the story, and the missing girl hunt . To be fair, the directors and producers had to condense the three novels into three ninety minute movies and did well with what they could do, but its in no way the whole book.


I watched the movies after reading the books and was impressed by what good adaptations the movies were - basically what Declan said.

On the whole I think it’s a pretty decent series, not an all-time classsic but worth a read. I wonder where he would have taken things if he’d lived?

I hate to say it, but he probably would have flamed out after the fifth one, the fourth one is supposedly on a laptop somewhere.

I know he had something like ten planned, but kicked a hornets nest pretty much put her on track for what to do with all that money she um aquired, either she would have only made cameo appearances in all the other arcs or he had something totally different in mind.

Im thinking Robert Jordan flamed out.


I suspect you’re right. Very few writers can sustain a series beyond three books.

I think if the author had lived Lisbeth’s vanished twin sister would have been the focus of a story arc. but, sigh, we’ll never know.

I really enjoyed the books, even though the Michael character is pretty much of a Mary Sue of the author and even though some of the writing was badly in need of a good editor.

I haven’t seen the Swedish movie adaptations yet and am looking forward to them.

I recently read the book, which I wasn’t interested in at all but someone gave me a copy so I felt I had to. I didn’t think much of it. I haven’t seen the movie so I don’t know how it compares, but the book has (at least) three major plot threads that have very little to do with each other, and a hero who seems like a pretty average guy but for some reason every woman he meets immediately wants to have sex with him. It’s my impression that Salander is the main character of the movie, but she’s more a supporting role in the book.

As a mystery I felt it was pretty weak – I guessed a good bit of the solution very early on, but IIRC it’s over 300 pages into the book before the hero discovers the first real clue.

The English edition also struck me as being not very well translated. I’m just guessing on that since I don’t read Swedish, but while reading the English edition I kept encountering phrases that seemed “off”. For instance, the word “anon” was used casually at least two or three times. “They had their first quarrel, then others, and anon the antagonism turned personal.” This might be okay in a historic novel or a fantasy that was going for an archaic style, but it seemed really awkward and out of place in a contemporary thriller.

Read on. The arc at Millennium magazine and Lisbeth’s acquisition of the money from the dishonest industrialist towards the end were very satisfying to me.

I found the first book a real slog.
The second was easier, and my favourite is the third.

Once you learn to gloss over the street names, it’s all good. “She turned left on Onsloutenahoogagrentchensgaten, then had coffee.” In my mind, I just read it as “6th street”.

I read the whole series and yeah, it’s a bit overrated. It’s not bad for a mystery series. I have also seen the original movies and they do leave a lot out from the books, but the stuff they leave out is pretty immaterial to the plot. I will say that each of the three books starts out pretty slowly. I’d also say the first one is the best.

Which, surprisingly, actually is 6th street! :smiley:

The book is worth reading, I suppose. Not gonna blow your mind, but a fun enough read once you get past the massive Gary Stu-ness going on with Blomqvist.

I felt he was also setting up Lisbeth’s accountant or whoever that guy was in Gibralter for a story arc too.

yep, agreeing with that observation.

Oh - and I should have said “Gary Stu” instead of “Mary Sue” for Michael’s character in my earlier post. I like that.

My experience, too. I almost gave up after the first 10 pages, powered through, almost gave up again, couldn’t figure out what people were talking about, found it all incredibly boring and thick. Then I got sucked into the story, found it a true page-turner (if not terribly well-written). Then got bored again with the very end.

I thought they were great, the second and third books especially.

Returning to say that I read an article about the author & the books, in the New Yorker, I think, that utterly the novels. Funny things, though I agreed with the reviewer on how badly they were written, I still enjoyed them immensely. The well drawn characters carried me along through rough patches, I guess.

I read them on vacation and mowed down all three books like they were crack. I’ve seen the first two movies but not the third yet. I thought the movies were actually pretty faithful and rather good, and extermely well cast. I have no intention of seeing the American remakes.

I’m not finding it a slog. The writing isn’t amazing, but I don’t have a problem with it, and I get that it’s yet to really get going.

Thanks, that was what I was wondering. From the thickness of the book, I guessed quite a bit had been left out. I didn’t find the treatment of the magazine arc or the Wennerstrom sub-plot distracting in the film, enough was presented to set the scene for what I consider to be the main part of the story. In the book, would you say these parts are interesting of themselves?

I don’t know what that means, but I think I can guess. Another author writing himself into the story? The fact he is dead makes it less distracting somehow.