Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy Series #1)My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Boy, does this book need an editor. There's actually a pretty good mystery here, but it's buried under layers of tedious exposition, unnecessary description, and especially Stieg Larsson's transparent Mary Sue-ism.

For those who aren't familiar with the term, a "Mary Sue" is a derogatory term in fan fiction for a character that is just a little too good to be true, and who is clearly an avatar of the writer. A Mary Sue character's painfully obvious purpose is fantasy fulfillment for said writer.

In this case, the late Stieg Larsson, a middle-aged Swedish magazine writer, has penned a novel about...a middle-aged Swedish magazine writer. Every woman in the book, including the title character, wants to sleep with him, because he's such a nice, mellow, undemanding guy. He solves a mystery that no one else could. After he solves the mystery, he spends a completely unnecessary 100+ more pages getting his revenge against people who were mean to him at the beginning of the book. And so on.

All that said, once the story actually gets going, it's interesting enough to keep you reading. I did finish it, but I doubt that I'll be reading the next two. I'll take a friend's advice and just watch the movies on Netflix.

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4 comments:

The Equalizer said...

J.D.

Aside from vetting out MS' I read from 125 / 150 books a year. It's a requirement I impose upon myself that I keep up with what's going on in the publishing world or else how can I offer bonafide advice to up and coming writers.

Your critique of TGWTDT made up my mind NOT to read the book...

Now how am I going to exlain to all my writers why.

I know, I'll just link 'em to your Blog.....LOL

JD Rhoades said...

Equalizer: G'head. God knows I'm glad to offer others my opinion.

Judith said...

You are not alone, I couldn't finish the first volume and I won't be reading the other two. The movies (original version) are good, though.

Steve Malley said...

A good mystery in there? Really?

I'll have to take your word for it. After three tries, I gave up. My best effort was a running jump that took me maybe 150 pages in before tedious and ham-handed exposition, glacial pacing and a lack of conflict worthy of some French Deconstructionist threatened to rob me of my will to live.

You're a stronger man than I... :)