I love that satisfied feeling when all the hype surrounding a book is absolutely well-deserved. That is exactly the case in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
According to Wikipedia, Larsson wrote the Millennium Trilogy because:
When Larsson was 15 years old, he witnessed the gang rape of a girl, which led to his lifelong abhorrence of violence and abuse against women. The author never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, which inspired the themes of sexual violence against women in his books.
This passage alone raised the author and his books in my esteem, even before reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And while this book is certainly not the best bedtime story, I'm still glad to know that a series like the Millennium Trilogy exists to shed some light on such dark aspects of our society.
The plot, in a nutshell, is the mystery surrounding Harriet Vagner's disappearance in 1966. Her devoted uncle, Henrik Vagner, hires Mikael Blomkvist to finally get to the bottom of the story that's been haunting the former for decades. Lisbeth Salander is a genius, in every sense of the word, who's hired to help Blomkvist out by investigating all the mysterious cases around Harriet Vanger's disappearance.
ARMAGEDDON WAS YESTERDAY—TODAY WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM.
Like always, the better part of my rating is due solely to the characters.
I have a very strong love-hate relationship with Blomkvist. I like him for how he dealt with Lisbeth and solved the Vagner mystery, but I seriously can't get over how casually he goes around screwing 3 women within a year. Okay, the guy is certainly upfront about his relationships, but it's just disgusting the way he led Cecilia and Lisbeth on. Both women fell in love with him, but at the end of the day, he still went back to Berger. Ugh. Nonetheless, the next couple books are sure to focus on Lisbeth and Blomkvist, so I'll refrain from judging the guy too much.
Speaking of Lisbeth, she has got to be one of the most coolest characters in existence. She's so chilling and unemotional and calm. I love her.