The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Isabella Cantillano At first, I was hesitant to read Stieg Larsson's award-winning crime novel. I had heard good things about it, and the American version of the film was about to be released so I felt obligated to read it so I would be able to strike up a conversation with friends who had seen the film. I was reluctant because one of the main characters was female. I was worried that her characterization would disappoint me. Would she be another gun-slinger clad in thigh-highs? Would she be pursued by the male character? Would she be objectified? Would she be yet another pseudo-feminist hero like Babydoll in Sucker Punch? I was wary, and when I finally sat down at the bookstore to read the Prologue...I was a little bit frightened. I know now that I was entirely wrong. Lisbeth Salander is one of the best female characters that I have come across in a long time. She is not the stereotypical "alterna-chick" that you often find in books and movies nowadays. She is not just there to have sex with the male character. She is pale and extremely thin, has numerous piercings and tattoos, and she routinely breaks into computer networks without authorization. She has a photographic memory, which comes in handy when she is tracking down serial killers and other criminals, and she is a survivor of a traumatic childhood. Basically she is, for lack of better word, a badass. Salander is a very interesting character. She is highly introverted and anti-social. She takes special pleasure in exposing and punishing men who abuse women. Her relationship with the male character, Mikael Blomkvist, is complicated at best. Mikael Blomkvist is also an interesting character. He is very intelligent and works at a left-wing magazine called Millennium. He could also be considered a badass. He goes to jail and actually enjoys himself there, he walks into the house of a suspected serial killer alone, and he is a great journalist. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a well-written crime drama. It is filled with suspense and tension, and the plot twists aren't melodramatic. You will be confused, shocked, and disgusted. I am not going to lie: this book isn't for squeamish readers. It is filled with horrendous violence. But not pointless violence that isn't important to the story. At one point, Lisbeth is brutally raped by her guardian. Nils Bjurman. He is a sadist, and she later gets her revenge by knocking him out by shocking him with a taser and forcing him to watch the rape which she secretly videotaped (a tape that she will use to blackmail him). She also tattoos him, writing "I AM A PERVERT, A RAPIST, AND A SADISTIC PIG" on his abdomen. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a great book with two great main characters. The ending is shocking, and the killer is not who you expect. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery and a strong female character.