The Girl Who Played With Fire

As you know, I went through Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Canada, USA, Europe) as quickly as humanly possible. The book was impossible to put down. Fortunately, when I finished the novel one night in Melaka, Malaysia, I just had to open my suitcase to pick up the sequel. Hence, about a minute passed between my finishing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and my beginning The Girl Who Played With Fire. Would that it could always be this easy, right!?!

Here's the blurb:

Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about the sex trade in Sweden are brutally murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society - but no-one can find her anywhere. Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist, editor-in-chief of Millennium, will not believe what he hears on the news. Knowing Salander to be fierce when fearful, he is desperate to get to her before she is cornered and alone. As he fits the pieces of the puzzle together, he comes up against some hardened criminals, including the chainsaw-wielding 'blond giant' - a fearsomely huge thug who can feel no pain. Digging deeper, Blomkvist also unearths some heart-wrenching facts about Salander's past life. Committed to psychiatric care aged 12, declared legally incompetent at 18, this is a messed-up young woman who is the product of an unjust and corrupt system. Yet Lisbeth is more avenging angel than helpless victim - descending on those that have hurt her with a righteous anger terrifying in its intensity and truly wonderful in its outcome.

With Mikael Blomkvist and the folks at Millennium about to publish a story that will expose a far-reaching sex trafficking network implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, financial world, and government, you just knew that this one would suck you in the way The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo did. Don't know how he manages to do it, but Larsson has the uncanny ability to get under your skin, forcing you to read on well past your bedtime many nights in a row.

The Scandinavian setting continues to be refreshing. Though most readers know next to nothing about Sweden and its institutions, the author's narrative contains all the information required to keep the story accessible to any readers looking for a multilayered crime/mystery/thriller novel. Indeed, you never feel like some nuances seem to be lost on you.

The Girl Who Played With Fire features a smaller cast than its predecessor, which allows the author to flesh out the characters even more. Understandably, we learn more about Blomkvist, as well as the truth about the past of Lisbeth Salander. That, in itself, is without a doubt one of the highlights of the book. But secondary characters get the same treatment, which permits us to see that the series resounds with even more depth than we first believed. Erika Berger, Nils Erik Bjurman, inspector Jan Bublanski, and Sonja Modig, especially. But also Armansky and Palmgreen. On the other hand, considering how impeccable Larsson's characterization habitually is, I found the sexist and stupid cops leaving something to be desired. They weren't handled as well as the other characters.

The mystery regarding the sex trafficking network doesn't have the appeal of the one surrounding the mysterious death of Harriet Vanger in the first book, but it's pretty damn close! The Girl Who Played With Fire features an intricate and convoluted plot that will keep you begging for more, as everyone tries to figure out who the enigmatic Zalachenko truly is. Sadly, my hunch proved to be true, and I sort of guessed it before it was revealed. I hate it when that happens. . .

All in all, Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played With Fire is another page-turning rollercoaster ride of a novel. Highly recommended.

If you haven't read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, put it at the very top of your reading list! With The Girl Who Played With Fire not far behind!

The final verdict: 9/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

7 commentaires:

Myriam said...

Dear Pat,

This may sound weird but I wanted to thank you for putting so much effort into the Hotlist. I found your blog via a post on GRRM's Not a Blog over a year ago and thanks to you I've discovered a lot of great books! Reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo based on your recommendation and it rocks!

One thing I've noticed is that there is a lot more hate directed at you and your blog than before. Any idea why? Personally, I like the fact that you keep things friendly and casual and that you don't talk down to readers. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea but it works for me!

The weird thing is that blogger accusing you of little content always have less content than you. WTF? One blogger who's been more vocal in the past couple of months is Aidan. And yet, while vacationing around Southeast Asia you still managed to post more content than he did. From the time you posted that GRRM extract to now, he only has two reviews up. The rest is assorted news and cover art. Meanwhile, even though you were abroad, you still found the time to post 10 reviews since late January.

Oh well, guess I'll never understand people.;) Keep up the good work!

bascule said...

30 odd pages to go of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", the second book is within arms reach and the third on Amazon pre-order.

I really want to just jump into the second but don't want to have to wait till April for the third so am going to try and space them out with other books if I can.

Kaki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaki said...

I am a regular reader of your blog (I follow the RSS feed via my Google Reader) and I am writing to ask you to consider adding a link to to your books reviews. (I’m sending this message to every book blogger that I follow.) I have always found the links to Amazon very helpful for purposes of adding books you review that intrigue me to my wishlist. However, I’ve decided to stop using Amazon.

Back when I started buying from Amazon it was new and a bit of an upstart. Internet shopping in general was new. It felt like a good thing to support back then. Now Amazon is the biggest bookseller in the country. It does things like remove the GLBT tag from books, remove MacMillan’s books over e-book pricing disputes and now it is demanding that publishers lock into three-year contracts and guarantee that no other competitor will get lower prices or better terms on e-books. It all just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me more determined than ever to support local bookstores or buy directly from authors whenever I can.

Including a link to the books on in your reviews would give your readers an alternative to Amazon and would help support local booksellers across the country. Because the world needs more local bookstores employing friendly, knowledgeable booklovers and Amazon needs less power. Monopolies aren’t good for anyone.

Please note, I'm not asking you to remove the Amazon links. I know that Amazon has great deals, good referral programs for you and that many of your readers will still choose to shop there. All I'm asking is that you include an alternative link as well so that readers who choose to support local booksellers instead of Amazon can have the same convenient link for buying, wishlisting, etc.

Patrick said...

I checked, but it seems that only Americans can become affiliates of Indiebound. Just sent them an email to see if that's the case...

Tom said...

You'll enjoy "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" just as much, if not more than book 2. At least I did. The second and third book are really one long novel. It amazes me that Larsson was able to plot this all out in advance, keep all the balls in the air, and still come to a satisfying conclusion.

And I second the notion to have an IndieBound link if at all possible. Gotta support your local independent shops before they all totally disappear.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat. I am just about to begin 'The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest' having been so taken by the first two in this trilogy.

Have you seen the movie of 'the Girl with the dragon tattoo' yet? I am really looking forward to seeing this, I am hoping to make it out to the movies to watch before it finishes near me.

I also think that 'the girl who played with fire' is slightly weaker out of the two, but I appreciated learning more about the characters and am looking forward to the final instalment in this trilogy.

Great review. :-)

Oh Myriam? - In the nicest possible way are you new to blogging? Whenever anyone has any success other bloggers will find a way to criticise them its called the cyber-playground! If people don't like the way someone writes they can simply not read it, but of course where's the fun in that?!

All fun and games, doesnt do any good to take it too seriously.

~ Raine