Stieg Larsson – The Girl Who Played With Fire

07Dec09

The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, starring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. The tables have turned though, and while last time Mikael was on the wrong side of the law, this time it’s Lisbeth.

Lisbeth has had her share of trouble with the law before, but, since, she’s presumably cleaned up her act, and is not as prone to spontaneous acts of stupidity as she once was. That was thanks to the careful guidance of her guardian, Palmgren. Since his stroke, the baton passed on to the despicable Bjurman, who had sexually assaulted Lisbeth in the previous book, and Lisbeth sought revenge – however, she didn’t go to the cops with her problems, but took matters into her own hand.

Now, Bjurman is found dead, as are two friends of Mikael (Dag Svensson and Dag’s girlfriend, Mia Johansson), who were working on an expose about sex trade and trafficking, for the Millennium magazine, which would ruin the reputation of various people in high places. Before his death, Svensson had informed Mikael of a new lead: Zala, a mysterious powerful stranger, who no one was willing to talk about. Lisbeth, who had been travelling for a few months prior to these murders, hacked into Blomkvist’s computer, and saw the references to Zala – a bad memory from her own troubled and disturbed past.

When Lisbeth’s prints are found on the gun, she is assumed to be responsible for all three murders. With a history of being violent, and having trouble with the cops, is it wrong to suspect her? Specially, as she was at Dag’s and Mia’s place just before the double murders occurred. Everyone is out looking for her, with only one person voicing his unequivocal belief that Lisbeth is innocent: Mikael Blomkvist – who doesn’t even know how to get in touch with her! Lisbeth has cut off Blomkvist completely, and changed her phone number and address.

Coincidences run deep as Mikael and the rest of the Millennium crew carry out their own investigation, side by side with the cops. The Millennium crew are working on the assumption that the murders are a result of the controversial subject the couple were working on, whereas the cops have their “suspect” but lack the motive. Will the Millennium crew determine the real culprits, and find Zala, or will the cops find Lisbeth Salander, who seems to have dropped off the face of the planet?

This book is suspenseful – a page turner, if you like. Again, we come face to face with the darker side of the Scandinavian country, as well as find out the past of Lisbeth Salander, and what “All The Evil” was, that led her to become the tough-as-nails law-averse headstrong girl that she is.

The coincidences present in this book are convenient, to say the least – what are the odds that Mikael will be working with two people who are out to find a central person in Lisbeth’s past? And how does Mikael conveniently be the person to take a call that gives them their biggest break?

With respect to the language and product placement, my complaints about this book are pretty similar to its predecessor. The Apple product placement is still all too rampant, as is the writing extremely descriptive.

She walked gingerly into the 7-Eleven where she bought some shampoo, toothpaste, soap, kefir, milk, cheese, eggs, bread, frozen cinnamon rolls, coffee, Lipton’s teabags, a jar of pickles, apples, a large pack of Billy’s Pan Pizza and a pack of Marlboro. She paid with a Visa card.

However, just like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, this book’s definitely worth a read, as the characters of Lisbeth and Mikael transcend the pages, with their individuality, sense of morality and loyalty, sheer intelligence, heavy conscience and utmost bravery.

Rating: B

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11 Responses to “Stieg Larsson – The Girl Who Played With Fire”

  1. Gotta read this. I got my copy the day it came out and still haven’t gotten to it. Gotta read it! :-)

    • Wow! How did you resist the urge? It’s a serious question, as I went and bought this book the day after I finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It’s taken almost all my self-control to not buy the final book in the trilogy straight away, but wait for the paperback to come out.

      Gotta read it :))

  2. Great review. I don’t think I’ll review the rest of the trilogy. But I again agree with the product placement. Nothing dates a book faster than placing computer specs in them. But if you think Larsson has a lot of product placement, you should read Audrey Niffenegger’s newie – it’s like an onslaught of product placements.

    Are you reading the last book? I was so glad I had that on hand immediately after I finished this one.

    • Ahh, I’m one of the few people who didn’t like Niffenegger’s first book, so, I’ll be giving that one a miss, definitely!! Product placement in books just seems… wrong!

      I am – still waiting for the paperback though. Hope it’s worth the wait?

  3. I’m excited about this one, especially if we find out about ‘All the Evil’.

  4. I thought the first one was better than this one. However, it was still a lot of fun and it was great to revisit the characters. I’ll definitely read the third but I’ll probably wait till the price drops.

  5. 9 peter dressel

    hey thanks for ruining this book for me. i was just curious about all the product placement and your article came up in the search. Now I know that bjurman is dead. thanks a lot. I just started this book. why do reviewers ruin books and movies ALL THE TIME.


  1. 1 Stieg Larsson – The Girl Who Played With Fire « Fyrefly's Book Blog
  2. 2 Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire « ReviewsbyLola's Blog

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