Sun's Reviews > The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
Rate this book
Clear rating

U 50x66
's review
May 01, 2010

liked it
Read from April 17 to 28, 2010

I picked this up immediately after finishing the first of the trilogy to find that a year has past since the events of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Salander disappears on a round-the-world with her newly looted fortune and Blomkvist has been trying to contact her to no avail. After surviving a hurricane (and dishing out some vigilante justice), Salander returns to Sweden. A journalist and a criminologist are murdered and she finds herself the main suspect.

In the first book, it was statistics about violence against women, this second book is framed by algebra, though I can't quite see the point of it. Salander turns into an irritatingly perfect character, and by perfect, I mean someone whose abilities are too far-fetched - a character who not only is a genius computer hacker, but also a natural in advanced mathematics, has a photographic memory, can speak three or four languages fluently or with a foreign accent different to her own, and who boxes like the devil, and rides like a demon. Her only flaw seems to be her love of Ikea furniture.

I was hooked by the idea of a novel about sex trafficking, especially the contrast between its endurance and its low profitability. Then the author killed off two new and interesting characters and went straight into Fugitive territory. Thankfully, he leaves us with some great villains - such as the despicable lawyer Bjurman, whom we actually feel sorry for at one point, and the invincible hulk who's afraid of the dark. Salander's relationship with her ex-guardian Palmgren is quite touching. The politics of the police investigation are also highlights, although as with the Vanger family in the first book, there are too many characters to do them justice.

The revelation about the identity of Zala is laughable - cf. Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker. The book involves more violence, including boxing bouts between the giant and the a fellow named Roberto and Salander's friend Mimmi. I quite dislike the violence involving Salander because it is highly glamorised and she comes across as a superhuman character that you're more likely to find in The Matrix than in Scandinavia.

Overall, Larsson's writing seems to be very hit and miss. There are some moments of stunning emotional truth and there are some moments where he's writing for daytime soap opera. I'm starting to understand some of the reasons for the series' popularity (i.e. recognising what works in pop culture) although in my mind, Millenium is no match for the Martin Beck series.
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.