Chris's Reviews > The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
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Apr 18, 2012

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Read from April 18 to May 25, 2012

This book does not suffer from sequelitis. That's actually saying a lot. So many times I read the first in a series, love the style and the characters, then read the next book and I think, "Waaaaait, haven't we been here before? All you did was add a new villain/love interest/little hat." Girl Who Played With Fire is not another scandalous mystery involving third parties, but explores a different path in which the hacker protagonist is a murder suspect herself. And the fun part is that given her craziness and blunt, violent nature, it could be plausible (given the right circumstances). While I like this twist in events, it has the unfortunate side effect of the book turning in on itself in an infinite Salander loop. The police provide an extensive Salander character profile. Her old boss provides an extensive character profile. Blomkvist provides an extensive character profile. It gets old. Yes, we learn more about her past (repeatedly), but often rehashes what we already know. One of the best aspects of the first book was the laundry list of possible suspects and the complex interactions the reader has to sort out. It does get more interesting and exciting later on in the book, but the author's Salander obsession sticks in my craw and ends up being what makes an impression.

I do like the way the violent encounters are handled. Think of an action movie with the thick-accented evil kingpin yelling "Vhat? You tell me my five best men git taken out by puny leetle gurl? RAR!" In the movies it would be because Salander is a high-kicking kung fu prodigy, but in reality it's because she mercilessly cheats. She freely uses mace (illegal), a taser (illegal), crotch hits (unsporting), and a hammer (just awesome) to gain the advantage over adversaries. Her fighting tactics are schrewd survival skills that fit her character and her history.
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