Shannon's Reviews > The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
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really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2020, home-library-read, favorites, lgbtqiap, my-reviews

Read #1
Started on January 3, 2020
Finished on March 6, 2020

“Mathematics was actually a logical puzzle with endless variations—riddles that could be solved. The trick was not to solve arithmetical problems. Five times five would always be twenty-five. The trick was to understand combinations of the various rules that made it possible to solve any mathematical problem whatsoever.”


Guys. Guys. I'm finally done. I have been living in this world since January and I'm equal parts relieved and saddened to set this one back on my bookshelf. I read this book in little sips at work on my breaks, moving in and out of the story at odd intervals... and honestly, Stieg Larsson’s books are perfect for consumption as such. Despite my snail's pace and the fact that TGWPwF sometimes reads like you might never finish it, I found that I eventually got to a point where I didn't mind taking my time with the story. I was completely enamored with the world all the more this time around. (And for context, see how I spent the majority of my January and February: hyperfixating on the 2011 movie of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Lisbeth/Mikael, respectively.)

Minus Lisbeth and Mikael, most of the book's strengths (and frustrations) definitely lie in how Stieg Larsson sets up and reveals answers to the mystery in dribs and drabs. I was so dang hooked when he up and abandons Lisbeth's POV right smack at the start of the murder investigation, so we're left in a cold sweat, wondering how she's responding to the entire situation (which turns out to be in typical Salander fashion). But that's not to say this section is completely devoid of activity, especially since the majority of its scenes had me internally pacing in outrage over how WRONG everyone was about Lisbeth. Thankfully, however, a lot of it played out exactly as I wanted it to, which is just... *inhales*... CHEF'S KISS. That ending (cruel af, knowing I'm probably not reading book #3 for a bit) had me clutching my heart because it parallels book #1 so beautifully. And truly, I know I've already said it once, but I'll do it again, emphasized with the swears. Shit. Goddamn. I fucking love Lisbeth Salander.

So that four star rating. Yeah. *sighs* Reflecting on TGWPwF as a whole, I noticed I had some massive deja vu over how similar my feelings for this book were in juxtaposition to book #1. Although the book tries to appear completely mapped out from start to finish, the cohesion just isn't always there (and I 100% acknowledge this could be saved in book #3)—looking at where the book starts and ends, you'd think I was reading two completely different stories. Although I love (LOVE) that we get more background about Lisbeth, I still felt like I was left with two stories that didn't feel fully fleshed-out or connected by the end. So many things needed more clarification and follow-ups, but a lot of the focus lands more on Salander's backstory (which got repetitive at points) and less on the mystery that starts everything. There were also a few clunky pieces of dialogue/internal monologuing (I'm specifically thinking of Salander's confrontation with Lundin) that I felt lessened the quality of work.

BUT YEAH. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I still absolutely adore the world and characters Stieg Larsson created—for real, I had so many pocket scenarios pop up in my head involving Lisbeth that I feel like I could eventually write fanfic for—and that just cannot be diminished by TGWPwF's faults. (I only wish David Fincher, Rooney Mara, and Daniel Craig got the chance to make this movie, too.)
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Quotes Shannon Liked

Stieg Larsson
“He felt that he had to find Salander and hold her close.

She would probably bite him if he tried.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

Stieg Larsson
“She had discovered that the most effective method of keeping the fear at bay was to fantasize about something that gave her a feeling of strength. She closed her eyes and conjured up the smell of gasoline.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

Stieg Larsson
“Don’t ever fight with Lisbeth Salander. Her attitude towards the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

Stieg Larsson
“There were not so many physical threats that could not be countered with a decent hammer.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

Stieg Larsson
“That's the crux of almost every fight, the moment when the strength drains out of you and the adrenaline pumps so hard that it becomes a burden and surrender appears like a ghost at ringside.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire


Reading Progress

January 3, 2020 – Started Reading
January 3, 2020 – Shelved
February 25, 2020 –
page 441
60.91% "Hi friends! I feel like I've abandoned Goodreads! D: It's just been such a slow couple of reading months unfortunately. This started off at a slower pace like book #1, but I'm finally knee-deep in the bulk of the mystery and now I feel like I can't read fast enough. I'm also super hyperfixated on this world rn. I think I've re-watched TGwtDT 2011 movie like three times this year??? And yeah, loving (and hating) all +"
March 2, 2020 –
page 577
79.7% "Hm, I’m not sure I liked the killer reveal. It felt so lackluster in terms of set-up. But that whole scene with Paolo Roberto had my stomach in knots. 🥵"
March 6, 2020 – Finished Reading
March 7, 2020 – Shelved as: read-in-2020
March 7, 2020 – Shelved as: home-library-read
March 7, 2020 – Shelved as: favorites
March 7, 2020 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap
March 7, 2020 – Shelved as: my-reviews

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Shannon (last edited Mar 03, 2020 07:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shannon + 2/25/2020: the commentary on misogyny and mental health through Lisbeth. Ugh, I've had to put the book down several times to shriek "OMGGGGG" in outrage.


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