Claire's Reviews > The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
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's review
Apr 06, 2010

it was ok

In a word, frustrating. I found this to be a halfway decent story in tremendous need of a decent editor. Riddled with hackneyed and obvious plot devices, one-dimensional and repetitive characters and a wealth of totally unnecessary detail.

The abrupt ending of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo necessitated the first 120 pages of the book which amounted to little more than an epilogue that consumed almost 1/4 of this book. Once the present-day (and completely predictable, at least to the reader if not the obtuse characters) mystery finally got going, I was almost bored following the plodding police investigation. It wasn't until Lisbeth finally reappeared that the book got interesting.

It seemed that whenever Larsson wanted to draw out the mystery he simply neglected to have the supposedly intelligent characters do completely obvious things. For instance, instead of talking to Lisbeth's former guardian early in the investigation any discussion with him was postponed until nearly the end of the novel for no reason I could fathom other than a 20 minute conversation with him would have cleared things up almost immediately. Instead he sends the crass, misogynistic characters off to conduct a series of hopelessly insensitive and inflammatory interviews for seemingly no purpose other than to demonstrate how unpleasant they can be. This quickly grows tiresome.

I often got the impression Larsson was under an obligation to meet a certain word count or had product placement deals. The number of times he included absolutely pointless details (such as the made-up IKEA names for the furniture Lisbeth buys or the fact that she uses a Panasonic phone) was staggering. He could really have used some writing workshops with Stephen King, an author who is brilliant at setting the scene without boring the reader to death with details.

This was a book with enormous potential that unfortunately fell well short of the mark. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo didn't exactly blow my mind, but it was a pretty good story. I guess lightning doesn't strike twice in this case, which is a shame.

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