2009: #99 – The Girl Who Played With Fire (Stieg Larsson)

girlplayedfire Book #99 was The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.  The back of the book reads:

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.

As much as I enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I liked this even more.  When the story begins, Mikael Blomkvist has regained his status as one of Sweden’s foremost journalists, thanks to the continued success of Millennium and the popularity of his book about the Wennerstrom affair. But he hasn’t seen Lisbeth Salander for nearly a year, despite stopping by her apartment on a regular basis hoping to catch her. Salander, who has also benefited from the Wennerstrom/Vanger affair, has decided to go on a bit of a vacation across Europe and the Caribbean, keeping tabs on things at home (including her ne’er do well "guardian" and Blomkvist) in her own special way. Both find themselves involved in an investigation of human trafficking, in quite different ways.

It’s when Salander is accused of a series of brutal crimes that you realize what a genius character Larsson has created.  Because despite how much you like Salander and want to root for her, you completely believe that she *could* have done it — or at least I did.  And it’s a very long time before you discover the truth, with each scene without Salander in it making you wonder even more.

I can’t recommend this trilogy enough.  It has suspense, mystery, relationships, and a little bit of social commentary. However, if you can’t handle cliffhangers, I would wait until the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, is released (June 2010!). As soon as you finish this one, you’ll be ready for it.

Other reviews:

S. Krishna’s Books: The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson [TSS]
Sunday Salon – Review of The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson << Rhapsodyinbook’s Weblog
Book Nook Club: The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson Review
Books for Breakfast – Book Reviews With a Twist: 48. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE – Stieg Larsson

Page count: 512 | Approximate word count: 153,600

2008: Like Glass (Matthew Cory)
2007: Night Embrace (Sherrilyn Kenyon)
2006: The English Assassin (Daniel Silva)

Used in these Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge 2009; 2nds Challenge; The 999 Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010;

6 thoughts on “2009: #99 – The Girl Who Played With Fire (Stieg Larsson)

  • October 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I hope you and Jennifer will talk to me the next time I see you since I haven’t read either of these books yet.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Review: Ghoulish Goodies =-.

  • October 6, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I have this sitting on my shelf, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m definitely looking forward to reading it, though.
    .-= carol´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday =-.

  • October 6, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I completely agree! They are completely different novels, but completely connected. The ending here was a real kicker. I love Stieg Larsson and am so sad that the third book will be his last.

    Kathy, I would always talk to you. Now read these books and The Other Boleyn Girl, too! :):)
    .-= Literate Housewife´s last blog ..#202 ~ The Tudor Rose =-.

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  • April 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a masterwork of fine craftsmanhip. This novel somehow brings off having two really well drawn protagonists, one male, one female that one can empathize with. I did not want the story to end. The characters are too intriguing for this to be the end. Apparently this was the first novel in a trilogy by the brillant writer, Stieg Larsson, who unfortunately died in 2004: the book contains a tribute to him and his career. The complex mystery, thriller aspects are really good, and then the whole other aspects of the novel which is also a social comment on society in Sweden, journalistic ethics, misogyny, and gut-wrenching sexual violence. So prepare to be disturbed by the darkness it depicts.

    All in all, its one of the best mystery /thrillers I’ve read from the last decade. In fact comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, the characters are not simplistic one dimensional cut outs at all. The rich characterizations and explorations of dark behaviour remind me of Elizabeth George. I’m waiting for the two final books of this trilogy. It is so sad that the author has passed away and we won’t be meeting the characters for more than just 3 books.


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