Monday, July 26, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson - Book Review #57

Monday, July 26, 2010
The Girl Who Played with Fire
by Stieg Larsson

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.

I have been thinking for two days how to write this review and each time I was trying to come up with actual words it started to sound like I hated this book and it was a worthless piece of crap, which completely contradicted with my feelings and thoughts about second installment of Millennium series - The Girl Who Played with Fire.

So I would like to start from saying that I really enjoyed reading this book. As I wrote in my review on first book in this series – Salander is my type of characters and I was very happy to see that she is the center of attention in second book. It was quite interesting to dig into Salander’s past, trying to figure out who she truly is and how she turned out the way she is now. Her obsession with Fermat’s theorem is a complete cliché, but still enormously cute. Her versatility opens up at whole new level in the second book. It seems like Stieg Larsson endued Salander with everything possibly and, surprisingly, the variety of her skills didn’t seem to be impossible or unrealistic.

However, despite how mostly fast paced this book was and how irresistible Salander appeared, I could not help to not overlook the flaws, which mostly not Stieg Larsson’s fault, but rather a poor editing job, in my opinion. First, the book starts very slow. For at least two hundred pages nothing much is happening. We are given a lot of background, sex preferences and stories about all imaginable characters, despite how tiny or almost none role they are going to play in the story. I appreciate Larsson’s attention to details and desire to show in-depths of all events, but I think it could have been done while telling the story itself and not separately. Second, Larsson’s tendency to repetition sometimes can be really annoying. I could see how he was trying to tell the story from different points of view to show the reader the big picture, but, in my opinion, it could have been done better and gentler, without actually repeating the whole paragraph and passages. And the last, but not least, the ending left much to be desired and at least was unfair to the readers. In my opinion, this is not the ending of the second book in the series - it is the ending of the first part of the second book. The book ended on culmination, without tying any ends and without any closure.

Nevertheless I enjoyed this book. I probably liked it less then the first one. However, despite everything, Stieg Larsson left me no choice and I’m definitely planning to read the third and the final book in the series - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.


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