The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The ExposeMillennium publisher Mikael Blomkvist has made his reputation exposing corrupt establishment figures. So when a young journalist approaches him with an investigation into sex trafficking, Blomkvist cannot resist waging war on the powerful figures who control this lucrative industry.The MurderWhen a young couple are found dead in their Stockholm apartment, it's a...

Title:The Girl Who Played with Fire
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Girl Who Played with Fire Reviews

  • Grace Tjan

    ILLUSTRATED!

    What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

    1. Swedish billionaires furnish their multi-million dollar apartments with IKEA --- well, at least ONE peculiar Swedish billionaire.

    Poang Chair $40

    2. Asperger's Syndrome may give you the idea that a T-shirt that says ‘I’M AN ALIEN’ is acceptable office wear, but also photographic memory and phenomenal mathematical ability.

    3. "Sweden is one of the countries that imports the most prostitutes per capita from Russia and

    ILLUSTRATED!

    What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

    1. Swedish billionaires furnish their multi-million dollar apartments with IKEA --- well, at least ONE peculiar Swedish billionaire.

    Poang Chair $40

    2. Asperger's Syndrome may give you the idea that a T-shirt that says ‘I’M AN ALIEN’ is acceptable office wear, but also photographic memory and phenomenal mathematical ability.

    3. "Sweden is one of the countries that imports the most prostitutes per capita from Russia and the Baltics". Naughty Swedes.

    4. The best computer in the world is a Mac, but no matter what computer you have, Asphyxia WILL suck up all your digital secrets.

    5. You can live on Billy's Pan Pizza for days on end and STILL look like an anorexic teenager.

    6. All rapists and violent sex offenders should have these words tattooed on their stomachs: "I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT AND A RAPIST". The tattoo should be done by an amateur and not be removable even by laser. Repeat offenders will be tattooed on their foreheads. It is recommended that the subject be tasered first before undergoing this involuntary procedure.

    7. "There were not so many physical threats that could not be countered with a decent hammer". Buy a good-sized one from the hardware store and keep it in your bag always.

    8. Failing that, a girl must always have the following ready:

    a. keys (to scratch an opponent's face);

    b. a can of mace, though it's illegal in Sweden; and

    c. a taser (a 50,000 volts jolt to the crotch will incapacitate even the burliest of men).

    9. "Men could be as big as a house and made of granite, but they all had balls in the same place". A crucial fact to remember in a fight, especially if you are fighting a 300 pounds, six foot six giant with hands as big as frying pans.

    POTENTIAL SPOILER

    10. A cigarette case is a useful tool for digging yourself out of a grave.

    My review of

    :

    and

    :

  • Lisa Eskra

    The first book was for the most part plot-driven. The 40-year old mystery took a while to unfold, but was interesting when it did. So was Lisbeth, although she wasn't the main focus. Enter, The Girl Who Played With Fire. The story has now turned character-driven with Lisbeth as the protagonist. But instead of having much of a plot of any character revelations about her early on, we read about her buying a new apartment, grocery shopping, and what furniture she picked out at IKEA in *great* detai

    The first book was for the most part plot-driven. The 40-year old mystery took a while to unfold, but was interesting when it did. So was Lisbeth, although she wasn't the main focus. Enter, The Girl Who Played With Fire. The story has now turned character-driven with Lisbeth as the protagonist. But instead of having much of a plot of any character revelations about her early on, we read about her buying a new apartment, grocery shopping, and what furniture she picked out at IKEA in *great* detail. Seriously, you could go down to the store and decorate the same way if you wanted, that's the level of description he gave. I was bored out of my mind. This goes on for a staggering 172 pages.

    Mystery thriller? Surely you jest! This book wasn't a mystery whatsoever for me. The fact that the police and everyone else working to solve the case chose to ignore it was pitiful.

    The turning point didn't happen until page 172, which was about 100 pages too late to hold the interest of any reader who's not a masochist. The quick pace and interest it generates rapidly disappears until 375.Really. It was more bloated than a rotting whale.

    The

    was a better book. I wanted to throw this one against the wall a few times.

  • Brad

    I am confident that

    has a reason for this, but Lisbeth Salander is not much of a heroine. Let's list her transgressions from

    (and these will be deliberately out of context):

    1. She forces herself on a 16 year old boy in Granada.

    2. She kills a man on the beach during a hurricane.

    3. She shuts out Blomkvist for a very long time for a perceived slight, giving him no explanation.

    4. She fails to take or show the necessary care with her ex-guardian after his s

    I am confident that

    has a reason for this, but Lisbeth Salander is not much of a heroine. Let's list her transgressions from

    (and these will be deliberately out of context):

    1. She forces herself on a 16 year old boy in Granada.

    2. She kills a man on the beach during a hurricane.

    3. She shuts out Blomkvist for a very long time for a perceived slight, giving him no explanation.

    4. She fails to take or show the necessary care with her ex-guardian after his stroke.

    5. She alienates everyone else who cares about her.

    6. She lives off billions that she stole.

    7. She invades the apartment of her "guardian" and threatens his life in the middle of the night.

    8. She endangers the lives of friends and innocents.

    9. She very nearly burned her father to death when she was a teenager.

    10. She pulls a gun on the owner of a car rental agency and shuts him in a broom closet to control him.

    11. She commits multiple computer violations, including the hacking of government computers.

    12. She carries and uses illegal weapons.

    13. She is genuinely ultraviolent.

    14. She shoots a man in the foot after macing his eyes, and she tasers another in the testicles.

    15. She steals a motorcycle.

    16. She chops her father's knee and skull with an axe.

    17. She is vengeful in a way that makes Edmond Dantès look like a sissy.

    Let's face it, Lisbeth is more than a little bit nasty. And taken a step further, it is safe to say that she is not particularly likable. She is cold, calculating, emotionally irrational, mean, detached, abrasive, unapproachable, unfriendly, selfish, mercenary, vengeful, and more than a few other things most of us would classify as unlikable.

    Out of context, Lisbeth Salander is the kind of person who most people would be more than happy to see locked up forever. And if all we had to go on were the reports of newspapers and descriptions of trials, we'd all see it as a failure of the "justice system" if she went free.

    Yet we cheer for her in the

    ; we can't seem to help ourselves. And therein lies what Stieg Larsson is trying to tell us with his challenging protagonist -- context is everything.

    Larsson isn't simply writing a compelling series of thrillers (and I haven't been so locked into a book, as I was with GWPWF, for a very long time). He isn't simply fishing for a film deal. He isn't just sitting down to write a vapid bestseller. I'd even go so far as to say that Stieg Larsson is not a hack. Nowhere near. He is criticizing the very efficacy of what we so proudly call the "rule of law."

    Larsson is suggesting that the "rule of law" fails because it has no room for context. It deals in absolutes (unless you're one of the super-rich or super-influential), and it doesn't give a damn whether you perceived a threat before you lit someone on fire; it doesn't care whether the sixteen year old you're having sex with is mature, in love with you and is totally willing; it doesn't care that you stole the car or killed someone to save a life; it doesn't care that you withheld evidence from the police to protect yourself or someone you love; it doesn't care that you hacked into computers for altruistic reasons; it doesn't care that you were bred to ultraviolence through nature and nurture; it doesn't care about you and it doesn't care about context. It just doesn't care, and because it doesn't care Larsson suggests that we should have a healthy disdain for the "rule of law" and recognize its terrible shortcomings because it is the structure we have to live with whether we like it or not.

    Yet with all this,

    is -- most importantly -- a cracking read. It is fast paced, cinematic in its noirishness, full of suspense, has a genuine twist or two (one of which actually took me by surprise), a cast of characters it is almost impossible not to love and hate (as the mood takes you) -- even thought they are all rather static -- and it ends with a cliff hanger of the first order (I am guessing this is a problem for some readers, but I am a fan of the cliff hanger).

    What a shame Stieg Larsson passed from us so soon. I could have read his books for the rest of my life.

  • Nataliya

    Stieg Larsson doesn't really do subtle.

    But since he is condemning misogyny and violence towards women, I'm ok with that.

    This book, much more than its predecessor, focuses on the tiny-but-tough Lisbeth Salander. We learn quite a bit about the fascinating and horrific backstory that led to Salander developing her unique, defensive, prickly personality.

    Stieg Larsson doesn't really do subtle.

    But since he is condemning misogyny and violence towards women, I'm ok with that.

    This book, much more than its predecessor, focuses on the tiny-but-tough Lisbeth Salander. We learn quite a bit about the fascinating and horrific backstory that led to Salander developing her unique, defensive, prickly personality.

    But don't let the focus on Lisbeth fool you -

    (

    was the original title of the first Swedish book, before it was changed to include a more marketable dragon tattoo) as its main theme remains the same as its predecessor's, repeated and restated countless times. And that's why I liked this otherwise far from perfect book.

    Yet again, Larsson determinedly exposes the unlikable aspects of society - misogyny and adherence to judgmental standards and gender norms that are ever-present even in the European paradise of Sweden. The surface mystery is just that - a plot device, an excuse to get a new angle on Larsson's favorite topic.

    This is reflected first and foremost in the awful treatment that Salander receives, but also in the treatment of Lisbeth's mother, Sonia Bodig, and the helpless and easily ignored by the society victims of sex trafficking.

    However, I could not help but sigh and eyeroll at Larsson's less-than-perfect prose.

    My gripes are similar to those of many other readers - the

    of every minute detail, the never-ending parade of

    reading like an ad at times, and what feels like

    making a special appearance. This diary-like filler could have been easily cut out, leaving a much shorter and much sharper book. I also giggled at the author's self-insertion and

    in the memorable figure of incorruptible and irresistible journalist Blomkvist. And how can I forget a grating pet-peeve of

    .

    The final grade is

    - full marks for the awesome message of the story, but points taken off for far-from-perfect execution.

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  • James

    4 of 5 stars to

    , the second book in the Millenium thriller series written in 2006 by

    . Although I am very fond of this book, it wasn't quite as good as the first one,

    . But it's a very strong follow-up sequel worth reading. It packs an even larger punch as far as violence and drama, as well as brings out the sexual chemistry and tension between Mikhail and Lisbeth. But this book is all about Lisbeth... and i

    4 of 5 stars to

    , the second book in the Millenium thriller series written in 2006 by

    . Although I am very fond of this book, it wasn't quite as good as the first one,

    . But it's a very strong follow-up sequel worth reading. It packs an even larger punch as far as violence and drama, as well as brings out the sexual chemistry and tension between Mikhail and Lisbeth. But this book is all about Lisbeth... and in a strange way, I root for her. Despite the crazy that comes with her, she's been through the ringer more than once. And when she gets revenge on those who harmed her in the past, I was a big fan of her tactics... despite what that may say about me. What's great about these books is the intensity they bring to the entire story.

    For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at

    , where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

    : All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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  • Dan Schwent

    Three people are dead and Lisbeth Salander's finger prints are on the murder weapon. Can Mikael Blomkvist clear her name before the police find her? And what does Lisbeth's situation have to do with an expose of the Swedish sex trade two of the murder victims were working on?

    I was afraid The Girl Who Played With Fire would suffer from the sophomore jinx. I'm pleased to say it did not.

    Larsson must have figured out he had a good thing in Lisbeth Salander while working on The Girl With The Dragon T

    Three people are dead and Lisbeth Salander's finger prints are on the murder weapon. Can Mikael Blomkvist clear her name before the police find her? And what does Lisbeth's situation have to do with an expose of the Swedish sex trade two of the murder victims were working on?

    I was afraid The Girl Who Played With Fire would suffer from the sophomore jinx. I'm pleased to say it did not.

    Larsson must have figured out he had a good thing in Lisbeth Salander while working on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because she's the primary focus of this, the sequel. Actually, it's not all that much like its predecessor. TGWTDT was a mystery and TGWPWF is a faster paced thriller.

    The structure of the two books is fairly similar: a slow build up to a lightning storm. Honestly, I can't figure out why these books work so well for me. They both begin slow and have a lot of extraneous details I think might have been pruned had Larsson been alive when they were accepted by a publisher, notably the oddly specific minutae of the characters' everyday life and the prominence of brand names. Still, once I started reading them, they kind of took over my life for a few days.

    The Girl Who Played With Fire is, in a way, an exploration of Lisbeth Salander's past. Where The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo barely scratched the surface, this book did some strip-mining. Since the villains were players in the sex trade, they were not sympathetic and quite vile. The action was even more brutal than in the previous book and there was a lot more of it. Without giving too much away, Lisbeth Salander is so tough there should be an internet meme dedicated to how much of a bad ass she is. "If Chuck Norris had a sex change and gained 50% more damage-inflicting skills, he would be Lisbeth Salander" or something to that effect.

    I felt that the parts of the story about Lisbeth eclipsed the other parts of the story by a wide margin, a good thing in my book. I wasn't that interested in the everyday business of running Millennium or who was falling for Mikael "The Ladies Man" Blomkvist anyway.

    I guess I should bring this review to a thrilling conclusion before I start giving away plot points. I enjoyed The Girl Who Played With Fire even more than I did the previous volume. Five easy stars.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

    Very short review due to the glitches on GR.

    This is the second book in the trilogy. I loved it and I loved the movie. The book bogs down a little but it's all good.

    Lisbeth is back and doing her own thing.

    Lisbeth has been away from Mikael for some time. But, they come back together when Lisbeth is accused of killing that jerk rapist of hers.

    *****Spoiler*****

    Lisbeth looks into a sex trafficking ring that Mikael is involved in and finds out some things about her past she didn't want to know.

    He

    Very short review due to the glitches on GR.

    This is the second book in the trilogy. I loved it and I loved the movie. The book bogs down a little but it's all good.

    Lisbeth is back and doing her own thing.

    Lisbeth has been away from Mikael for some time. But, they come back together when Lisbeth is accused of killing that jerk rapist of hers.

    *****Spoiler*****

    Lisbeth looks into a sex trafficking ring that Mikael is involved in and finds out some things about her past she didn't want to know.

    Her evil arse father is alive and she has a brother and they need to be taken out.

    But this almost gets her killed.

    Thank God Mikael was able to find her!

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    Lisbeth Salander is simply unforgettable.

    I read the first book in this trilogy the year it was published

    Lisbeth Salander is simply unforgettable.

    I read the first book in this trilogy the year it was published in English and I remember the book so vividly that even five years later I transitioned into this book as if I’d just finished reading Dragon last week. Salander is 4’11”, but she walks across the literary landscape with such giant strides it is impossible to ignore her. People who have never read the books or seen the movies have a vague idea of who she is. People who have watched the movies or read the books may eventually forget her name decades from now, but they will not forget her persona; her verve; her courage.

    Now before we start feeling all warm and fuzzy about Salander there are few problems with knowing her. If you cross her she might throw a Molotov cocktail through your window. She is unreliable, unrelenting, and if you own a computer she will know everything about you. She is a hacker extraordinaire and even though she is extremely private, almost maniacal about her own personal information, she has no problem hacking into your personal affairs after all YOU should have been more careful with it. Despite her bristly exterior and her tendency to answer questions with a stare or a monosyllabic response you might find yourself attracted to her. She has a lesbian friend Mimmi who tries to explain Salander’s relationship with sex.

    ENTROPIC CHAOS FACTOR, sounds mathematical and math does play a role in this novel, but my version of what Mimmi meant by that statement is that Salander is a person who will parachute in out of the blue, shag you until your nucleus becomes a comet, and then leave before you’ve had time to light your first coitus joint.

    Salander solves complex math equations for relaxation purposes. Throughout the novel she is pursuing the answer to Fermat’s last theorem. Now in the 1990s Andrew Wiles solved the problem using the world’s most advanced computer programme which sounds like cheating to me. When she does figure out Fermat’s intention it is the only time I can remember Stieg Larsson recording his literary heroine...giggling.

    Stieg Larsson is an interesting story. He delivered three novels to his publisher and shortly thereafter died from a heart attack, attributed to walking up seven flights of stairs. This unexpected demise helped launch the books onto the bestseller lists. We are morbid aren’t we. He was an investigative reporter by trade and there was an inquiry into whether foul play was involved. It seems he was just a 50 year old man that fate placed a situation in front of him, an out of service elevator, that provided the proper strain to his heart to kill him. What endears these novels to me, even more, is that he wrote them in the evenings as an escape from regular life. Now, there are issues with these books, the use of name brands over and over. You will tire of hearing Powerbook, IKEA and Billy’s Pan Pizza. If Larsson ate as many Billy’s Pan Pizza as Salander does in the book that might be the doughy rope that squeezed his heart.

    to check out the Billy's Pan Pizza television commercial. It is a hoot.

    Despite any issues I had with the writing, and sometimes it was clunky, the raw power of the writing and a compelling plot made those issues irrelevant.

    Salander gets along just fine with the majority of the population, but she hates men who hate women. She ran into several of those in the first book and one in particular is seared into my memory, Nils Bjurman. He is the lawyer that has been assigned to her competency case. She was declared incompetent by the courts and assigned Bjurman to take care of her affairs. Salander is a confident person sometimes too confident and in book one she underestimates her ability to control a situation with Bjurman. He turns the tables on her and brutally raped her. With a presence of mind that is beyond most of the rest of us she recorded the rape and even as he is doing the most sadistic things to her she is going over and over in her head where she made the mistake and what she was going to do to him if he allowed her to live. Interesting enough she lets him live, but holds the video over his head like the sword of Damocles.

    Besides the video she does administer her own form of brutal vengeance, but there is a practicality to her decision not to kill him. The courts would simply assign her another mentor that she doesn’t have control of and of course she would have to weather an investigation into his murder. In this book she makes a similar mistake in her pursuit for the man responsible for inspiring the rage and the violence that swirls around her.

    Mikael Blomkvist is back and when his team of writers unearth a white slavery ring he finds himself battling a controversial issue that may impact the highest levels of society. Underage girls are being brought from Russia and forced into prostitution. It would be an easy assumption to make that every member of society would want to eliminate a situation that allows young girls to be exploited against their will. One of the problems is that men in government, in positions of power, enjoy the availability of such young, beautiful girls for their own sexual perversions. Despite the fact that Salander is not talking to Blomkvist, he is baffled as to why, she is drawn into the investigation because of the use of the name of one man... Zalachenko. As she becomes the main focus of the investigation she is forced to go underground, a skill she is particularly adept at, and as the rocket fueled plot comes to a conclusion this reader couldn’t have put this book down even if the building was burning down around my ears because Salander... always... puts out a fire with gasoline.

  • Laz

    A downright masterpiece. The action sequences, the constant tension continually building up to lead to a tremendous ending. Lisbeth freaking Salander, she may actually be one of the best, and most complex characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. Introverted, extremely genial, and dangerous if need be, she's the epitome of the formula to the creation of a super-intriguing character.

    Like the first book, this was a complete investigation-kind-of-book. But unlike the first one, this h

    A downright masterpiece. The action sequences, the constant tension continually building up to lead to a tremendous ending. Lisbeth freaking Salander, she may actually be one of the best, and most complex characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. Introverted, extremely genial, and dangerous if need be, she's the epitome of the formula to the creation of a super-intriguing character.

    Like the first book, this was a complete investigation-kind-of-book. But unlike the first one, this has nothing to do with third parties, and everything to do with Lisbeth. It's a more personal book, and it cements the core of this series, which is Lisbeth. There are lots of new information about Lisbeth, and she becomes somewhat less enigmatic as we begin to get a glimpse at the troublesome, dark past.

    Sex trafficking, Russian hitman, murders. What else does a book need to be freaking thrilling? Salander in this book becomes obsessed with math, she takes it up as a hobby, and up until the last moments when her life is hanging by a thread, she finds the solution to a mathematical problem. Such a peculiar protagonist, I feel constantly intrigued by her and I always have to expect the unexpected from her.

    Up until half of the book, nothing extraordinary really happens, it's just plot building up but there's lots of Salander, so it's interesting and gripping to read. Then, at about halfway into the book everything changes. A police hunt begins. You'll have to guess who the hunted is. And how the hell they ended up into this mess.

    Surprisingly, there's less Blomkvist in this than the first book. Although, he's still a prime character to the story, he takes the role of the secondary character rather than the first one, as we saw him in the first book. In the entirety of the book, Blomkvist and Salander hardly ever meet.

    So, summing everything up, I'll admit that I liked this better than the first because of the more personal storyline the author followed.

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS!!

  • helen the bookowl

    4.75/5 stars.

    This sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is brilliant! This is some of the best crime fiction that exists, in my opinion, and Lisbeth Salander remains one of my favourite fictional characters of all time.

    The plot of this novel is clever and the diverse set of characters fascinating. The only reason why this novel is not just as good as the first one, is because it contains some passages that at times seemed dwelling and somewhat repetitive. That being said, the conclusion

    4.75/5 stars.

    This sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is brilliant! This is some of the best crime fiction that exists, in my opinion, and Lisbeth Salander remains one of my favourite fictional characters of all time.

    The plot of this novel is clever and the diverse set of characters fascinating. The only reason why this novel is not just as good as the first one, is because it contains some passages that at times seemed dwelling and somewhat repetitive. That being said, the conclusion makes up for it and also contains one of my favourite fictional scenes. Read this, also even though you're not that much into crime fiction, like me ;)


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