Author: Stieg Larsson
Edition/Pages: Knopf, July 2009 Hardcover/503 Pages
Short & Sweet Synopsis: The second book in the Millenium Trilogy, in which Lisbeth Salander gets accused of a triple homicide…read the first book (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and all in this review shall be explained to you).
So, The Girl Who Played With Fire…where do I start? I suppose at the beginning is always a good place. We pick up just shy of a year after the events in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo take place. My first realization, and it was a happy one, was that the writing in the second installment of the Millenium series without a doubt holds up to the quality of writing in the first book. Even though this book has a very different plot from the first, and skips a little time chronologically, it almost feels like Larsson finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, got out a clean sheet of paper, and kept writing. For all I know, that’s what he did. All of that to say, don’t worry that the second novel will let you down. If you enjoyed the first book, I almost guarantee that you will like this one as well.
Point two. The plot.
Okay, so as I said in the synopsis above, the main storyline of this book is that our beloved (or not-so beloved, depending on your perspective) Lisbeth Salander is the prime suspect in a triple homicide. Yikes. Now when I read this in the book summary, I got very nervous. After the pleasure I took in reading The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, I never considered not reading its sequel, but I hate stories where the main narrative involves the protagonist getting misunderstood or blamed for something they didn’t do. I mean, I REALLY hate those stories, be they in film, television, or literature. But I soldiered on anyway. And without giving away any spoilers, let me say this: while certain parts still slightly agitated me, Stieg Larsson did the best job of anybody I’ve ever seen of making me enjoy this type of plot.
The Past Come Back to Haunt
After approximately 500 pages of waiting in the last book, we readers are finally given some breadcrumbs which lead to the answer of Lisbeth’s troubled past. Although, granted, it takes almost another 500 pages of waiting in this book before we really get anything to sink our teeth into. But enough of that. Don’t want to give out too much information! What I’m trying to say is this: there were so many wonderful, yet baffling hints dropped along the way in this book, that I never had any idea where the plot was going (which is rare), and yet I never felt that overly much information was being kept from me. Or rather, I knew that it was, but the hints were given in just such a way that it didn’t bother me. Kudos to the author there.
2 books down, 1 to go…here’s what I think
This definitely ranks among the top series I have ever read. My only concern is that it won’t have an ending. You see, both books so far have had their respective plots concluded (more or less), but the characters don’t really get any satisfactory endings. I wasn’t really worried about that fact since I assumed that – as with many series – they would wrap up well in the last book. Given the quality of the authorship thus far, I had no reason to doubt that. Until I remembered a little tidbit about the author: he died. Apparently leaving behind around 3/4 of a manuscript for a fourth book. So while I don’t have any reason to not read the last (published) book, I sincerely hope and yet somewhat doubt that I’ll be given an ending that feels like an ending. Oh well. Nothing to do about that, and it’s certainly not a big enough issue to trump the other many excellent points of this series. If you haven’t read the first one, please do so. If you have, keep reading! This one’s good too. Stieg Larsson did truly great work…it is a sad thing indeed that he had to leave this world so soon.