December 7, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson


BOOK #: 59
RATING: 4 Stars
CHALLENGES: TwentyTen, A to Z Challenge, 100+ in 2010
GENRE: Crime Thriller
PUBLISHER: Vintage Books of Random House
FORMAT/PAGES: Paperback/724

The second installment in Larsson's trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist was stirring and full of intrigue.

The plot was riveting. I loved that Salander was the prime suspect in a triple homicide and I liked the sex trafficking ring component as well, although it didn't go into that as much as I thought it would. I also liked that the characters taken from the first book were consistent in their personalities in the second book.

I found myself wishing I had drawn up an outline of character names and places by the time I got halfway through the book. There were a lot of key players in this book and Larsson switched back and forth from first names to last names, adding to my confusion. That was probably my main problem with the book. I think I am going to have to do it anyway so that when I go to read the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, I won't be lost. That and the whole bizarre mathematics part of the book. I could have done without that and it didn't add anything to the story. A simple "Salander likes to solve complicated mathematical puzzles" would have sufficed.

Larsson had a talent for throwing the reader off guard, though. Just when you think it is getting predictable, he throws a major surprise at you.

I think I enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo better, but I still liked this book and I look forward to finding out how all of this ends in the next book. I also can't wait to catch the movie for this book, which may help me in keeping all the characters straight, too.


  1. I've been meaning to pick up this series. I look forward to reading your thoughts on how the third book wraps it all up.

  2. I haven't started this trilogy yet, but I'll be sure to write an outline of characters when I do.

  3. I have started reading the third book, and I think it is even more complicated as far as the list of characters. I got a little frustrated and put the book down. I have been a little hesitant to read this book anyway- because it is the last of the series- makes me a little sad (especially since the author had passed away). :(

  4. I haven't read this one, yet, although I did watch the movie the other day, which I didn't think was as good as the first. I have the book sitting on my shelf to get to soon.

  5. 'Fraid I'm in the minority in that I really didn't like the first book, so I won't be reading this one or the final book in the trilogy.

  6. My daughter recently watched the movie adaptations of the first two books in this series. It sounds intriguing, but probably too brutal for me.

  7. I found the switching between first and last names confusing, too. Even though my current book is only 191 pages, I'm keeping a list of characters and noting the page when they appear in the story so I can refer back if necessary, and I'm finding it helpful. I didn't do that with the Larsson books, but it definitely would have been a good idea.

  8. Now that I'm done with the series, I actually have to say that I loved this one the most! It reveals more about the mysterious Lisbeth and I'm a sucker for character development!

  9. I always feel ashamed (as if I didn't do the author justice), when I come across a character and think, "Gee, that name sounds familiar...where else was he/she/it mentioned?"...


  10. This series just scares me too much, all the violence and such in it!!

  11. I just eventually gave up on the names ... they got way too confusing. The main characters you know so I just kind of ignored the rest. There are only so many Johannsons and Eklunds I could keep straight!!

    And I don't see how you can't continue on given how the second books ends!

  12. I loved this second book! I actually liked it more than the first. Great review! I'll be reading #3 in the coming months. Can't wait! But then it will be over :(

  13. oh, what a great idea - to write down character names as the story unfolds! I'll try to remember that when I (if I ever) get to this

  14. I just saw the movie of the first book and now I'm all fired up to read the series. I'm prone to writing down names and relationships these days as prep for my reviews but I'm glad to know going in that it will be really important to do so.


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