Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson

2006 (Swedish); 2009 (English).  724 pages.  New Author? : No.  Genre : Murder Mystery.  Book #2 of the "Millennium Trilogy".  Overall Rating : 8½*/10.

Three people are gunned down execution-style, and there's forensic evidence that links Lisbeth Salander (and only her) to each one.  Mikael Blomkvist believes she is innocent.  Even if she is mentally unstable.  With violent tendencies.  And never wants to see him again.  And despite the fact that one of the victims is...

What's To Like...
    This is a fine sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Blomkvist is no longer bedding every biped he meets, and the storyline is a lot more focused.  Larsson still gets detail-obsessed at times (such as describing every last thing the Lisbeth buys for her apartment), but he keeps it more under control.

Fermat's Last Theorem is in the book (Wiki it), which is always kewl.  And there's some chess too.  The book does start a bit slow (the first murder doesn't occur until page 245), but from there on in, it's a real page-turner.  The ending leaves a couple frayed ends, but I presume this is so it can segue right into the third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.

Once again, the characters created by Larsson are wonderful studies - even the baddies.  And he is a master at writing a good murder-mystery.

Kewlest New Word...
None really.  I think that's because it's a translation.

    She would have considered staying longer had she not made an enemy of a slow-witted young hoodlum who haunted the bar of her backstreet hotel.  Finally she lost patience and whacked him on the head with a brick, checked out of the hotel, and took a ferry to St. George's, the capital of Grenada.  (pg. 14.  I told you she has violent tendencies.)

    It was a one-bedroom apartment in Enskede.  Svensson and Johansson had been going out for a few years, but had finally taken the plunge and moved in together a year ago.  (pg. 114.  Swedes apparently have a different view of what "commitment" entails.)

    There are no innocents.  There are, however, different degrees of responsibility.
    Bjurman was dead because he had chosen not to play by the rules she had stipulated.  He had had every chance, but still he had hired some f**king alpha male to do her harm.  That was not her responsibility.  (pg. 462)

Lisbeth was first.  Camilla was beautiful.  (pg. 109)
    I liked The Girl Who Played With Fire better than TGWTDT.  Lisbeth is now the central character, and she's much more interesting than Blomkvist. 

    Larsson's writing seems to have gotten more polished, although perhaps that's just a matter of a better translator.  The identity of the perpetrator(s) will keep you guessing, as will the motive(s).

    The ending will strain your believability tendon once or twice, but it wraps up the plotline nicely and lays the foundation for Book 3.  It is best if you read these in order, which means you commit to 2100 pages or so when you decide to take up Larsson.  It's well worth it.  8½ Stars.

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