Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson


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Published: 2006

So, I’ve finally got around to writing this review. The reason I have been putting it off is because I have been busy immersed in The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. I often find myself getting excited about the next book before properly signing off on the one that I’ve just read. #bookwormproblems

Anyway, I was excited about picking up the second instalment in The Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson, after having read the first book in the summer (I can’t believe it’s been so long!). I was quite relieved when the author was generous enough to clarify and briefly summarize some of the main happenings from the previous adventure that Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander have endured. Quite honestly, I forgot some of the finer details.

Despite being grateful for his synopsis I was a little peeved at how slowly the book started off. I’d say the first 100 pages we follow Salander in the Caribbean not really doing much at all. Then I thought, surely whatever happens here must prove significant in later events but I did not find that to be true. Only after I read the book did I sort of look back at the beginning and found some peace in just getting to know Salander better. Perhaps this was Stieg Larsson’s purpose, helping us understand Salander a bit more. I found the first book to be more focused on Mikael, but in this one we definitely learn about Lisbeth’s history, so perhaps that was his intention.

After a rather slow beginning to the book, the real action starts. After a couple of Mikael’s friend’s get murdered (don’t want to spoil it for those who have not read this book so I won’t reveal their names), many questions pop up instantly. Who murdered them? Why would they want them dead? Could this have been prevented? Why were Lisbeth’s fingerprints all over the gun that killed them? The rest of the book we journey through the multiple scenarios and possible murder suspects.

Just like before, Larsson is not afraid to dwell into the dark side of Sweden’s political, judicial and police force. More interesting for me, is that we finally learn about Lisbeth’s haunted past including “when all the evil happened”. Once the murder occurred I could not put the book down. There were just too many questions left unanswered for me to stop reading. And nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for the ending. Once again, I am left waiting to get my hands on the last book in the series. I will not wait as long as I have done before!

Verdict: Loved following around a strong female character, turned into a really addictive read after the first 100 pages and really enjoyed his writing style. The only reason why I gave it a 4 is because of the slow first 100 pages!

Did you get into the Millennium series yet?

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

  1. As you might guess from my reviews back in 2013, I loved this series. Your review brought the enjoyment back to me. For me, it wasn’t so much that the episode in the Caribbean was slow – I didn’t hink it was, and indeed might have been the basis of a quite separated story. My question was ‘why is it there? (
    Coincidentally, I just happened to watch the remake of ‘Dragon Tattoo’ (with Daniel Craig) last night. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Swedish film, and not nearly as much as I enjoyed the book.

    • I am glad that my review managed to bring back fond memories. I think I am missing the last piece of the puzzle (last book) in order for that slow beginning to make more sense.
      I have only watched the first Swedish film and really enjoyed it. My friends have told me the Daniel Craig is a poorer substitute for the Swedish version. Might have to watch and see for myself!

      • I agree your friends’ assessment. Better not read my third review until you’ve read the book!

  2. You need to read the third book and then those 100 pages will mean something. So go do to that.

    What you said about not properly signing off from one book before getting into a new one really struck a chord with me. I often do this – I am never without a next book picked out to start when I finish the one I’m working on. Which means that I don’t properly reflect on some of the books that I read. There’s no chance for a book hangover because I’m always reading the next one. It’s maybe something I should be more mindful of.

    • Is it sad that I am glad I am not the only one to do this? Frequently, if I really love a book I carry those feelings and that particular excitement over to the next book which can be pretty annoying for lack of a better word. I am wanting and expecting the next book to be the same even though it has a completely different genre! So sometimes it takes a few pages for me to turn off the previous novel and just get into the new book!

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