September 26, 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
2009 Random House Audio, Unabridged Edition
18 1/2 hours/ 15 compact discs
Read by Simon Vance
Finished on 9/13/10
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)

Product Description

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.

Wow. For those of you who struggled with the opening chapters of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you can rest assured that the second installment in the late Stieg Larsson's trilogy does not disappoint. I enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I loved The Girl Who Played with Fire. I felt the latter was less confusing and more evenly paced and I was immediately drawn in to the narrative, eager to discover more about Lisbeth Salander and her dark past. What an interesting character, so complex and so seriously flawed that one might think she exhibits sociopathic traits; yet, I found her completely sympathetic and likeable.

And, unlike the first in this series, I had no trouble with the Swedish names and locations thanks to Simon Vance's superb reading. Listening to an audio book is so helpful when it comes to a book set in a foreign country. The repetition of hearing the pronunciation of city names, as well as those of the characters, makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience. (Although I did need to glance at the book as I got toward the end, since a few of the names are very similar and I was having trouble keeping track of who the good guys were.)

And speaking of the ending, the final chapter had me holding my breath with trepidation and as the last words were read, I was stunned by the silence. My first reaction (after getting over the initial shock of the cliff-hanger) was relief in the knowledge that Larsson had written the third book prior to his death. My second thought was to hope that he didn't leave his readers with a similar cliff-hanger at the end of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Final thoughts: The Girl Who Played with Fire is a riveting sequel. I can hardly wait to read the final book in this series.


  1. I am embarrassed to own this series, but all are unread. soon, i hope soon. Glad u enjoyed book 2.

  2. This was my favorite book of the series!

  3. Anonymous3:51 PM

    All I can say is that I was pleased with THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST, but I am so sad that there will not be more books from this author. I want to reread these at some point because I read #2 and #3 really quickly. I need to go back and see what I missed as I gulped it up. LOL

    Glad you liked this one and I think you'll have a good time with #3.

  4. I'm so relieved to hear this! I'm one of the few who was fairly disappointed with The Dragon Tattoo, yet at the same time, I was fascinated with Lisbeth's character. I love how you wrote of her as "so complex and so seriously flawed that one might think she exhibits sociopathic traits" yet likeable at the same time. You've given me renewed hope for the trilogy, which I own but haven't finished.

  5. Diane - My only advice is that you stick with the first book even though you may find it plodding or overwhelming with all the names, places, etc. There's a lot of set-up before the plot really picks up. But it's worth the effort, trust me! :)

    Stephanie - Does that mean you didn't love #3?

    Kay - Phew. I'm glad to know you enjoyed #3. I'm really excited to pick it up later this next month. But I can't decide whether to listen or read it!

    Bellezza - This one is so much better than the first! Maybe you should listen to it like I did. The reader is excellent.

  6. Yay! This is one of the books that Mr. Joy snatched up before I could get to it. He also liked it a little more than the first. I have both the audiobook and hardcover. I don't know which I'll choose. Although, it's on the longer side, so I may just opt for the audio. Glad to hear that it was done well.

    We watched the movie of TGWTDT a few weeks ago and thought it held close to the book. We enjoyed it. There were a couple of tough spots to watch, but the story line was good.

  7. Joy - My hubby read this one, too, but he can't remember if he actually finished it. Now that we've seen the film, he's interested in reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I think you'll enjoy the audio. The reader is very good.

    I liked TGWTDT film a bit better than TGWPWF. I think the latter was a bit to compressed (and somewhat rushed, for lack of a better word) and that the book was just a bit better... it had more character introspection that doesn't translate too well on film. But it was very worthwhile and something I'd recommend watching if you get a chance. Not sure how I feel about American versions that are in the works. I do like Daniel Craig, though... ;)

  8. Great, it's next up for me! I see you're reading Room, I am too. I really like it.

  9. I've decided this one's probably not my thing (well, the whole series) but I thought I'd drop by to say, "Hi." Hello!

  10. Pam - I think you'll enjoy it! And, yes, I'm reading Room. Love it!!!! I can't put it down!

    Nancy - Well, I'm so glad you did. Drop by, that is. Hi there! :)

  11. Isn't Lisbeth great. You are right, she could easily be a character you don't like but Larsson really made her intriguing and someone you root for! I hate to say I was disappointed with the third book but I won't say much more. Hopefully you'll love it though.

  12. Iliana - Oh, no! I'm sorry you were disappointed with #3. I still plan to read it. We'll chat when I'm finished. :)


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