Title: The Girl Who Played With Fire
Author: Stieg Larsson
Narrator: Saul Reichlin
Publication Year: 2010
Pages: 630 (audio length: 20 hours 52 minutes)
Source: Purchased audiobook version from Audible.com
From the cover:
Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposé on social injustice, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel.
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.
I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series.
Largely, I think that this is because the second book in the trilogy was focused more on Salander’s life story and her own conflicts, rather than having as much focus on a second plotline like the first book did. It also didn’t spend quite as much time on the setup and background details – though still more than I would’ve liked – and so wasn’t as tedious.
Even though I enjoyed The Girl Who Played With Fire, though, I will confess that I really think that a good editor should have been brought in. There are too many irrelevant secondary characters, and way too much detail and description at times. Seriously.
I don’t want to say too much more, because it gets into the whole plot-spoilage thing. But I will say this – the mystery and action going on in this book kept my attention way more than the first of the Larsson books. I felt more emotionally invested – I liked Salander, and so I wanted things to work out for her. That’s a lot different than how I felt about the Vanger part of the story in the first installment, where it didn’t really matter all that much to me what happened to most of the characters. I like to have a character to feel some kind of attachment to, and even though Salander is considered “strange” and has some rather unlikable characteristics, she plays that role for me.
If you’ve already started reading the series, then definitely continue on with this one. And if you’re stuck and feeling bogged down by the detail in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you can have some hope for improvement in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.