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Playing with Fire

  • Oct 16, 2010
Rating:
+5
This is the second novel in Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy, and the sequel to "The Girl with a Dragoon Tattoo." It is not a true sequel as it doesn't deal almost at all with any of the circumstances that were at the root of the plotline in the previous novel. It, however, still has the same main characters, namely the Millennium magazine cofounder and journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the disturbed young woman with incredible intellectual abilities named Lisbeth Salander. At the end of the previous novel, Lisbeth had abruptly disappeared from Mikeal's life, and at the beginning of this sequel we find them almost literally half a world apart. Mikael is relishing all the success that has come with the publishing of his new book and the subsequent increase of interest in Millennium. Lisbeth, on the other hand, is traveling around the World and enjoying everything that her newfound riches can provide. Eventually, however, she returns to Sweden where she assumes a new identity and tries to lead a secure yet anonymous existence.

The buildup in this book is almost painfully slow. The first third of the book largely deals with Mikael's and Lisbeth's personal lives and various sexual liaisons in which they and many of their close friends engage. Almost a third of the book is spent on these matters, and one cannot help but feel that Larsson was self-indulgent in giving a free reign to some of his own personal fantasies and living vicariously through his characters. Even the most salacious affairs become tedious after a while.

Thankfully, after not too long the pace of this novel picks up dramatically. A string of murders that happen suddenly and hit close to home for Blomkvist seem to have a clear and indisputable connection to Salander. Lisbeth's tormented past seems to be catching up with her, and there is no way of avoiding dealing with it with a full force this time around.

In order to solve the murders various law enforcement, private security and journalistic forces are compelled to work with each other. The interplay of these various interests is one of the more intriguing aspects of this novel. Larsson is clearly well versed in the intricate and behind the scenes details of various Swedish social, political and legal structures and this plethora of knowledge forcefully shines through in his writing. One gets a feeling that all of the previous novel and a good part of this one were just a buildup to the point where Larsson can write about what he is really passionate about: exposing all the corrupt elements of the Swedish society.

This novel is clearly a work of fiction, but the overwhelming amount of references to the actual persons and events makes one wonder if Larsson's aim was in fact to shed light on stories and events that were too murky to be used in factual journalism for which he was previously known. Whatever his motivations may have been, Larsson's mastery of factual details makes this book infinitely more interesting and entertaining. Any lover of crime thrillers will greatly enjoy reading "The Girl Who Played with Fire."

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More The Girl Who Played With Fire ... reviews
review by . April 07, 2012
   Translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland      I was a bit disappointed with how Dragon Tattoo ended.  It took a long time to wrap the Wennerstrom story, and it takes a while for the second book to catch fire as well, but when it does, you will quickly reach a point where you have to finish.  So you do things like spend three hours on a perfectly beautiful Saturday on Easter weekend with errands to run, or yard work to do, or family about, as I did, and …
review by . April 24, 2010
Mia Johansson, a bright young graduate student, is in the final stages of preparing her doctoral thesis on the controversial topic of sex trafficking. Her journalist boyfriend, Dag Svensson, approaches Mikael Blomkvist, the publisher of Millennium magazine, with the idea of extending this research into a series of articles on sex trafficking in Sweden. Knowing that this kind of exposé will reach into the heart of the Russian mafia, white slavery, the exploitation of under-age prostitutes …
review by . June 26, 2010
The Return of Lisabeth Salander
Thankfully book sequels work better than movie sequels. Movie sequels are often cynical and half-baked attempts to cash in a successful movie, and nobody, the directors, writers or actors give a damn about credibility as long as they cash in.      Not true for books, at least not as much. Good writers treat their characters like their children, and would not subject them to the half-assed, hack-style treatment moviemakers do. "The Girl Who Played  With Fire" …
review by . August 17, 2010
Compelling character Lisbeth Salander returns after her exploits in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." I was caught up in the story as if I was reading about a friend's daughter and the turmoil that she went through.      Lisbeth is suffering from the emotional toil from the actions in the first story. However, she's still an independent soul and a champion for the injured.      I believe that all readers of mystery novels and brave …
Quick Tip by . March 13, 2011
Caption
At the beginning of this book, the character is strapped to a bed and things are happening to her.   It would be easier for the reader to know in advance that this happened in the past and it is something that the character is remembering.
review by . March 21, 2011
   The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, and a worthy sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I’m still not sure these are the best books I’ve read, or even nearly the best, but they’re certainly enjoyable. The characters become more real in this book, or at least more complex. I enjoyed seeing Lisbeth building her new life, and the old hurts breaking through to break it down were convincingly revealed with a nice …
review by . July 21, 2010
Lisabeth Salander, whom we met in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, returns to Sweden from a year of living abroad. It has been an interesting time for Lisabeth; she has matured, made some changes in her appearance, and has been working on the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, which states no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation a^n + b^n = c^n for any integer value of n greater than two. Salander is a very complex woman, as we discovered in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. …
review by . July 16, 2010
The huge number of readers who enjoyed Larsson’s first book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be thrilled with this one, for the drama and suspense are even better. The main characters are the same with the same interesting idiosyncrasies. The book has the same problems - it is difficult to identify and distinguish the Swedish people’s names and the places because they all sound the same - but this does not distract from enjoying the novel.           &n …
Quick Tip by . March 07, 2011
Gripping and Captivating Trilogy. Lisbeth will entertain you and cause you to want to finish the Trilogy right away. Wonderfully written
review by . October 16, 2010
This is the second novel in Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy, and the sequel to "The Girl with a Dragoon Tattoo." It is not a true sequel as it doesn't deal almost at all with any of the circumstances that were at the root of the plotline in the previous novel. It, however, still has the same main characters, namely the Millennium magazine cofounder and journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the disturbed young woman with incredible intellectual abilities named Lisbeth Salander. At the end of the previous …
About the reviewer
Bojan Tunguz ()
I am a benevolent rascal. I love lounging in bed on a Sunday morning. Rainy days make me melancholy, but in a good kind of way. I am an incorrigible chocoholic. I hate Mondays, but I get over it by Wednesday. … more
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About this book

Wiki

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.

About the Author
Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor in chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0307269981
ISBN-13: 978-0307269980
Author: Stieg Larsson
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Date Published: July 28, 2009 (U.S.)
Format: Hardback
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