The Girl Who Played with Fire

I finished this book by Stieg Larsson several days ago and it was exciting to the end, unlike the first book in the series which was not so exciting in the last few chapters after the main mystery was unraveled, but still interesting. There are a number of riddles in the second book that get solved as the end is approached. You are kept in suspense, especially about what will happen to the main character, Lisbeth Salander, right up to the last page. Her closing words made me laugh and then made me wonder what will come next. For that I’ll have to wait for the third and final book in the series.

One way to describe this book is as an interaction of extreme personalities with a society that is both baffled and corrupt. The extreme personalities are three. First, the girl, Lisbeth Salander is a complete genius who has been terribly mistreated but retains high moral principles in spite of her bizarre behavior. Second, there is an enormous hulk, called the blond giant, who deals out extreme punishment to those who are disapproved of by his master. Third, there is the master himself, a twisted but brilliant schemer who controls an underground of murderous thugs and is not seen until near the end of the book.

The good guy is again Mikael Blomkvist who works tirelessly to solve the riddles and help Lisbeth even though for awhile he’s not sure of her innocence. Perhaps the author in real life gave Mikael his own personality and that is why he had the unfortunate heart attack at the age of 50 from overwork.

Then there is the rest of the society, the magazine where Mikael works whose beautiful publisher is having an ongoing affair with him, the security agency with its thoughtful director who Lisbeth has done jobs for, the police department, ever confused about how to interpret what’s happening, with its good guys and bad guys, the subculture of the sex trade which has its tentacles into mainstream society. Yes, it’s a complex mix of personalities and culture showing the nasty and hypocritical underbelly of that seemly well ordered Swedish society. But most of all it’s an exciting detective story that keeps you in suspense through to the very last page!

UPDATE: Here’s a much better review of Larsson’s books than I’ve given here.

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  1. Terry McKenna’s avatar

    By the way, Amazon has it available for Kindle (my wife has one, useful since she travels on business).

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Where we’re located up in the boonies of Maine, the Kindle access is EDGE/GPRS coverage (lower speed). I just checked. Previously we had no access at all and now we’re just inside the purple area. I wonder if it would work here now? Thanks for reminding me, Terry. I wonder if it doesn’t work I could send it back? Looks like the cost is $259.

  3. Terry McKenna’s avatar

    that I don’t know. but they have excellent customer service, so I’d ask ’em. (we had to return ours and Amazon was quick to do it.

    ours cost around that. there is a larger Kindle for over $400 – a more or less deluxe Kindle.

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks, Terry. I’ll look into it some more. Maybe it would work here. Have to decide, too, whether I really want it. Sounds like it would be handy.

  5. Aileni’s avatar

    I finished Hornet’s Nest midnight Thursday. I have not enjoyed three books consecutively for years. Not since my O’Brian period.
    Truly excellent.

  6. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks Aileni, I have Hornet’s Nest on order and now will look forward to it even more. I had to look up “O’Brian books” and I see there are 21 of them! Must have taken awhile to read those, but it sounds like they’re all exciting.

  7. Aileni’s avatar

    I re-read all the Aubrey/Maturin books at least once – first ten or twelve, five times. Exquisite writing.

  8. Mardé’s avatar

    Good Heavens, Aileni! They must indeed be powerfully written books with many complexities to read five times! Do I dare try one? :smile:


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