June 11, 2015

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

I've become a fan of this series since reading them all.  Which is why it pains me to give this book only three stars.  But if I'm being honest,  I was utterly bored for the first half of this book.  Which is exactly the same way I felt about the first book as well.  And as good as the 2nd half is, well, if only half a book is riveting...

This book is the second in a trilogy, however, I do think it could be read independently of the first book.   They are completely different storylines and you wouldn't lose much detail.  However, the third book you have to read after this one, and it could not be read before.  Lisbeth is in trouble.  Despite her being socially off, she did not commit some murders that the police are pinning on her.  Even though all the evidence points to her.  She has to evade the police while trying to figure out what happened and only has a few friends she can count on.  Namely a journalist who she had helped in the past but decided to cut ties with, and her old employer.  The truth is out there, but Lisbeth has a lot of odds stacked against her and a ton of people looking for her.

Lisbeth is an odd character.  She certainly isn't likable, but because of all the injustices against her you can't help but root for her.  She's also incredibly smart, so much so that things that are difficult for most come easy to her.  And it's why she can survive when it seems like everyone is out to get her.  Mikael, the reporter, I find too much of a ladies man.  His relationships never seem authentic.  And while he's a kind person, he just doesn't hold a lot of appeal to me.  It was the side characters that really made the story this time.  Great officers, both good and bad, with detailed personalities.  It was like you were interacting with real people.  And the characters are where the strength of this book is.  Without them, it would simply be an action story.

The level of detail in this book is astounding.  And I think that is what made the first half of the book so slow and hard to get through.  I really didn't care about every single piece of furniture that Lisbeth bought for her apartment, down to the exact name from Ikea.  Or what precise shade of clothing everyone was wearing.  I just wanted it to get to the dialogue and the story.  Sometimes too much of a good thing makes it bad.  But that being said, the second half of the book was exceptionally engaging.  I couldn't put it down and stayed up way too late on a work night to find out what happened.  Only to have a surprise at the end that made me want to immiedately start the next book in the series.  Larsson definitely redeemed himself and kept me wanting more.

Slow to start but a powerful finish, if you liked the first book or any books about intrigues, this is probably going to be a hit.

The Girl Who Played With Fire
Copyright 2006
724 pages

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