The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson Review 4/5

the girl who played with fire

Overall Impression: A gritty slow paced crime novel. Some will love it. Others will hate it.

The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second book in the vastly talked about Millennium series that began with the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The books were released after the author Stieg Larsson passed away. Since then over 27 million copies have been sold, and the books have been adapted into films in both Sweden and the UK.
Some people absolutely love these books, others say there completely useless. Continue reading to discover my opinion…..

The Exposé
Millennium publisher Mikael Blomkvist has made his reputation exposing corrupt establishment figures. So when a young journalist approaches him with an investigation into sex trafficking, Blomkvist cannot resist waging war on the powerful figures who control this lucrative industry.

The Murder
When a young couple are found dead in their Stockholm apartment, it’s a straightforward job for Inspector Bublanski and his team. The killer left the weapon at the scene – and the fingerprints on the gun point in only one direction.

The Girl Who Played with Fire
Ex-security analysis Lisbeth Salander  is wanted for murder. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society – but no-one can find her. The only way Salander can be reached is by computer. But she can break into almost any network she chooses…

I don’t think I need to expand on the synopsis above like I usually do, as it’s pretty accurate at describing the story.

I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the first book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Reading that book was to me, the equivalent of running a marathon. Excruciatingly slow, taxing, but in the end, rewarding.
Therefore I decided to wait an entire year until picking up the second book in the trilogy, but I’m glad I eventually did.

I think whether you like this book will depend on what kind of person/reader you are. Some will absolutely love it (hence all the hype around it) and others will just find it boring. It all depends on what you look for in a book.
The characters in this series aren’t particularly likeable, although this is not a problem for me. I don’t really feel the need to love every character I read about, and I was more interested in seeing where the narrative was heading. The characters are however, more unusual than in your average stereotypical book. However, they are not so ridiculous that you couldn’t imagine stumbling across them in real life. Take Lisbeth Salander for example, a tomboy computer hacker who has been classed as danger to society.
This book is also very slow paced, and the story didn’t really kick in until page 191. Again this wasn’t a problem for me, I’m quite happy for a book to babble on at a leisurely pace, but for others who like much more fast paced books, and aren’t really interested about the details of shopping at IKEA, or longwinded paragraphs on how you edit a book, may want to avoid this series.
One thing that did really bug me though, was that the women in this book seemed to have little respect for themselves, and nearly all of them have ‘casual’ relationships and one night stands, which I found slightly annoying, and also unrealistic. But hey, that’s my prerogative.
The third thing I think people need to know about this book, is that although it’s a crime/thriller, it is not a ‘who dunnit’ story. It is pretty obvious from the get go, who is behind the events that unfold. I think maybe this was some people’s expectation when they picked up this book, and that’s why many were disappointed. This is more of a ‘will justice prevail’ kinda story.

This book is by no means perfect, but I enjoy Larsson’s writing style, the story kept me intrigued, and I found myself constantly distracted from the work I was supposed to be doing, because I wanted to pick up this book and find out what was going to happen next. “Read me Becky, reeeeaaadddd meeeeee”  it kept saying. (Books often talk to me.) So even though for me this book had many flaws, the story still had me completely hooked, and this, to me, is the sign of a truly good book.

Writing Style: 4/5014
Originality: 2/5
Entertainment: 4/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes

Overall: 4/5

10 thoughts on “The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson Review 4/5

  1. I moved onto this book straight after I finished Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and I have to say that I think leaving it for a yearbefore picking it up was a wise idea. I like the story but it is very difficult to get through but it is strangely addictive!

    • Yeah, I’m defiantly glad I left it a while! It’ll probably be about 3 months before I pick up the last book Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest as well. Did you enjoy The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?

      • I’m reading the last one now, I’m kind of worn out with the series. I thought the second one was just too difficult, but still enjoyable. I did enjoy The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I couldn’t put it down! Also, because I love your blog so much I’m awading you the versatile blogger award again!

  2. Yeahh, isn’t the third book the longest!?! It’ll probably take me forever to get through it! I did enjoy the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but not until about 2/3s through.
    Aha, thank you! 🙂

    • Indeed, 743 pages, I hope the story starts slightly quicker than the other two, especially since it starts where the last one left off haha! I want to get it finished by the November 8 so I can start Inheritence without feeling guilty 😛

      • :O NO WAYYY!!! That is too creepy! I’m waiting desperately on the Inheritance book to come out too! 🙂 I love that series, it’s like a more modern version of Lord of the Rings and I’m a big sucker for epic stories, the kind that if they were movies, would have swelling, heart wrenching music. (Although the Eragon film is possibly the worst film I have ever seen.)
        I think I might have to reread the books before I start it though, to refresh my memory, cause I can’t really remember what happened in the last book….

  3. Again I totally agree with this review. I thought Larsson’s editor failed him but the characters had so much depth and you can tell that is where Larsson truly shines. Lisbeth is one of the most unique and realistic characters I’ve come across. I believed this book to be better than the first also. Great review! 🙂

    • Awesome, it seems we have a very similar taste in books!

      I totally agree with you there, I think the biggest problem with these books are the editing. I’m reading the final installment of the series right now and it suffers from the exact same problem. It’s a compelling story, but there’s so much unneeded excess that bogs it down.

      Lisbeth is certainly intriguing! Although sometimes I do want to shake her, lol. 🙂

      • I saw the UK version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I thought it was good actually, a very accurate representation of the book, it was all how I pictured it. I haven’t watched any of the Swedish versions but I am very interested in doing so! I might watch them after I finish the last book. 🙂

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