...or why books and tv rank higher than sleep

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Larsson, Stieg.The Girl Who Played with Fire.Vintage. New York. 2009. digital edition. 671 pages.

Summary: (from Publisher's Weekly)
Fans of intelligent page-turners will be more than satisfied by Larsson's second thriller, even though it falls short of the high standard set by its predecessor, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which introduced crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk hacker savant Lisbeth Salander. A few weeks before Dag Svensson, a freelance journalist, plans to publish a story that exposes important people involved in Sweden's sex trafficking business based on research conducted by his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, a criminologist and gender studies scholar, the couple are shot to death in their Stockholm apartment. Salander, who has a history of violent tendencies, becomes the prime suspect after the police find her fingerprints on the murder weapon. While Blomkvist strives to clear Salander of the crime, some far-fetched twists help ensure her survival. Powerful prose and intriguing lead characters will carry most readers along. (Aug.)


I really tried to like this book. Really tried my hardest. The beginning was promising - Lisbeth is enjoying her pilfered wealth at a hotel in Grenada. She hasn't spoken to Blomkvist in over a year and no one knows where she is. Meanwhile, in Sweden, Millenium has embarked on a partnership with a man that is about to publish an expose on the sex traffic trade in Sweden. But murders happen and Lisbeth appears to be the killer.

Sounds interesting, right? Murder. Corruption. Sex. Violence. The hunt for the real killer. Should be action packed. Well... It was, but really there were just too many characters and too many things going on in the book. We did learn more about Lisbeth, including why she was declared incompetent as a teen, but the reveal was very anti-climatic.

One major gripe about the book is the number of seemingly indestructible people in this book. Lisbeth in particular is almost comic book superhero: she's rich, violent, has a photographic memory, is an expert hacker, a vigilante, bisexual, and now is a practically professional level boxer. What happens in the end (which I won't give away even though it's glaringly obvious in the summary of book 3) also makes her out to be almost superhuman. I'm waiting for her to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
This book would have been so much better if they cut about 1/3 of it out and reduced the characters by half. and maybe found some better ways to describe the giant with a ponytail.
This book got rave reviews from everyplace I've seen it reviewed, so maybe this is another case of A Reliable Wife where I am wondering if I read a different book than the rest of the blogosphere because I just didn't get the appeal. Rating: 4/10


Lady Scribbles said...

great honest review. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Tammy said...

Interesting review. I myself am in the middle of The Girl Who Played With Fire and I have The Girl Who Kicked A Hornet's Nest on my shelf to be read next-But like you I have had a really hard time getting inot it. Pople are raving about these books and I'm not getting it! Glad I'm not alone.

Melanie said...

I'm so sad to say that I have to agree. I devoured The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, it took me a day maybe a day and a half to read. The Girl Who Played With Fire has sat untouched for about a week. I want to read it, I want to love it but it's just not happening. I will get to it eventually but only because I loved the first one so much.