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VINE VOICEon June 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"The Girl Who Played with Fire" is a gripping novel from Sweden featuring Lisabeth Salander, a Lara Croft type heroine, and Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist who uncovers the worst depravity in the upper echelons of Swedish society.

There is nothing cartoonish about Lisabeth. She has real depth and is complex, with her many layers gradually unpeeling like an onion the more we get to see of her. She has grown up since the first book, "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and while bitter about the end of her affair with Blomkvist, they still have great chemistry as a team.

The death of her detested guardian and a trail that leads to a sex trafficking ring make the narrative exciting, with a clear direction, and the author masterfully weaves the different layers of the plot altogether into an almost seamless whole.

Salander becomes the Salamander in both books, tranforming herself as she need to in order to save herself, and come to terms with her past. Blomkvist's faith in her innocence even with everything points to her is touching, and though she is unwilling to trust anyone, their love, as it were, stands the test of time.

I am trying to avoid writing spoilers here, so I don't ruin this really fun and fast paced book for you, so let's just say that the author weaves a satisfying web which does not let go. This is a perfect book to take to the beach this summer or while a way a rainy weekend getting lost in all the twists and turns of this clever book.
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on September 10, 2010
This is a sequel to Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and it grabs the reader from the very first page. It ties up many of the unanswered questions that arose in 'Tattoo' and further enhanced Salander's character. Well written and produces a thought provoking experience that will be hard to replicate.
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on October 19, 2010
All 3 books in this series are a must read!!! As soon as you finish this one you will want to have the next one handy to start immediately. The Lisbeth Salander character is very intriguing. Conspiracies, sex, murder, personal growth, non-conformist relationships, multifaceted plots, what more would one want?
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on September 20, 2010
I loved the trilogy. I picked 'The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo on a whim while on a trip and couldn't stop until I read the full series.

good suspense, like the characters and surprises.

you will have to start with the first book (the girl with the dragon tattoo) not a series you could jump in the middle
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VINE VOICEon October 24, 2010
Great follow-up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It isn't as graphic as the first book (except for the very end), but the writing is just as good. I liked that the characters evolved (these aren't static things that are unchanged from the first page of the first book). The ending is quite a cliff hanger.
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on September 9, 2010
This book starts where the other book "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo"
left off. Old and new enemies start to attack Lisbeth and we find out
more what is behind her solitary exterior. Excellent follow-up to the first book and the ending just makes one want to read the next book to find out about Lisbeth.
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on September 6, 2010
I liked this book better than Stieg Larson's first. It is even more unbeleivable but at the same time we beleive. THe characters and place and street names number in the hundreds, it seems, but once you get over trying to remember them all you can relax and enjoy Lisbeth's fantastic adventures.
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on May 18, 2010
So few mysteries that are truly DIFFERENT with fresh characters, unique plots and strong different women. This series is terrific. Perhaps the most unusual mystery, love story I have read in years, and yet manages to have "social issues" as well. One of the few books that I was sad to see end.
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on February 5, 2011
Playing with fire:

In this brief review I try not to get too involved in plot details and summary, leaving it up to the reader to find them out him/herself. Let's just say that the men who hate women also hate Salander and they really pay for their indiscretions in this book. There are still some loose ends but I'm hoping Larsson ties them up in the third book.

The second Larsson book is just as brilliant as the first one, even more so for several reasons. In the first book we met a quirky but bright girl named Salander. Then we meet a journalist bulldog named Blomkvist.

In the second book the author ties up loose ends from the first book, creates more loose ends which (hopefully) will be tied up in the third. In the middle we have some intense actions and interesting detective work.

Larsson really loves criticizing authority in this novel. The police detectives, themselves competent, have to deal with leaks and criminal mischief in their own ranks. The two who leak info to the press have their own grudges against Salander.

The build-up of suspense is quite slow: We learn of Salander's adventures in the Caribbean, her return to Sweden to look up some old friends, checks up on the rapist pig that is Bjurman, who himself is trying to hire a hit-man to rub out Salandar (thanks to a damning video explained in the first book) and suddenly finds herself an interested party in a triple murder!

Larsson's themes of corrupt journalism, lack of privacy of the individual citizen, the rampant disregard for patients from the psychiatric profession is real, is fascinating and is clearly taken from Larrson's own experiences.

The ending of the novel wraps some things up, but Blomkvist still needs to put up with some pretty blatant stupidity on the part of the police force (there's a sneak peek at the end of the book for "Kicked the Hornet's Nest.").

Salander is kicked, punched, shot at and left for dead and yet still manages to be a prime character in this exciting, at times plodding, yet fascinating thriller of a book.

A must-read!

Other Larsson Books!

Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Deluxe Boxed Set: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Plus On Stieg Larsson
The Man Who Left Too Soon: The Biography of Stieg Larsson
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on January 18, 2011
I needed this book; I and my stressful life reveled in its 720 pages of sharp, fast-paced, masterfully-crafted distraction. I might even go so far as to say that this book was better than the first story in the trilogy. RARE! It hooked me, and I read it in about a day and a half.

But in spite of the book's strengths (which are considerable), I have a few criticisms. Here they are:

1) The book started to cross the border into comic book territory, superhero stuff, and that risks turning me off: Salander is the MOST brilliant, Blomqvist the MOST tenacious, the blond giant the BIGGEST and STRONGEST and MOST impervious, Zala the MOST mysterious. The book would have been better served if these elements were toned down a bit.

2) Dovetailing with the previous, I found it ludicrous when the blond hulk only shrugged curiously after being tased. I could be wrong here, though: perhaps the author is correct in his assessment of the taser's lack of effect in this unusual case. But he didn't convince me.

3) Near the end the plot started overlapping a bit too much with Star Wars for my comfort. I will hush now, however, to avoid leaking plot details.

4) The only thing that made me seriously consider ditching the book was when Salander, age 25 or 26, started having sex with a 16-year-old male child. To me that is sexual abuse of a child. I felt differently about her after reading that. Supposedly she's on a mission to root out (and destroy) people who sexually abuse children, yet she goes and does it herself. Hypocritical. And clueless author.

5) At a certain point in the novel I started finding myself repulsed by Salander, and not just because of my previous criticism. She started bordering on the disgusting, and lost the gentle, sympathetic edge she earned in the first book. I guess there's only so much asocial, isolative, secretive, non-trusting, perverted, bitter, calculating, miserable, boundariless coldness I can take in a protagonist.

All that said, however, I still plan to read the third book as soon as I get my hands on it. The plot has me hooked, and I'm hoping Salander will redeem herself as a human being.
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