Customer Reviews: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Series)
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Showing 1-10 of 97 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on May 11, 2012
I couldn't get past 12% on my Kindle.

I usually read mostly fantasy (which means I am used to descriptions and lengthy reading), but I enjoyed the movie from the first book and decided to try this one as a book. And what happened during those 12%? Laundry-list type descriptions, about the Powerbook, about the zip file she downloads for 370kb or 390kb, the useless description of what she buys at the grocery store, the trip to Ikea with the name of every item she buys, etc. etc. Mostly page after page of filler rather than an actual story. I put the book down, annoyed by the Ikea description, then picked it back up the next evening, read a few lines and decided I'd rather sleep than continue reading the Ikea catalog.

This was terribly in need of some serious editing and cutting, and it seems to be a lot better suited to a movie, where some of those details can be put in casually without boring the reader page after page. It just feels like complete amateur writing to me.

Just cannot read this, a waste of $10.
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on June 9, 2011
The first book of this series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was very well written and had an amazing plot. Its sequel was the complete opposite.

First and foremost, the heroine Salander is only 4'11" yet manages to beat up bikers and even dig herself out of a grave AFTER BEING SHOT 3 TIMES!! If the author were to watch the video of the attempted assassination of Reagan, he would see multiple grown men incapicated by one or two .22 shots to the torso. There is no way that this little girl could have dug herself out of a grave with three bullet wounds. While her fighting expertise could be explained by years in a martial arts facility, it can't really be explained by working out in a gym once when she was a teenager. This alone makes this book, which is written fairly normally, seem like a fantasy novel. Also, the author stacked way too many attributes on Salazar. She is an expert in combat, yet gets raped by her guardian. She somehow has the no how to steal billions from a corrupt billionaire? Has the author ever tried to use a bank, with sums of money as large as those alleged in the book? You would have to show ID.

Secondly, the writing is very, very poor. Everything is explained ad nauseum. The laptop has a 17-inch screen, 2.2 GHZ processor, 200 GB hard drive and 1.00 mb of ram. Wow, and the coffee, they have to drink coffee all the time. Jesus, did I read the same book as everyone else.
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on March 1, 2011
The second book is even worse than the first one. I thought the first book was okay, but predictable and seriously overrated, with shallow, unbelievable characterizations. The second book is a ridiculous, slow-moving, cliché-ridden pile of dung. If you weren't that impressed with the first one and you value your reading time, I would not bother with the second one at all unless you are trying to punish yourself for some grievous wrongdoing. This book isn't just bad, it's putrid.

One apparently intoxicated British reviewer described Larsson's writing as "galloping prose." Galloping prose, huh? Within 20 pages of the end of the book and the supposed dénouement of the thoroughly ludicrous "plot," here is a sample of Larsson's thrilling writing (from the British edition): "When he got to the car there was no map in the glove compartment. He bought one in a petrol station, and a torch, and a bottle of mineral water, and a take-away coffee, and he put the paper cup in the holder on the dashboard." Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Add to that endless descriptions of the now invincible genius Salander sitting (on her Ikea furniture) and thinking while she smokes cigarettes after eating something called Billy's Pan Pizza, more descriptions of Blomkvist eating sandwiches, and Salander calling everyone a pig and a bastard, plus a cast of other thoroughly forgettable goodies and baddies having the same conversations about the same topics, and you are in the for the bore fest of a lifetime. If bad writing and boredom are your things, go for it.
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on September 19, 2010
Although this one had the potential to be a really good novel, I spent too much time skipping through unnecessary details to find it enjoyable. The book really should have been about 1/3 of it's current size. As others have mentioned (but still worth repeating), this novel is in serious need of a good editor. Too many long-winded descriptions, unbelieveable characters with superhuman abilities and numerous implausible coincidences all contributed to my extreme dislike of this piece of work. I'll pass on book 3.
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on April 20, 2010
If you like coffee, BUY THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY!!!!! If you were disappointed with how very little coffee drinking there was in Dragon Tattoo, you will NOT be disappointed here!!!!!! This action-and-coffee-packed sequel to The Girl With THe Dragon Tattoo has 30% more coffee!!!!!! How does our protagonist, Mikael, manage to get through the day? Pour another cup of coffee!!!!! What does he do to come up with the best possible theory? Drink some coffee!!!!!

HEre's what some coffee companies/drinkers think of this book!!!!

"This book promotes our product very well"
-Swedish Coffee magazine

"Mikael's constant addiction to drinking coffee makes us happy"

"I can totally relate to Mikael Blomqvist, I need coffee to get through the day as well"
-Coffee addict

"Going to Starbucks? Take this book with you!"
-Coffee addict

"I like this book, there's lots of cups of coffee"
-An underage coffee addict

So overall, if you like mystery novels but prefer constant coffee drinking as opposed to actual character development, plot, or action, then buy this book, you will NOT regret it! This book will bring out the coffee addict in you! So make a pot of coffee and begin reading this book NOW!!!!!
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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2010
In the sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", Steig Larsson pulls out all the stops. He employs every trite and sensational ploy in the dime novelist's bag. This is a great novel to read whilst awaiting a tardy airplane flight, but is otherwise literary trash material.

First, let's examine Larsson's heroine, Lisbeth Salander. She is a genius computer hacker (self-trained, of course). She is an expert in financial chicanery (able to successfully pilfer vast sums of cash by computer transfer and set up hidden, overseas accounts). She is a master of derring-do (she fearlessly and violently confronts any perceived attacker or threat). She maintains her composure and "screw you" attitude in situations of extreme stress (she expertly disables two "one percenter" bikers). She has trademark idiosyncracies (de rigueur lesbian/bisexuality, punk affectations). She also seems to be a weapons expert, carefully noting that her purloined Polish Wanad is correctly loaded with 9mm Makarov ammo. To top all that off, she is a sophisticated, first-rank, mathematician (apparently devising a novel and non-computer-based solution to Fermat's "Last Theorem" whilst simultaneously executing an attack on her vile opponents). She's a boxer ("Floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee", yes she does!). Well, Lisbeth is just Wonder Woman in a fresh new guise!

Next, her current major adversary, the nefarious Alexander Zalachenko. This dastardly villain is a political defector from the former USSR and, to top that off, was a high-ranking officer in Military Intelligence. He even (gasp!) killed people in the course of his GRU career. The Swedish Security Police (another convenient foil) chose for realpolitik reasons, to provide Zala with a cover identity and extricate him from the "awkward" situations he sometimes created for himself. One of these involved Salander; hence his appearance in this tale. He is Evil Personified, especially as he is an Exploiter of Women (!!). This alone is capable of arousing the vigilante justice streak in Salander's personality (Charles Bronson revenge movie debt here?). He seems to resemble the Mister Big character from Rocky and Bullwinkle: a dastardly devil guiding Boris and Natasha but rarely seen.

Third, the Villain's Muscle: "The Blond Giant, BG" (real name revealed later on in the book) is a shameless reprise of Rocky Balboa's nemisis, Ivan Drago...right out of central casting. Larsson owes an acknowledgement to Dolph Lundgren, whose measurements (Lundgren stood at 196 centimetres and weighed 111.5 kilograms) he picked right off Dolph's CV. Of course, BG has a congenital insensitivity to pain which enables him to withstand a full-on Taser blast (which incapacitates due to neuromuscular paralysis, not pain, a fact evidently unknown to the otherwise weapons-scrupulous Larsson).

Finally, the supporting characters. Many of these were imported stock items from the first installment in the series. Larsson devotes many words to explaining their reprise in the course of the novel. Larsson himself appears in a semi-biographical role as Kalle Blomkvist, a journalist with NPR sensitivities in both real-life and in the book. Naturally, the entire book is primed for...a sequel!!

The plot itself has some clever contrivances. The book reads swiftly, as there are few (well, none) lapidary sentences to linger over. On a gradient of "good bad books", this one ranks relatively high on the scale for plot and near the bottom for reliance on pandering to current reading tastes. The characterizations are simply pathetic.

To sum up, this book, just like its predecessor, make for great airport reading or filling time on a boring evening. They will not, however, enter the detective fiction pantheon as exemplars of the genre. Oh, one more thing: if you like product placement, you'll just love this book!
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on January 26, 2010
I thought this book was a disaster; I plowed my way through the half of it and was bored out of my mind. The writing is so tedious and full of irrelevant details that at some point one stops caring to find out "whodunit". The author has just stopped short of describing how many times the heroes go on the toilet ; everything else (including long shopping lists and the explanations of whether the payment at the grocery store was done by cash or a credit card) is there. I was surprised to learn that the author was an editor; this book would certainly benefit from major editorial cuts, I would say by about 50%. There is no dynamism in the plot despite rivers of blood, violence and multiple murders; the whole thing is dragging along as a half-dead slug. The characters are quite flat and do not sound true; even though the heroine is supposed to have a very unusual and unique personality, her character and her originality are those of a Martian - utterly unbelievable. I consider time spent on this book a complete waste. This is one of those cases where saving a tree would definitely have been a greater contribution to the humankind.
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on June 16, 2010
I cannot believe an editor would permit this book to be published. At least 300 pages from the middle of the book could have been capsulized in a couple of paragraphs at most. How many times can we read the same information being discussed by a different set of characters or even the same characters. I cannot imagine why this book is so beloved by so many. I think a good book could be written with the storyline that all who have read this book have gone into a coma by page 400. Now someone use that as a plot line and write an exciting thriller.
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on October 9, 2010
I like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo very much but was very disappointed in this book and finally put it down 2/3rd of the way through.

** Minor Spoilers **

Things that caused this novel to run off the rails for me:

1. The critical problem was that the main protaganists became less sympathetic making me less forgiving of the other flaws in the book. Lisbeth becomes a super hero with vastly increased strengths (world-class hacker, excellent mathematician, chess-player, and linguist, scrappy fighter, and now fabulously wealthy) but lessened weaknesses. People refer to her as having Asperger's but she seems to have no problems socializing when she wants to deceive (i.e. multiple expert disguises/personas to embezzle huge sums of money) and interpreting people's emotions and their plans. Even the fact she breaks into the computer of everyone she knows/invades their privacy seems to be overlook and written off and a personality quirck. Mikael's habitual womanizing with few negative consequences (still friends with most of his lovers) run thins also.

2. Never misses an opportunity to hit you over the head about social injustice--granted everyone condemns social injustice but I am reading a thriller not a paper from Amnesty International.

3. Too much detail--endless descriptions of mundance things that have no bearing on the plot (i.e. do I really need to know the name of all the IKEA furniture she bought).

4. Cardboard supporting cast--either honest and kind hearted or nasty and evil with no middle ground.

5. I was interested in the developing relationship between the two main charcaters in the first book and now there is almost no interaction between them.

Wanted to like it but could not even finish it.
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on February 20, 2012
There is absolutely no need for another "review" of this book. As of this writing 1,480 of you have already written one and this will be number 1481.

Why? Well, call it what you will, but having just seen the American film version of "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", I was reminded of the fact that I had read this book (Fire) when it was published three years ago and never really "got " it. So after seeing the movie I picked the book up again and read it again to see whether I could make any more literary sense of it now than when I read it then..

Having done so, and having given it the benefit of the doubt, the verdict is still about the same. There are too many moving parts. The book may be a part of a literary phenomenon but it is still literary trash, stuff for the pulps. Not only is the action hard to follow it's fiction right out of Adventure Magazine.

Readers of Dragon Tattoo will remember how that story ended: Blomkvist had been empowered by Henrik Vanger with the information to "take down" the financier Wennerstrom. He had done just that and gained fame by publishing his book on the Wennerstron financial scandal. At the same time Lisbeth Salander had on her own and independently "taken down" Wennerstrom's financial empire to the tune of three billion kroner, all of which she then deposited safely in her own Swiss Bank accounts and disappeared.

And now as The Girl Who Played With Fire begins, it is year later. Salander has dropped out of sight - intentionally - and she is sitting on the beach in Granada reading Dimensions In Mathematics by Dr. L.C.Parnault (Harvard University Press 1999) - There is no such book - She still has the body of a 12 year old plus the Dragon Tattoo, but she has cleaned up her act. Most of her Goth-like appearance - piercings, tattoos etc. - has been removed and a Swiss plastic surgeon has given her bra-deserving breasts. Yet she is still the same Slander with an uncompromising black or white view of the world. Things are either right or wrong, never in between Her unique talents are unimpaired - a photographic memory, exceptional hacker skills, her temper, her cobra like quickness to attack, defend or escape and all her enviable martial arts. Her qualities of love, sensitivity, tenderness and humanity still exist but also lie still mummified within her. Her tragedy is that she cannot really love nor express much love - if any.

There is a hurricane which pretty well destroys the hotel where she has been staying for weeks; so, using the disguise under which she has been traveling (Irene Nasser from Norway), she returns to Stockholm, purchases a luxurious apartment and starts to contemplate her future. But it turns out there's little time for that. Her fingerprints are found on a gun used to murder three people - Nils Bjurman, Salander's old guardian and deadly enemy, and two nice young researchers who were preparing an expose for Millennium on the crimes of human trafficking in young girls from the Baltic States and Russia. Immediately she becomes a most wanted woman. She goes to ground. And the action starts.

Three investigations start independently and for different reasons. The first, obviously, is the official Police Investigation. Then there is the Armansky investigation commenced by her old employer Dragan Armanski of Milton Security and who has the feeling that she has been set up. And finally there is the Blomqvist/Millenium investigation carried out by Blomqvist and employees of Millenium - which needs a bit of background. (Having discovered that Salander is back Blomqvist has tried unsuccessfully to get in touch. She has resisted. But he still cares very much for her and wants to help her out of her problem if he can. The, too, the two young people who were killed were in essence working in tandem with the Millenium staff and hence both Blomqvist and Millenium have a substantial interest in justice being observed; and they enter into the investigation with purpose - Blomqvist himself far ahead of the pack.)

It would have ben best for the author to have stopped here and proceeded with a straight out whodunit, because if there are three investigations running contemporaneously and if there are related events happening in each it is difficult for any author to introduce them serially - which he has to do because he's writing in the narrative. The reader has to jump from the events in one investigation to another and remember what was in the first and how it was or is related to the second etc. But that doesn't happen.

Then, on top of this problem of narrative, Larssen introduces a new stand-alone story - Salander's life as a juvenile in Sweden's juvenile justice system plus her experiences as the object of a trumped up finding that she is a danger to herself and others which has led to a year in restraints in a psychiatric "care" center at the instance of crooked psychiatrists with a real reason to lie.

There is a third story interwoven here too - about Salander's real father, his background as a Soviet agent and the concealment of his identity by the highest echelons of Swedish security officialdom, all of which leads to chain saw violence, biker violence, plain physical violence, torture and arson - to name just a few of the complications

Complicating things even further is the fact that Larsson wrote in Swedish in Sweden for Swedish readers. All of his characters have Swedish surnames, a fact which poses no problem for his Swedish audience, but they read so similarly in English it's hard for an English reader to keep their identities separate.

Anther problem; He wrote in Stockholm about characters in Stockholm and about places in Stockholm or nearby: the locale is Stockholm and environs. If you are Swedish you will be able to follow the action geographically, but if you're not you get lost. (Even with the aid of a good Atlas and constant resort to my Google Earth app I couldn't follow the action geographically.)

Bottom line. There are too many moving parts. Larsson has tried to tell too many stories in one book and the reader is left baffled and unrequited. It could have been a better book. It's still out of Adventure Magazine whose editors would have cleaned it up and selected one good narrative out of all the material crammed between these 501 pages. Too bad.
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