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Customer Review

90 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than "Dragon Tattoo," a high-voltage sequel, April 6, 2009
This review is from: The Girl Who Played With Fire (Paperback)
This is the second in the late Steig Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy. I was so hooked by the first in the series, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," that I decided to send away to for this sequel, because I was not willing to wait until July for the U.S. release of an English-language version. These days, the pound has been kicked around as badly as the dollar, so I ended up paying largely what I'd pay in the U.S., and the shipping fee was minimal.
I really couldn't wait to crack the 700-page volume to revisit the characters: Mikael Blomqvist, the heroic investigative journalist; Lisbeth Salander, a petite powerhouse afflicted (or gifted) with Asperger's syndrome; Erika Berger, the fearless editor and Blomqvist's sometime bedmate; and the intrepid staff of the magazine, "Millennium." Whereas "Dragon Tattoo" was largely about Blomqvist and his search for a presumed-dead heiress, this sequel focuses squarely on Salander and her difficult adjustment with society. At the end of the first book, she abruptly walks away from the faithless lover Blomqvist. She continues her aversion in "The Girl Who Played with Fire," ignoring him, hanging up on his cell phone calls, tossing out letters, and otherwise pretending he doesn't exist. He's broken her heart and Lisbeth Salander is not one to forgive.
However, she soon learns she needs friends--plenty of them--as an ever-tightening noose of danger tightens around her, made up of her evil legal guardian Nils Bjurman, a cadre of nasty social-service doctors and psychiatrists, some rogue cops, members of a Hells-Angels-like motorcycle gang, and a shadowy figure known only as Zala. When one of Blomqvist's best reporters and his wife, are gunned down, police find Salander's fingerprints on the gun and the hunt is on--with the entire police force, plus the host of the other bad guys after her.
Larsson keeps the pace breathless throughout the story, which hinges on a seamy sex trafficking trade. Even when he stops to explain what is at stake and how "Millennium" will cover the story, he never slows the movement. You'd think that in a novel of this length there would be myriad subplots, but there really aren't too many threads to follow. Salander's sad past is deconstructed chapter by chapter, and Blomqvist gets to the bottom of police malfeasance and international espionage. But nothing takes the focus off the chase that Salander eludes so brilliantly.
I'm sure there are things that a savvy editor could do to tighten Larsson's prose. He adds a love affair too many and drags out the tense ending to a breaking point. Also, it may not seem odd to Swedes, but Larsson's habit of using the last name for every character becomes extremely confusing, because everyone is an Andersson or an Ericsson or a Nilsson. The sameness becomes mind-boggling. It's impossible to even know the gender of the character.
I know about this problem personally, for my own grandfather changed his last name because there were too many Nilssons in the army. He chose a name that was a little more distinctive. Larsson could have learned a lesson there. Using a few first names now and then also would solve the problem nicely.
But these are nitpicks. I'll be waiting for any news that an English version of the final version of the "Millennium" trilogy is available. These books are just that good.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 13, 2009 9:07:41 AM PST
Oh Nilsson Smilsson (couldn't resist). But I agree. I often had to go back and see who this ...sson was and how he/she got to the page I was on.

Posted on May 1, 2010 7:25:00 AM PDT
An informative and helpful review indeed! Thanks for sharing your views.

Posted on Jul 16, 2010 12:49:31 PM PDT
Peragulator says:
My wife purchased this book for me recently and "like a bat out of hell" I thought I would take to this book "like a fish out of water". "Faster than you can spell your name" I found it to be one of the worst books I've ever read. Cliche ridden drivel. What is with the endless IKEA shopping details? 3500 sq ft apartment that has 32 rooms and she only uses 3?! Why is this in the book? Certainly people can enjoy a story and have a difference of opinion, but in no way shape or form is this a 5 star tale.
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