The Girl Who Played With Fire (by Stieg Larsson) book review

Posted August 23, finished August 17



Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.


Good, but not for the faint of heart.

Salander was the woman who hated men who hate women.

Much in the vein of the first book, this story did not shy away from brutality when the narrative called for it. This added a certain element to the storytelling, but certain readers will (rightly) be uncomfortable with it.

He felt that he had to find Salander and hold her close . . . She would probably bite him if he tried.

The star of this book is without a doubt Lisbeth Salander. Her past is shrouded in secrecy; her present in mystery. Hers is a tale of suffering at the hands of the authority which should have had her best interests in mind. She also suffers from the consequences of the same terrible misogyny that many of the male characters in this book adhere to. Lisbeth is definitely strong, but that strength came at a price.

But she wished she had had the guts to go up to him and say hello. Or possibly break his legs, she wasn’t sure which.

One of my only criticisms was with the pacing of the novel. The first half seemed to drag, with too much characterization and not enough plot. The second half, by contrast, was perfectly paced, so that I could not put it down. No spoilers, but be prepared for a GIGANTIC cliffhanger.

I believe that everyone has it in them to kill another person. In desperation, or hatred, or at least to defend themselves.

The only reason I rated this book 4 stars as compared to the first book’s 5 stars is the element of surprise. I didn’t expect much from the first book, and it far exceeded my expectations. I expected a good amount from this second book, and it met my expectations but didn’t blow them out of the water.

She cursed her gender. Nobody would have dared attack her if she had been a man.
I do love how Larsson casually addresses the inequalities that still exist between women and men today.

Still very much recommended.

4/5 stars


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