Monday, February 6, 2012

The Girl who Played with Fire

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.

Larsson's second installment in this thriller of a trilogy does not disappoint. Where the first one drags at first, this one takes off running. We find Lisbeth Salander a little more matured and thus her character becomes even more complex and compelling. I found that I was more and more infatuated with her because she had so many layers. Is she psycho? I don't think so, but others would disagree. 

The writing style is a little hard to take because it's abrupt and blunt. Larsson does not pretty it up for anything. It is what it is. While this may not be my favorite (it's probably why I don't give it a perfect score) it actually lends itself to the story. His rigid words are like the spiky exterior of his brooding heroine who, at first, is unapproachable, but as you get used to it and understand it more you realize you have a soft spot for it. Lisbeth Salander will forever go down as an icon in literature because Stieg Larsson managed to create a character so utterly human and beautiful. People may try to copy it (I've already seen some books that have outright tried to compete with this trilogy), but whether or not they will ever be able to attain it is a whole other slice of pie. 

I still have issues with Blomkvist. He's not my favorite character. He's brooding (not in a good way), self-centered, and slow. Not sure if Larsson did this on purpose to create a contrasting character to Salander, but I guess it works. It takes him the whole book to realize the connection between Salander and Zala. I wish this revelation had come sooner and then there would be a more gripping ending to the story. 

Speaking of the ending...It just ends! Good thing there's another installment or I would kill Stieg Larsson (if he weren't deceased already...which he is...). I'm going to take a little break from Larsson because his stuff is a little too heavy to just plow right on through, but I do plan on picking up The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I have no idea what to expect. This one I had watched the Swedish movie and knew the basic plot. The final installment I've tried to keep a secret so that I can be surprised. 

I am fascinated by the love-hate relationship between Salander and Blomkvist. I don't think they're a perfect match, but it is cool to watch it expand. Salander, the girl who is afraid to let anyone inside, openly admits she loved/loves Blomkvist. I am hoping this develops more in the final book. 

As for the lesbianic relationship between Lisbeth and Miriam Wu...I think it works. It is very telling of Lisbeth's character because she has been abused by men so much in her life, it would make sense that she would turn to the arms of another woman for sexual release. However, she is not completely lesbian which makes her even more interesting. I think the thing that draws me to Lisbeth is that all she wants is to be loved. Her whole life she got treated like a freak, disdained by her father, ruled incompetent by her country, and raped by a man who was supposed to be her caretaker. It's no wonder she's a little crazy. I would be too. 

I would highly recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a good international thriller. They are not light reads by any stretch of the imagination. It took me a month to finish this one which is forever long for me. The graphic scenes in the first one are worse than anything I saw in this book, but it still is not for the faint of heart. What are you waiting for? Go pick up a copy and read it!

P.S. If you have not seen the new movie of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, you must go see it! Must!

1 comment:

  1. I think you'll enjoy the third book. Can't wait to hear what you think about it. Started "The Night Circus," a couple nights ago. Not sure what I think quite yet. I did finally finish the Rose series by Jennifer Donnely. Any new book suggestions?