Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book in a series of three, following The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which Cathy so eloquently reviewed earlier. The Girl who Played with Fire picks up with Salander exploring the world with her ‘earned’ billions and researching complex mathematical equations as a hobby. Stieg jumps into the action, much quicker than in the first book, with Salander observing a man who is violent to his wife in the room next door. This beginning conflict is unrelated to anything else in the book; however, it serves to display that Salander is the ‘woman who hates men who hate women’, a throwback to the original title of the first book.

Shortly after her return to Sweden, Salander finds herself as the main suspect in a triple homicide. Blomkvist steps forward to prove her innocence and pay his debt to her saving his life the previous year. Several other unexpected allies join to clear her name as Salander faces her past to solve the murders.

While the first book seriously lagged for the first 100 pages of the story, ‘Fire’ jumps off with a bang but then crawls to a near stop about two-thirds of the way through. Every part of it is important to the storyline, but at times I found my mind wandering and was forced to read the page over again to stay on track. The last 100 pages picked back up and the ending was exciting, if not a little unrealistic. But I guess that’s why this is fiction.

What I enjoyed most about ‘Fire’ was Salander’s character development. We find out that in addition to having a photographic memory and talent with computers, that she is much more than an awkward, brooding goth girl with a mysterious upbringing. She heavily weighs every decision before carrying out actions. And her actions, although not conformed to public opinion, are strong and morally grounded. I enjoyed this book and gained a great deal of respect for Salander. Not to mention the relief it was to root for a heroine whose only conflict is isn't a choice of two men in her life*.

*My bitterness towards that type of heroine has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with my lack of men. Not one bit. I swear.

Posted by Kil...who is pushing 30, shares a one bedroom apartment with her dog, and divides her time between knitting, running, and being a slut with a heart of gold.

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