The Girl Who Played with Fire Download by Stieg Larsson
Click Here to Download the Book 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 wellknown 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.
Reviews The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second installment in what was supposed to be a 12 book series but ultimately only is going to be three since the author passed away while writing them. As with the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I devoured this one and had a hard time putting it down in order to do important things like pick up my child from daycare. Whereas the first installment took a good 40-50 pages to get into, this one started off with a bang, although it still took a decent portion for the drama to start happening. This book focuses more on Lisbeth Salander who we knew from the first book had a mysterious past that caused her to distrust most people. This book takes off a year after the mystery in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ends and Lisbeth Salander has spent most of the time away from Sweden and out of contact with any of her friends. Back in Sweden, as the synopsis says, Mikael Blomkvist 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. When the two researchers of the piece are murdered, a gun with Salander's fingerprints is found at the scene and she is immediately a suspect. With her history of violence and a stint in a child psychiatric unit, the police believe she is guilty and don't search for other suspects. Blomkvist can't imagine that Salander has committed the crime and leads his own private investigation. This is a fast paced engaging read. Larsson spins numerous stories into one strong piece. He takes strong social commentary and weaves it into his stories. His main point of view is that he hates men who hate women and that is the basis for the character of Lisbeth Salander as well as a big part of the plots of both books. The end of this book left me longing to pick up the next one. Too bad I'm going to have to wait until March to do that.
In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander electrified the story, even though she had a relatively small part in the plot; here, in the second novel of the series, she is given center stage to Blomkvist's
secondary role, making The Girl Who Played With Fire much tauter, more exciting than the first book. Larsson begins to expose what makes Salander tick, and the result gives her character an interesting vulnerability, one that makes her more human and less crazy. But let's get one thing straight; even with the more humanizing portrait, you would not want to corner Salander in a dark alley. Nor do you want to give her access to your computer. She is every bit as gritty and clever as she was in the first, and her stark determination to live by her own moral code drives the plot. When a journalist working for Blomkvist and Berger and his PhD candidate girlfriend are murdered, it's bad enough, but when those murders are linked to that of Salander's sadomasochistic guardian, Salander becomes the only suspect. On the lam, she seems to make no attempt to clear her name and instead gets in deeper. Throw in a "blond giant" (similar in many ways to the albino monk of The DaVinci Code), the seedy underpinnings of the sex trade, and returning characters, and you've got a suspenseful, likable, satisfying thriller. As a pure thriller, The Girl Who Played With Fire is stronger than its predecessor because it has fewer meandering subplots, more unrelenting suspense, and more deftly drawn characters, even if Larsson occasionally resorts to types. The author seems to have found his narrative stride with this. If you liked the first, you'll love the second. I just hope Larssen's third manuscript was polished enough before he passed away to build on his already finely-tuned skills as a novelist.
Dragon Tattoo was a somewhat claustrophobic and tight book about a complex mystery spanning generations. Played with Fire instead puts the well-detailed characters of the previous book front and center and weaves its mysteries around them more directly. I was extremely impressed with the characters, especially as revelations cast new light on their behavior back through the first novel. I also thought the mystery was well-plotted, with its revelations still ... revelatory. However, I was the most impressed by Larsson's ability to surprise me. Several of the plot twists were shocking, as was his decision to take one of the main characters off-screen for something like 200 pages. One of the revelations near the end (the big one) actually made me gasp. I love it when an author is actually able to surprise me, but in a fair way. I'm rarely willing to put in the effort for a book of Played with Fire's length (723 pages in our paperback edition), but here it was entirely worthwhile. It's likely the best book I've read this year, and also one that kept me totally enthralled, though a little less right at the end (when mystery turned to action). Overall the ending was the one thing that I wasn't entirely happy with. It concluded many major points (and shocked me again), but left a lot up the air, with the next book picking up just hours later as a result. I would have preferred a better conclusion, as with Dragon Tattoo.
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