Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book 35 - The Girl Who Played With Fire

There's a fight scene in The Girl Who Played With Fire that every writer should read. It's a perfect ballet of action and internal dialogue, creating a wonderful example of the power of sensory detail. Stieg Larsson knew what he was doing.

That scene doesn't happen until almost the last third of the novel, but there's plenty of action to keep you engaged until then. After falling hard for Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I had little doubt I'd love the second in Larsson's trilogy - Salander plays prominently in this plot.

And like the first book, this second novel is as weighty as the first - both with wonderful storytelling and actual text. The Girl Who Played With Fire is just over 700 pages, which is a pretty big time investment.

But so worth it.

From a craft standpoint, there's some things that drive me nuts. Like random points of view (even a short scene in the POV of a FOX) and some author intrusion. But I'm not the only one on the bandwagon that seems to turn a blind eye. The plot is just that compelling. Or maybe it's the characters...

In this book, Salander is implicated in the murder of two journalists the night before their explosive story about sex trafficking in Sweden is slated for publication at Millenium. The evidence is alarming: Salander's fingerprints are found on the weapon. Mikael Blomkvist - whose life Salander saved in the first book - believes her innocent and plunges into his own investigation of the killings. Along the way, we meet some shady people.

I started this book on my way to Nova Scotia and thought for sure I'd finish it on the flight. Sadly, I was forced to put the novel down in favour of some day job work and then was too busy - or tired - to read at all while across the country. Despite the disjointed read, I enjoyed the book very much.

And fell a little more in like with Salander.

Which is why I HAVE to buy the third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, soon. Larsson left me with an annoying cliffhanger. By the same token, I'm hesitant to read it because I know it's the last one the author wrote before he passed away.

With some series, you can get away with reading the second or even third book before the first but I'd advise against that in this case. Larsson does an incredible job of setting up the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael and while it seems natural now, it would come off a fairly confusing without the back story.


  1. I particularly love the "bigness" of Stieg's stories. There are so many levels to these books, so much texture and great character development. I held off reading the final chapters of book #3 as long as I could, knowing they were the last. You still have one great read ahead of you, my friend. :)


  2. Sandy - I love "bigness" - such a wonderful word, and yes, I agree. I remember in writing sessions being told how important it is to think BIG. (My earlier work was too small...) And the character development is astounding. I think I may even dream about Lisbeth :-) Looking forward to the third book. xo

  3. i was here and i read. i will see you when you write your next blog. love your husband.

  4. "The Girl Who Played With Fire is just over 700 words, which is a pretty big time investment". <---did i do the quote tag right? i had no idea how bad i was at it!

    back to your quoted text - i'm pretty sure i could find the time to read 700 words, haha.
    your review has officially but steig larsson's trilogy on my ever growing TBR list!

  5. I know I'm being pig-headed, I just can't bring myself to read this until some of the furor dies down. I'll probably kick myself for it later, though.

  6. mi - nice catch! Whoops. I'll need to fix that. Must be spending too much time trying to nail down my own word count. The trilogy would be an awesome thing to read while on a long on the way to Europe ;-)

    Vicki - nah, no kicking allowed. Read it - but at your own pace. These are BIG books and at times require some concentration. You've got plenty of time.