#216 ~ The Girl Who Played with Fire

Cover of The Girl Who Played with Fire

The  Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

When we last left Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, one of my favorite novels of 2009, they were on the outs.  When The Girl Who Played with Fire, Mikael didn’t understand why and Lisbeth has been spending time out of Sweden, especially in the Carribean.  Although they continue to think of each other, they both move on with their lives.  Mikael is involved in a large project at Millenium, which is focused on shedding life on the ugly underground world of sex trafficking.  Lisbeth, finally back in Sweden, has decided to get used to the money at her dispense.  She’s bought a beautiful condo and, after rekindling her mainly sexual relationship with Miriam Wu, she lets her stay in her old flat so that she can continue to receive mail at her old address.  It isn’t long, however, before circumstances surrounding the brutal murders of Nils Bjurman, Salandar’s corrupt legal guardian, and two of the people working with Blomkvist on the trafficking story make it impossible for the two to avoid each other.

This novel picks up the intensity of the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and never lets it go.  Lisbeth is an immediate target and is branded as a “psychotic lesbian SM satanist.”  Safe for a while in her new posh condo, she is forced out of hiding and into action when Miriam, living in her old apartment, is caught in the crossfire.  All of Sweden believes that Lisbeth is a serial killer except Mikael.  Given Lisbeth’s path and “all the evil” she has experienced, the reader is also kept guessing about so much.  It was another excellent novel to listen to on audio for all of these reasons.  Simon Vance is once against a consummate narrator, making the murders, the chase, and Lisbeth’s past come to life.

I loved this novel.  Lisbeth, breast implants and all, is such a complex and strong character.  She deals with hardship as it comes along and refuses to be mastered by it.  I love how her abusive childhood and all it entailed was translated from the Swedish to “all the evil.”  Such a simple phrase, but it conveys her situation to perfection.  With this second installment, I continue to be as entranced by Stieg Larsson’s Milleium trilogy.  I cannot wait until Reg Keeland’s English translation of the last book in the series is available in the United States next year.  The only thing stopping me from buying a copy of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest from overseas is the fact that I want to finish the series with Simon Vance.  This is a series I know I will revisit over the years, wondering what would have happened to Lisbeth and Mikael had Stieg Larsson lived long enough to finish this project, which was meant to continue on past the first three novels.

Other Voices:

Redlady’s Reading Room
S. Krishna’s Books
Crime Scraps
Reactions to Reading
Bailey’s and Books
Confessions of a Bibliophile ~ I had a great time talking to you about these books at lunch!


With this review, I’ve finally posted about all of the books I read to complete my first R.I.P. challenge.  Thanks so much for the hosting this really fun challenge, Carl!



I purchased the audio version of this book using my monthly credit from Audiobooks.

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  • At 2009.12.05 20:18, Kathy R (Bermudaonion) said:

    I feel so behind – I haven’t even read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yet. It’s good to know the series continues to be good, though.

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    • At 2009.12.05 23:48, Rhapsodyinbooks said:

      I forgot about the breast implants – LOL!

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      • At 2009.12.06 00:55, Sandy said:

        I am on the infernal waiting list for this audio at my library, and I cannot wait. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was by far the best crime novel of 2009, made into a masterpiece with Vance’s narration. Lisbeth is such an enigmatic character, with her keen intellect, bi-sexual tendencies and baggage from the past. I can’t remember any character that did a better job at capturing my heart and mind. I had to giggle at “all the evil”. That phrase says it all!!!!!

        • At 2009.12.06 02:39, Veens said:

          I am so glad you enjoyed it. This one was my fav read of 2009 as well. I am actually waiting fr the 3rd installment to come in paperback 🙂
          I really like the way you talk about Lisbeth, I agree with it too.

          Great review as always!

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          • At 2009.12.06 12:19, softdrink said:

            I’m reading this right now. Well, not this very second, but you know what I mean. 😀

            Lisbeth has just returned from Granada, so it’s still early in the book.

            • At 2009.12.06 22:53, Ti said:

              I did not like this one as much as the first. The 3rd one is available from The Book Depository but I haven’t gotten it yet.

              I think my problem with this one is that Lisbeth wasn’t in a big chunk of it. When she came back into the story it picked up again.

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              • At 2009.12.07 12:21, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                Like Kathy I still haven’t started this series. I actually have a copy of the first book (courtesy of BookMooch, I think), but after you raved about the narrator so much, I may explore these in audio.

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                • At 2009.12.07 17:44, carol said:

                  This one was sitting on my shelf, screaming for me to read it, but it got put away when Christmas decorations came out. So, I guess I’ll have to wait til January.

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                  • At 2009.12.07 20:01, Lisa said:

                    I just recently picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I am readdy looking forward to it – now I’ve got another to look for! Thanks for the review.

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                    • At 2009.12.08 11:44, Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said:

                      I still haven’t read either of these books, but I think my subconscious is making me wait until I have the 3rd book in the series before I read them

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                      • At 2009.12.08 12:13, S. Krishna said:

                        I cannot WAIT for the last book in the series – but I’m so sad it’s the last book!

                        • […] The Girl who Played with Fire […]

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