“Despite her years of striving for anonymity, she had been transformed overnight into one of the most notorious and talked about individuals in Sweden” – Stieg Larsson in “The Girl Who Played With Fire”
From Krista’s Perspective:
I was relieved to find that all of the financial jargon had been left out of this second installment in the series which made it a much more enjoyable read for me. Larsson tackling the very real issue of human trafficking and the revolting sex trade which dominates societies all over the world was done as tastefully as possible when it comes to such a sensitive issue. Larsson is an extremely detail-oriented author but I believe this is done so that you become so fully immersed in the character you absolutely must keep turning the pages in order to find out what happens.
The journey into Lisbeth’s sordid past is one that keeps you interested throughout this book and many scenes made me go “Ahhh!” as it made more sense why she reacted the way she did in the first novel. Lisbeth has a dark, abusive, horrid past that none of us would wish on our worst enemies and Larsson finally gets around to explaining “All The Evil” that made Lisbeth who she is. He accurately captures the essence of “giving bad guys what they deserve” and you almost want to root for her as she is kicking ass and taking names. His in-depth description of her tiny tattooed self taking on brutish giants gives you the perfect image of a girl seeking revenge and achieving that goal; for some of us it may inspire jealousy that she can take on any problem and handle it herself with the utmost bravery. Perhaps the majority of us would not respond with such violence but Larsson has written a female character that is strong, brave, independent, and motivated; all characteristics more women could adopt in today’s society.
The introduction of Armansky’s security team helping the police force with the investigation added a different dynamic to the book but it also introduced a lot of characters at one time; this means numerous people going in different directions and all investigating something different. There is also the addition of multiple “thugs” and bad guys which adds to the surplus of new characters in the book. There are some you will enjoy, some you despise, some you hope Lisbeth will take care of, and some you wish would get written out of the book by the next page. Some of these characters are good, some are irritating, some are corrupt, and some are just blah. The only consistent character throughout the book is Blomkvist who continues to be a diligent truth seeker but this time we see it as not only his journalistic urges to find the truth but rather it is due to his intense loyalty to his friendship with Lisbeth.
Overall it was another enjoyable book and I found myself reading it just as quickly as the first. Each page keeps you guessing, questioning, speculating, and wondering. You may find yourself unsure who to believe, which side to take, or just plain confused about who did what. But Larsson has written this plot so intricately well that it all weaves together eventually and each page reveals more to keep your attention. The ending is so spontaneous that you are disappointed it has concluded like that and if you are anything like me, you will start the third book right away.
From Lauren’s Perspective:
I guess I’ll start with the bad. There were a few things I didn’t like about the sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. First of all, I felt as though there was a lot of unnecessary information that I felt could have been left out or condensed. While I read this book as quickly as the first, dying to know the outcome, there were parts I skimmed over because they became drawn out and incredibly boring. I think this is part of Larsson’s writing style. He has a tendency to go into detail about every single aspect and every single character. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing overall, but given the political subject matter, it was very dull at times.
Also, I found some of the coincidences just a little too coincidental. For instance, Lisbeth’s connection to Dag and Mia, then Dag and Mia’s connection to Bjurman. It felt a little bit too contrived and not completely believable. I understand the desire to throw Salander and Blomkvist into another chaotic adventure, the entire series depends on it, but the adventure felt a little too forced at times.
My only other complaint was that some of the supporting characters were immensely annoying. I hated them with a deep and searing passion. Generally, when it comes to novels, I would consider that a good thing. The author obviously has the ability to write characters that cause you to emote, and emotion in any form is good. My issue with these characters was simply that, up to this point, I had become accustomed to Salander handling anyone and everyone who stands opposes her in anyway. Anyone who says a bad word against her gets what they deserve, and then some. However, for Faste and Hedstrom, they are prejudiced and hateful throughout, but simply disappear into the background. It felt as though their roles were entirely unnecessary. Their only purpose seemed to be to get on my nerves and then disappear. I’m holding out hope that they get what’s coming in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.
I know that seemed like a lot of complaints, but there was a lot about this novel I really enjoyed. This sequel spent a lot of time digging into Salander’s personal history. You get to learn about her entire life and it is very satisfying. You are able to understand exactly what makes her the person she is, and because of all the injustices against her you feel the need to stand in her corner throughout. Even more so than after the first novel, I still believe her to be one of the best written female characters in a long time.
The suspense in this book, just as in the first, kept me turning page after page at an alarming rate in a compulsion to discover its secrets. Despite my complaints I would still more than recommend the book. It was an incredibly enjoyable read.
Plot – 4 out of 5
Writing/Style/Form – 2 out of 5
Characters – 5 out of 5 for Salander – 2 0ut of 5 for the rest (I guess that averages out at 3.5)
Enjoyment/Entertainment Value – 4 0ut of 5
Overall Score – 13.5 out of 20