Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Millennium Trilogy: 2
Jennifer Ramirez

In his second book in the Millennium series, "The Girl Who Played with Fire," it's obvious Stieg Larson is encouraged by the crime and murder thriller writers of the world. The pace of this novel though not as rapid as the very first one it does give the typical ups and downs of any racy detective book by the likes of Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton and Enid Blyton.

Stieg Larsson's “The Girl Who Played with Fire” is the second story in the top selling Millennium Trilogy.  In the first book of the trilogy, the story was at least as much about Mikael Blomkvist as it was about Lisbeth Salandar, the true girl with the dragon tattoo. She is a amazing character, and a lot of hints are dropped about her life, but we don't learn much other than that she is a guru with computers, a fantastic researcher, reckless, socially inept, and that she had a very stressed childhood and young adulthood.

“The Girl Who Played with Fire” opens like an explosion. We connect with a young girl, Lisbeth Salandar, strapped to a bed in a dark empty room. She has been caught in the room for about a month and a half. To calm her intense anger, she concentrates on her beloved fantasy  of pouring gasoline on a man in a car and then lighting him on fire. Yikes! Soon, a strange man gets into the dark room. When she lashes out at him, he tightens her restraints. When he actually leaves, she fantasizes about lighting him on fire, too. This is how she remembers the night of her thirteenth birthday.

Followers of "Dragon Tattoo," the first book in the series, will not be shocked to learn that Salander is indeed still withdrawn and irritable as well as an extremely effective as a computer spy. As she dons cover up and changes apartments and eludes the police, she has her old coworker and partner, Blomkvist, on her side, but given his tendency to fool around with other women, she refuses to have anything to do with him. He’s a well-meaning chap who simply capitalizes on Sweden's famously permissive attitude toward carnal pleasure; Blomkvist can't realize why Salander stays away from him.

In the beginning, it seems obvious to almost everyone that she must be responsible. The newspaper reports about her life make her sound like a insane person and there is circumstantial data.

She doesn't seem to have any friends other than Blomkvist. But then things get difficult, and it turns out that while Salander does not have a lot of good friends, the ones she does have are quite loyal, uncommon, and practical indeed. As a follow up to the previous novel, this one also published posthumously, the writer dives deeper into the life of the protagonist. We notice a lot of investigative journalism from the Mikeal, who in this novel is more well known as he is trying to help his detective friend Lisbeth from coming up capture, which is where the story takes off from the sexual exploitation and violence concept of the previous book.

The storyplot develops well from the start and the happenings and characters are woven very well into this book. People who we cared about in Dragon Tattoo, are brought back into the lives of both Salander and Blomkvist but there is also an outstanding, yet not confusing, variety of new characters included to the cast. Nearly every character in the story interacts with each other in some way and while it may seem like a bit much at times, it does ultimately make sense when it all comes together towards the end.

 Is Lisbeth guilty? If not, whom? The novel is full of conspiracy and secret, action and one astonishing revelation after another. Once more, you will be fascinated, and just as before, you will find it very tough to put down “The Girl Who Played with Fire” until you finish off it.  The greatest thing about this sequel is the slow progression of the pace which towards the end leaves the reader wanting for a fast finish to the suspense of Lisbeth hanging on to her dear life. At the end, I guess this book is more to do with why and how the protagonist becomes what she is today! This is one of the very good fiction books I've come across.

Click to read the review of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" or "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," by Jennifer Ramirez.

Jennifer Ramirez, known as Jenny, has reviewed and edited for 5+ years. Originally from Toronto, she grew up performing and competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Jenny enjoys reviewing movies, books and music albums. She describes herself as funny and righteous, with a 'go that extra mile' attitude. Her philosophy is quite simple: try to live life to the fullest Jenny writes that hr passion is books. She reads and reviews current and back-list literary fiction, crime fiction, thrillers, occasionally science fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She also loves music. She's a huge fan of The Maine and All Time Low! Joy is her favorite word and creativity is something she can't live without.

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