Ruined by Reading

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction, Mystery by M on August 29, 2009


Title: The Girl Who Played With Fire
Author: Steig Larsson
Pages: 512
Rating: 4.5/5

(From Amazon) A few weeks before Dag Svensson, a freelance journalist, plans to publish a story that exposes important people involved in Sweden’s sex trafficking business based on research conducted by his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, a criminologist and gender studies scholar, the couple are shot to death in their Stockholm apartment. Salander, who has a history of violent tendencies, becomes the prime suspect after the police find her fingerprints on the murder weapon. While Blomkvist strives to clear Salander of the crime, some far-fetched twists help ensure her survival.

Much like in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a very large part of The Girl Who Played With Fire is character development and side stories that involve the lives of the main characters – not necessarily the main mystery. Normally this might have annoyed or bored me, but I find all the characters in this series to be completely fascinating, especially Lisbeth. I really enjoyed following her character in the beginning before the story really got started, and learning more about her life.

The Girl Who Played With Fire also serves as a critique of Swedish society and its treatment of women because it discusses human trafficking and the sex trade. I was shocked by the treatment of women in this book and how little punishment rapists and violent criminals received in the Swedish justice system. But Larsson also talks about responsibility, guilt, and innocence. Lisbeth constantly repeats that no one is innocent, there are just varying degrees of guilt (not a direct quote). Is a criminal truly completely to blame for his actions? In both books there is a character who is raised and trained to be a killer and criminal, so shouldn’t the circumstances also be blamed?

The only reason why I gave this book a 4.5/5 was because I wasn’t really ‘wowed’ by the plot twists. Maybe it was just that it was a little predictable, or maybe it was just my mood when I read it, but when the big mysterious fact that was meant to shock the audience was revealed near the end of the book, I wasn’t exactly shocked or overwhelmed. That being said, The Girl Who Played with Fire is still a great book with great characters and a pretty good plot. I’m really excited for the next, and final book, which comes out this fall.

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One Response

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  1. Veens said, on August 30, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Gosh! It did really take a toll on me to think of the connection – i couldn’t establish the connection and that’s why i was wowed by this one!

    the first one is the best – but still i love this one as well.


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