This week, I’m letting my mum loose on Little Interpretations, as she reviews the second book in Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy…
Wow! What a fantastic late-into-the-night page turner. The Girl who Played with Fire is the second book in Millennium trilogy. While I am not a crime / thriller fan, I was encouraged to read Steig Larsson‘s series by my daughter Marie, and I have to say, this book is fantastic.
I had very much misunderstood the concept of the trilogy by making assumptions of what it was about without actually having read a page. I had no interest in it partly because it is based on murder (not my genre of choice) and also because it is set in Sweden. The translated text and Swedish names and places put me off slighty, but how wrong I was.
Stieg Larsson had a talent as a writer to keep you hooked to the last letter of the last page, and it is tragic that he never lived to see how successful his work has become. Those who have read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first book in the trilogy, will know exactly what I am talking about. You are immediately immersed into the characters lives and his story telling is such that you are constantly surprised and shocked with every page you turn.
The main characters in the book, Blomkvist and Salander, are multi-layered, enigmatic and complex creations. Larsson maintains the intensity of these characters right to the end, without losing tension or compromising them in any way. Salander is very moralistic but she is also flawed. You often find yourself questioning her actions, but to her they are a means to an end and before you know it you are willing her to succeed in her fight; what starts as an engaging thriller ends as a moral quest. As the reader you find out much more about Salanders’ past life and why she is the way she is. Stieg Larsson has created a different kind of heroine, one who takes no prisoners and will fight to the very end for what she thinks is right.
When Salander becomes involved in a double murder Blomkvist is there, trying to prove her innocence but he always manages to be just a few steps behind treading in the chaos she leaves in her wake. Towards the end of this book there is a single sentence of four words that will take your breath away. I audibly gasped.
The Girl who Played with Fire is not without its flaws. As in the first book, there is a lot of detailed back story involved and it can be difficult to remember who all the different characters are. It also could have benefitted from some tighter editing. However, it becomes clear that the detail is essential to the progression of the plot.
I cannot rate this book highly enough. I assure you, I have had many a bleary-eyed morning having read so late into the night. I simply could not put it down. The Girl who Played with Fire is a roller-coaster ride that will leave you on the edge of your seat (or in my case the bed, settee, work, anywhere I could read!).
Stieg Larsson is a talent who was taken from this world too early and what a loss to the world of literature. Now, for more late nights: I’m about to start The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.