Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson)

Hoo boy, was this one a blast!

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.


My review as posted on GoodReads: 

Well, I'm in the same predicament with this one as I was with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. How do I describe it when the only words that really fit are unprintable and impolite? Let me put it this way: two chapters in, and I was already yelling things like "What the f*** is going on?!" and "Oh holy s***!" and just plain "Oh my God!" I got a few funny looks for a few of my outbursts, if you can believe it. *wink*

Long story short, two people are murdered, and it's Lisbeth Salander's prints on the murder weapon. What has dear Sally gotten herself into now? Old friend Mikael Blomkvist is convinced of her innocence, and sets out to prove it, while Salander herself becomes absorbed with cleaning out those skeletons in her closet.

I find my love for Salander growing along with my respect for Mr. Larsson. (Incidentally, I also rescind my former assertion that Salander is amoral...she really isn't, but her morals don't exactly coincide with everyone else's.) She's a little more accessible this time around, and it didn't matter what she was doing--even if it wasn't exactly scrupulous or "right"--I was cheering her on like a maniac. I think what I loved best about her was that she absolutely refuses to back down from a fight, no matter what the consequences. When she's backed into a corner, there's no middle road with her. It's do or die. She's difficult and infuriating as ever, but she's one of the most intriguing characters I've ever run across.

Blomkvist, the poor guy, really has no clue what he's gotten involved in now. On the surface, it's just a simple expose on sex trafficking in Sweden. What's under the surface, however..well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? His loyalty to Salander is what drives his actions here, and as usual he's driven into some messed-up crud.

(Gah! So hard to discuss this without giving anything away!)

As I read, I kept wondering "How is this supposed to tie into the story?" If I hadn't already been so involved, I would have given up in annoyance, but just as in Dragon Tattoo Mr. Larsson ties up his loose ends and you feel stupid for doubting him. The only thing that happened that didn't turn out to be absolutely vital to the plot was Salander's travels through the Caribbean in the beginning. Everything else, you'd better keep in mind, as it's important later on. That's really the most impressive thing about this book. It's mind-boggling as you read, but slowly the pieces start to come together and you gradually get an idea of what exactly is going on--but I guarantee, any predictions you might make about what will happen will be off the mark. It's best just to sit back and hang on.

Like the first book, this one takes awhile to take off (the murders actually don't occur until about halfway through), but once it does holy moly it doesn't stop. Unlike the first book, it doesn't take a large amount of patience to get absorbed in it. If you recognize any of the names from the first book, you'll be snared by what's going around, I promise. And to cap the whole kit and kaboodle, it goes out with what I'm forced to call a tidy little cliff-hanger. Someone get me the next book, quick!

I think the best way to sum up this trilogy so far is that it's one you have to discuss with someone else who has read it. I'm finding it very hard to review, and forget trying to talk about it without spoiling it for someone else! It was a wild ride, and I can't wait to read the last installment!

Seriously! Someone get me the next book! I'm dying over here!

Your humble book nerd,

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