THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (Millennium Trilogy #2)/Stieg Larsson

image from Goodreads
image from Goodreads

This is the sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which I finished reading a little over a week ago. I was so hooked with the story I decided to do a reading marathon of the rest of the books in the trilogy (which I finished in a week or so) and despite the lack of sleep, I was not disappointed.

The Girl Who Played With Fire, just as I guessed, delves more into the complicated life story of kick-ass heroine, Lisbeth Salander. The summary from Goodreads says:

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 initial reaction when I read the Prologue: MATH??? You see, each part contains a short discourse on various mathematical theorems which I cannot really understand no matter how hard I try, and even until I finished the book, I still did not get what the equations have to do with the story. What I did was to simply skim through these nonsensical (to me) equations and dove right in to the heart of the story.

Lisbeth did not have lots of appearance in the first part of the book, but her life and mysterious background is gradually uncovered through the investigations made by Mikael and the authorities. When I read the first book, I didn’t really have any inkling at all that the story will turn out to be a complicated conspiracy surrounding VIPS in the Swedish society.

Mikael Blomkvist is his usual driven self, although I can’t help thinking that yes, he is such a man-whore. Until now, I still cannot fully grasp his relationship with Erika Berger. Can such friendship-with-benefits relationship truly thrive? Somehow I am still skeptical about it. And I am confused with his sense of morality. He is strongly compelled to expose the truth about the innocence of Lisbeth and to maintain the integrity and ethics of his profession, but he has no qualms on sleeping with any woman he fancies. Is there really a difference about maintaining a high degree of professionalism and sexual morality, or am I just a prude?

Anyway, setting aside my personal convictions on sexual issues, what I love about The Girl Who Played With Fireis that it is action-packed and the scenes are such page-turners. There are killings and shootings and burnings and kidnappings, and my imagination has been working overtime with the action scenes. There are really no shocking twists, but the hunt for the real killer (or killers? You find out.) and the uncovering of Lisbeth’s dark past is worth losing sleep over.

Stieg Larsson has thrown in additional complicated characters and this made the plot more interesting. There are instances that the narration becomes superfluous ( I mean, who cares which brand of mineral water does Mikael drinks or which wine he chose during dinner) but I am willing to overlook this minute detail in order to find out the mystery behind the murders and the enigma of Lisbeth’s personality. Yes, I do love a good mystery. 🙂

The ending is a cliff-hanger, and aptly so because I was willing to read right on until the end of the series.

*****

4/5 stars.

My copy: ebook

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