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on 9 April 2011
In this instalment of the Millennium Trilogy, our heroine is accused of a triple homicide and the evidence against her is compelling. However, not everyone is convinced of her guilt and her friend and erstwhile lover attempts to prove her innocence and save her from the horrors of her past. Larsson's second book of the Millennium Trilogy is undoubtedly better than his first. Nonetheless, the hyperbole of many of the reviews still fails to match the reality: this is a good, but certainly not a great novel.

The main problem with The Girl Who Played with Fire is Larsson's lack of attention to detail. It's not that he didn't include the detail that would, ordinarily, make the fiction more believable (Salander's preferred brand of pizza for instance), it's just that so much of what he did include is inconsistent with his characters or is simply wrong. For example, it's incredible that someone with a photographic memory can forget where she lives (p.63); the Sicilian is a defence for black and not an opening for white (p.143); and why would one of the world's finest computer hackers be amazed by how easily the media obtains confidential documents (p.349)? Such criticism might be perceived as petty, particularly in light of Larsson's engaging prose, but the author obviously coveted such accuracy and even attributed it as a character trait to one of his main protagonists! Furthermore, other authors of this genre have produced so much better, one needs only to think of the early works of Patricia Cornwell to understand what Larsson was trying to achieve.

A second (although, minor) complaint about Larsson's work was his proclivity discussing his own preferences and prejudices through his fiction. At times it's not clear whether Apple or Ikea was Larsson's main sponsor (or perhaps it was Billy Pan Pizza) and he was clearly obsessed with sex - any type of sex. This book covers the gamut of human sexuality (sadomasochism, lesbian, gay, straight - it's all in there), much of it adds little or nothing to the story and, as a result, it becomes tedious.

Of course I'll read the final instalment: it's lightweight fiction that requires little in the way of intellectual commitment and is a welcome interlude between more demanding reads (oh, and I already own a copy!).
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on 17 March 2011
I enjoyed the first installment of the this trilogy but found this one had a lazy plot in parts, far too much waffle, and some silly and unbelievable events and co-incidences happening. Like Salander convienently stumbling across someone plotting to kill her. And then the ending just wound me up as it would never happen! WARNING: PLOT SPOILER COMING UP! Really though - shot 3 times - once in the head, (luckily by a crap gun hey!), then buried alive and she manages to dig her self out and beat the baddies! Is she blooming super woman?! Its a shame as i did enjoy it in parts but am not inclined to read the 3rd book now.
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on 13 July 2010
The title of my review doesn't mean that I loved the book and thought its writing an act of absolute literay mastery, no, I rather thought it was masterful to be able to spread so thin a story over 560 pages. Well done!! All in all,' the girl playing with fire' 's plot would hold on the back of a stamp and yet the author manages to add and repeat so much that we end up with a crude but rather long narrative. What is it basically about? Well,n°1 Lisbeth has a boob job done, n°2 Blomkvist and Millenium meet a journalist ready to expose important people involved in the sex trade, n°3 the journalist in question and his girlfriend get murdered, n°4 Salander is suspected of the crime and n° 5 a mysterious Zala (no I won't spoil it for you who haven't read it as yet and say more than I should) character haunts the book. Who is HE? That is all!! Meagre, isn't it? Now, as I was not greatly involved while reading I amused myself with understanding how you can make soup for twenty out of soup for two.First you have to start the novel with your heroine in the Caribbean, add a tornado, an attempted murder.... things that are not in the slightest connected to the rest of the story.(but it is like water when you drink a lot, it doesn't nourish but it fills you up)Then you arrange a large cast of characters who are all, at one point or another, going to tell you some of their version of what happened in 'the girl with the dragon tattoo'. Once you have been reminded five times at least of what you have already read and haven't forgotten, a good few many pages will have been filled. Then you write things twice, like e-mails between Salander and Blomkvist. You read them first when Salander reads them and when she answers Blomkvist, you read her e-mail again in case you hadn't been able to memorize the message. Then, you create a police investigation that plays on different levels so the ongoing investigation is first dissected by the policemen, then exactly the same things are discussed between the team at Millenium, then By Armansky at Milton's... then eventually why not by Palmgren in his clinic once he has sufficiently recovered to be able to speak? What's more you create sterotyped characters, people with interesting personality traits to whom you will warm immediately and you create tension between them all. Berger who might or might not leave Millenium but is riddled with guilt as she is unable to tell the truth, good guy Blomkvist who doesn't understand why Lisbeth doesn't want to have anything to do with him anymore but will stand by her anyway because he's a real friend, stupid detectives who get slapped around by their female colleagues because they are narrow -minded and think that a lesbian is necessarily evil and therefore guilty... I could continue forever as I have learned a lot from the book but it would grow as tedious reading my review as it was reading the novel so I'll take pity and stop there...
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on 22 September 2011
I bought the e-version of the Trilogy having read it in paperback last year.
I have read the 'dragon tattoo' and am now reading 'played with fire' and I have found both to be significantly abridged from the hard copy versions. This is not made clear at the time of purchase. Whole sections are missing; e.g. the security measures taken to protect the production of Millenium with the Wennerstrom expose in 'dragon tattoo' and Salander's 'negotiations' with the lawyer in Gibralter in 'played with fire' are both skated over. While this does not interrupt the narrative, it over-simplifies and dilutes it.
One also questions whether other books may not also be abridged without declaring it. It should be made clear whether books are complete or abridged at the time of purchase.The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Trilogy Book 2)
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on 2 February 2009
What is incredible about this book is despite the flaws I shall set out below, this is a fantastic read with a great plot that once it gets going grips you like a vice. The character of Salander in particular is a really interesting and sympathetic heroine. I have my doubts about Bonkvist who is a bit of a wooden idealisation of the authors profession - is there nothing he does not do well? But the biggest crime in this book is that it could have done with a decent edit.
It must be so hard to publish a best selling authors sequel. So much harder when the author is dead and you don't want to upset the "magic formula", but boy oh boy could this book do with an editorial short back and sides.
This a crime thriller. The first murders related to the actual plot occur on page 197. Before that we are treated mostly to a series of tedious lists and bonk scenes that do nothing for the plot.
Almost an entire chapter is devoted to Salander buying and kitting out her new flat for goodness sakes!!! If I had wanted to read the Ikea catalogue I would have got one - and I am not kidding there is a section describing the main characters internal dilemma over whether or not to buy the Helmsby bed with the Duvetpong mattress or the Hemlsby bed with the Rumpfart mattress.... get this - WE DON'T CARE!!!! Nor do we care that she is using the Apple MAC 3.8 Ghz with Triathalon chipset and crystal meths hard drive... but the author thinks we do. He is obsessed with lists and lusts.
Lusts? well neither Bonkvist or Salander can meet a woman without her deciding to thumb through their respective orifice supplies catalogue. All getting the reader no further forward with the plot. We even have a trip to Grenada for a hurricane for no better reason than to give Salander a bit of a rub down and a good blow dry.
I'd heartily recommend the book - but it is a flawed gem.
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on 17 June 2015
The first book was good; a style and plot that was a bit different from other things I have read. The 'product placement'/references was a bit irritating but not too bad. However, the second book, while starting off well saw my levels of irritation began to climb. The endless 'product placement' was beyond belief; I don't mind the odd thing being mentioned if it has some relevance and to add atmosphere and depth but this was just crazy! I don't mind detail where it gives you a picture of how things are but strewth there is a limit! You can't beat Charles Dickens for detail but even he we didn't tell us the name of poultry shop or the name of the street, or the name of the breeder from where Scrooge bought the turkey!! The plot became more and more bizarre as it went on and while our "pint sized" Lisbeth is clearly someone who can take care of herself, taking down the two Hells Angels was just the last straw. After that I trudged on to the end and decided I will not be reading any more in the series.
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on 3 July 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, having first read the Dragon Tattoo and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good thriller read. I've read some negative reviews where writers have complained about too much detail and sponsorship...whine, whine etc etc. The fact is there is a huge amount of characterisation and detail which only adds to the enjoyment and sets it apart from comic strip books which others may feel more comfortable with. The setting is in Scandinavia so some of the place names are unfamiliar and possibly challenging reading to some. The author seems to have considerable knowledge or has done a lot of research which is displayed in his writing about complex personalities, computer systems, and the Scandinavian legal system. Don't be discouraged this a fairly long read at 569 pages, not the longest I've read, but definitely worth it.
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on 29 October 2015
I thought the storyline had great suspense and there were definitely times when I didn't want to put the book (well kindle ;)) down.

At times I struggled to keep track of all the characters but I did like that the story was quite complex and the use of Swedish names I felt really did help transport me to Sweden and a different culture.

A few reviews I read criticised the detail Larsson goes into e.g. timings of events and shopping trips. I think these are a key part of the way Larsson writes though. To me these details actually add to the story e.g. Salanders trip to Ikea perhaps shows how her mind works, the police and Blomkvists detailing of times how desperately they are searching for the truth.

The bigger message I took from the book is how dangerous a label can be and how maybe context (and to some extent emotional distance) is needed to make a just decision.
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on 11 December 2014
Why did it take me so long to get round to reading Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy? If you haven't read The Girl Who Played With Fire, you are missing out on a great piece of literacy. I personally liked that we weren't bombarded with background details about the characters-the previous book in the trilogy more than adequately did that-but, for those who haven't read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo it may well prove to be a little frustrating.

In The Girl Who Played With Fire, the feisty, bi-sexual, gothic computer hacker (sorry analyst!) Lisbeth Salander is wanted in connection with 3 murders. She disappears from radar and only makes brief contact with Mikael Blomkvist - Millennium publisher and Journalist. Lisbeth tries to get to the bottom of the mystery on her own and with the constant twists and turns that follow, you will find it difficult to put the book down once you've started. The variety of characters, that include among them; homophobic policemen, indelible gangsters and a media executive with an open marriage, will entertain and occasionally frustrate the reader. The suspense and drama will keep you turning the pages. There is a surprising twist at the end which has left me determined to get my hands on the final book in the series as soon as possible.
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on 18 July 2014
My review is aimed in part, at those who have read some but not the whole trilogy.

The Millennium Trilogy has many people praising the three novels but also many who clearly don't like them. I had read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and very much enjoyed it but had not read the other two. I found that "Tattoo" took some time to get going, but the prose (or at least the translation of it) was very distinctive and the plot was good but I think it was the main characters of Mikael and Lisbeth that remained in my memory.

Because of some sight problems I had stopped reading for quite some time, but then bought a Kindle (so that I could enlarge the font size), and kept promising myself I would at some stage read the other two from the trilogy. They are reasonably long novels and was somewhat hesitant as I wondered if I would enjoy them as much as I had the first one.

There had been few years between reading the first and then the second and third novels and I had forgotten just what the prose was like - namely all the things that those who don't like it, will criticise (too long, too descriptive even to the extent of saying the model of computer or phone etc that is being used). But I am so glad that I eventually got round to reading the other two novels - apparently another seven had been planned, and presumably would have been published but for Steig Larsson's demise.

A fourth novel is to be published in 2015 but doesn't have the approval of Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson's partner as it will not use the unpublished material which is in her possession.

So to sum up, if you have read and enjoyed some but not all of the trilogy I would very much recommend the package as a whole. I would recommend the novels to anyone with the patience for a long but very well plotted story, beautifully descriptive prose and great characters.
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