Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire

630 pages
Author: Stieg Larsson
Genre: Mystery
Series: Millennium Trilogy #2

This story is the sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which I reviewed here.   In this book, Blomkvist decides to use his magazine, the Millenium, not only to expose corrupt financial leaders, but this time to expose an extensive web of officials involved in a sex trafficking scandal.  However, right before the magazine planned to publish this controversial exposé, the two journalists working with the Millenium on the issue are found dead in their apartment.  The police arrive at the scene and find the murder weapon — with Lisbeth Salander’s fingerprints on it.  The police are initially confident of her guilt and issue a nationwide search for Lisbeth, but she uses her cunning resources to disappear into hiding.  Blomkvist refuses to believe Lisbeth might be guilty and tries to defend her innocence by doing some detective work of his own and searching for the real killer.  The story gets more complex the deeper Blomkvist digs and the book leaves off with a shocking cliffhanger.

Lisbeth Salander
Lisbeth plays a larger role in this novel than her character in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  She mainly lingers in the background for the first half of the book, but we learn a lot about her childhood and background from other sources.  This novel goes into detail about Lisbeth’s family and shows that her reasons for being so abnormal are very complex.  Finally, we learn about what Lisbeth refers to as “All The Evil” that caused her to be committed to a psychiatric ward when she was 12.

Overall Thoughts
I liked this book more than the first.  The characters, especially Lisbeth, became much more complex and it was very interesting to learn more about her background.  The story is also more compelling since the case directly relates to Lisbeth’s character and makes you anxious to find out more.  Blomkvist’s character irritates me a bit sometimes though.  He is often selfish and egotistic.  Although he has very good hunches and follows them through, he survives off of sheer luck and is careless.  Also, he has yet to have a serious friendship with a woman without having sex with her, which bothers me. 


While some parts were very thrilling, there was no overall “pull” of the book that kept me reading throughout it.  It took me a while to finish because I had no regrets about setting it down and not picking it up for a while.  Even though I enjoyed the story and wanted to find out what happened, I never was so interested that I had to keep reading.

If you do decide to read this book, make sure you have the next in the series – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest – nearby.  This book leaves off on a huge cliffhanger and I ended up rushing to Walmart to buy the next in the series to find out what happened.  Once I finish The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest I’ll be posting a review here as well.

Check out my review of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo here.

Don’t forget to check out my book giveaway here.  It goes until December 17th, so make sure you enter before it ends!

8 comments on “Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire

  1. beckyday6 says:

    I enjoyed the seconed Millennium Trilogy book more than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well, I found myself a bit torn on the first book, there were sections of it that were really good but overall it just seemed like too much work trying to read it. I completely agree with your point about Blomkvist. The way that women are presented in Larsson’s book or the way they are treated by men really grates on me.

    • Michelle says:

      I read your review of this book on your blog and I agree that it seems unlikely for ALL of the characters to have such a casual view of sex. However, it occurred to me that it might be a different aspect of culture. Sure enough, I did a little searching and found that the culture in Sweden does tend to have a more casual view of sex and emphasizes sexual freedom. Maybe that accounts for some of the differences. It did bother me though that Blomkvist can’t have a single friend without sleeping with her.

      • beckyday6 says:

        Really? Thats very interesting, I’d never though of that. Yeah, who knows, maybe in the third book he’ll meet someone and actually restrain himself 😉

  2. Aaron W. says:

    After working in a bookstore and hearing so many good things about this series, I have been wanting to read it for a long time. I would also like to see the movies, which are available on Netflix, but I prefer to read the book first. Thanks for the review.

    • Michelle says:

      I would definitely recommend reading the books first. I’d like to see the Swedish movies on Netflix too, but I don’t have access to them right now. At the least I’ll see the American remaking of the first one that is being released later on this month. I’d love to work in a bookstore, but I’m sure I’d go broke buying so many books that I heard about.

  3. citizenwife says:

    I’ve read the first 2 books and have watched the first 2 Sweedish movies via Netflix. If you want to watch the movies after the books, you won’t be disappointed, as they stick to the book pretty closely. I agree with other people’s take on the attitude towards sex and women, but I chalked it up to the European cultural difference.

    • Michelle says:

      I might try to watch the Swedish versions over break. I know the American film comes out a little later this month, so I’ll be seeing that soon in theaters. Hopefully they’ll do it justice.

  4. […] This book follows The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (#1) and The Girl Who Played With Fire (#2) of the Millenium series.  It picks up where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off and Lisbeth […]

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