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Book Review of The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millenium, Bk 2)

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millenium, Bk 2)
Spuddie avatar reviewed on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3

#2 Millenium trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Salander returns home from her year-long sabbatical away from Sweden, settles into a new home and tries to figure out what to do with her life. She hasn't seen or spoken to any of her acquaintances since returning, but when she hacks into Blomkvist's computer to see what he's up to, she's stunned to see that he and his colleagues are working on an exposé of the sex trade in Sweden, specifically in importing penniless young girls in from foreign countries to essentially become slaves. She gathers some information and goes to see the young couple who are working specifically on the issue and the couple ends up brutally murdered just after she's there.

Blomkvist, who had called them to say he'd drop by some paperwork that was needed, discovers the bodies. When Salander's fingerprints are discovered on the weapon and her guardian is also found dead, she becomes the victim of a frantic witch hunt with painful details of her past splashed all over the papers--but for some reason, no one including the police, the prosecutor, or the newspapers has any information about the most important incident of all, the thing she calls "All The Evil" which occurred around her thirteenth birthday. Blomkvist and his team try to solve the murders of their co-workers independently of the police, as he does not believe Lisbeth is guilty.

Ok. I'm going to say right now that it took me weeks to read this book. I give the author an A for the storyline and plot, but the execution of the idea was, in my opinion, rather poorly done. The book seriously needed editing--it was way too long with way too many insignificant tangents and details about minor characters that were totally unnecessary and irrelevant. The writing style itself was very uneven--sometimes I was captivated and sucked into the story, but then a few pages later I had trouble concentrating because the writing had changed to superficial claptrap--for example, when Salander was furnishing her new home, there were three pages of prose listing the furniture (including brand names from Ikea) and the decor, yet when I was done reading that passage, I had no sense at all of what the place really looked like.

It was almost like there were two people writing. There was also the dichotomy with the characters--Salander was fascinating to me, but Blomkvist was dead boring. I also had to wonder why, with the supposedly wonderful medical care Sweden has, no one even whispered the term "Aspberger's Syndrome" in connection with Salander. I'm not a professional, and yet it was fairly clear to me (even in the last book!) that she likely had some form of that malady.

I've decided I'm not going to torture myself and read the third one. I know a lot of people loved this book, and when I had such an opposing reaction, I really did take some time to figure out if this is just me being contrary (as I have been known to be on occasion!) or if I had some valid criticism. I think my criticism is valid. The whole premise of the book and the story was a superb idea, but in my mind it was just poorly brought to life. This was not a book I couldn't put down, this was a book I HAD to put down and read in small bits in order to finish it. I can't help but wonder if the author had lived if the editing done would have been better. I guess we'll never know.