The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2)by Published 28 Jul 2009
|The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2).pdf|
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposé on social injustice, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel.
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2)" Reviews
What I learned from this book (in no particular order):
1. Swedish billionaires furnish their multi-million dollar apartments with IKEA --- well, at least ONE peculiar Swedish billionaire.
Poang Chair $40
2. Asperger's Syndrome may give you the idea that a T-shirt that says ‘I’M AN ALIEN’ is acceptable office wear, but also photographic memory and phenomenal mathematical ability.
3. "Sweden is one of the countries that imports the most prostitutes per capita from Russia and the Baltics". Naughty Swedes.
4. The best computer in the world is a Mac, but no matter what computer you have, Asphyxia WILL suck up all your digital secrets.
5. You can live on Billy's Pan Pizza for days on end and STILL look like an anorexic teenager.
6. All rapists and violent sex offenders should have these words tattooed on their stomachs: "I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT AND A RAPIST". The tattoo should be done by an amateur and not be removable even by laser. Repeat offenders will be tattooed on their foreheads. It is recommended that the subject be tasered first before undergoing this involuntary procedure.
7. "There were not so many physical threats that could not be countered with a decent hammer". Buy a good-sized one from the hardware store and keep it in your bag always.
8. Failing that, a girl must always have the following ready:
a. keys (to scratch an opponent's face);
b. a can of mace, though it's illegal in Sweden; and
c. a taser (a 50,000 volts jolt to the crotch will incapacitate even the burliest of men).
9. "Men could be as big as a house and made of granite, but they all had balls in the same place". A crucial fact to remember in a fight, especially if you are fighting a 300 pounds, six foot six giant with hands as big as frying pans.
10. A cigarette case is a useful tool for digging yourself out of a grave.
My review of : http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
The first book was for the most part plot-driven. The 40-year old mystery took a while to unfold, but was interesting when it did. So was Lisbeth, although she wasn't the main focus. Enter, The Girl Who Played With Fire. The story has now turned character-driven with Lisbeth as the protagonist. But instead of having much of a plot of any character revelations about her early on, we read about her buying a new apartment, grocery shopping, and what furniture she picked out at IKEA in *great* detail. Seriously, you could go down to the store and decorate the same way if you wanted, that's the level of description he gave. I was bored out of my mind. This goes on for a staggering 172 pages.
Mystery thriller? Surely you jest! This book wasn't a mystery whatsoever for me. The fact that the police and everyone else working to solve the case chose to ignore it was pitiful.
The turning point didn't happen until page 172, which was about 100 pages too late to hold the interest of any reader who's not a masochist. The quick pace and interest it generates rapidly disappears until 375.Really. It was more bloated than a rotting whale.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a better book. I wanted to throw this one against the wall a few times.
I am confident that Stieg Larsson has a reason for this, but Lisbeth Salander is not much of a heroine. Let's list her transgressions from The Girl Who Played With Fire (and these will be deliberately out of context):
1. She forces herself on a 16 year old boy in Granada.
2. She kills a man on the beach during a hurricane.
3. She shuts out Blomkvist for a very long time for a perceived slight, giving him no explanation.
4. She fails to take or show the necessary care with her ex-guardian after his stroke.
5. She alienates everyone else who cares about her.
6. She lives off billions that she stole.
7. She invades the apartment of her "guardian" and threatens his life in the middle of the night.
8. She endangers the lives of friends and innocents.
9. She very nearly burned her father to death when she was a teenager.
10. She pulls a gun on the owner of a car rental agency and shuts him in a broom closet to control him.
11. She commits multiple computer violations, including the hacking of government computers.
12. She carries and uses illegal weapons.
13. She is genuinely ultraviolent.
14. She shoots a man in the foot after macing his eyes, and she tasers another in the testicles.
15. She steals a motorcycle.
16. She chops her father's knee and skull with an axe.
17. She is vengeful in a way that makes Edmond Dantès look like a sissy.
Let's face it, Lisbeth is more than a little bit nasty. And taken a step further, it is safe to say that she is not particularly likable. She is cold, calculating, emotionally irrational, mean, detached, abrasive, unapproachable, unfriendly, selfish, mercenary, vengeful, and more than a few other things most of us would classify as unlikable.
Out of context, Lisbeth Salander is the kind of person who most people would be more than happy to see locked up forever. And if all we had to go on were the reports of newspapers and descriptions of trials, we'd all see it as a failure of the "justice system" if she went free.
Yet we cheer for her in the Millenium Trilogy; we can't seem to help ourselves. And therein lies what Stieg Larsson is trying to tell us with his challenging protagonist -- context is everything.
Larsson isn't simply writing a compelling series of thrillers (and I haven't been so locked into a book, as I was with GWPWF, for a very long time). He isn't simply fishing for a film deal. He isn't just sitting down to write a vapid bestseller. I'd even go so far as to say that Stieg Larsson is not a hack. Nowhere near. He is criticizing the very efficacy of what we so proudly call the "rule of law."
Larsson is suggesting that the "rule of law" fails because it has no room for context. It deals in absolutes (unless you're one of the super-rich or super-influential), and it doesn't give a damn whether you perceived a threat before you lit someone on fire; it doesn't care whether the sixteen year old you're having sex with is mature, in love with you and is totally willing; it doesn't care that you stole the car or killed someone to save a life; it doesn't care that you withheld evidence from the police to protect yourself or someone you love; it doesn't care that you hacked into computers for altruistic reasons; it doesn't care that you were bred to ultraviolence through nature and nurture; it doesn't care about you and it doesn't care about context. It just doesn't care, and because it doesn't care Larsson suggests that we should have a healthy disdain for the "rule of law" and recognize its terrible shortcomings because it is the structure we have to live with whether we like it or not.
Yet with all this, The Girl Who Played With Fire is -- most importantly -- a cracking read. It is fast paced, cinematic in its noirishness, full of suspense, has a genuine twist or two (one of which actually took me by surprise), a cast of characters it is almost impossible not to love and hate (as the mood takes you) -- even thought they are all rather static -- and it ends with a cliff hanger of the first order (I am guessing this is a problem for some readers, but I am a fan of the cliff hanger).
What a shame Stieg Larsson passed from us so soon. I could have read his books for the rest of my life.
Very short review due to the glitches on GR.
This is the second book in the trilogy. I loved it and I loved the movie. The book bogs down a little but it's all good.
Lisbeth is back and doing her own thing.
Lisbeth has been away from Mikael for some time. But, they come back together when Lisbeth is accused of killing that jerk rapist of hers.
Lisbeth looks into a sex trafficking ring that Mikael is involved in and finds out some things about her past she didn't want to know.
Her evil arse father is alive and she has a brother and they need to be taken out.
But this almost gets her killed.
Thank God Mikael was able to find her!
He had come.
He smelled of aftershave.
She hated the smell of him.
He...observed her for a long time.
She hated his silence.
Then he spoke to her. He had a dark, clear voice that stressed, pedantically, each word.
She hated his voice.
He laid the back of a moist hand on her forehead and ran his fingers along her hairline in a gesture that was probably intended to be friendly.
She hated his touch.
Lisbeth Salander is simply unforgettable.
I read the first book in this trilogy the year it was published in English and I remember the book so vividly that even five years later I transitioned into this book as if I’d just finished reading Dragon last week. Salander is 4’11”, but she walks across the literary landscape with such giant strides it is impossible to ignore her. People who have never read the books or seen the movies have a vague idea of who she is. People who have watched the movies or read the books may eventually forget her name decades from now, but they will not forget her persona; her verve; her courage.
Now before we start feeling all warm and fuzzy about Salander there are few problems with knowing her. If you cross her she might throw a Molotov cocktail through your window. She is unreliable, unrelenting, and if you own a computer she will know everything about you. She is a hacker extraordinaire and even though she is extremely private, almost maniacal about her own personal information, she has no problem hacking into your personal affairs after all YOU should have been more careful with it. Despite her bristly exterior and her tendency to answer questions with a stare or a monosyllabic response you might find yourself attracted to her. She has a lesbian friend Mimmi who tries to explain Salander’s relationship with sex.
”Apart from the fact that you’re not a dyke. You’re probably bisexual. But most of all you’re sexual--you like sex and you don’t care about what gender, You’re an entropic chaos factor.”
ENTROPIC CHAOS FACTOR, sounds mathematical and math does play a role in this novel, but my version of what Mimmi meant by that statement is that Salander is a person who will parachute in out of the blue, shag you until your nucleus becomes a comet, and then leave before you’ve had time to light your first coitus joint.
”A root of an equation is a number which substituted
into the equation instead of an unknown converts
the equation into an identity. The root is said to satisfy
the equation. Solving an equation implies finding
all of its roots. An equation that is always satisfied,
no matter the choice of values for its unknowns,
is called an identity.”
Salander solves complex math equations for relaxation purposes. Throughout the novel she is pursuing the answer to Fermat’s last theorem. Now in the 1990s Andrew Wiles solved the problem using the world’s most advanced computer programme which sounds like cheating to me. When she does figure out Fermat’s intention it is the only time I can remember Stieg Larsson recording his literary heroine...giggling.
Stieg Larsson is an interesting story. He delivered three novels to his publisher and shortly thereafter died from a heart attack, attributed to walking up seven flights of stairs. This unexpected demise helped launch the books onto the bestseller lists. We are morbid aren’t we. He was an investigative reporter by trade and there was an inquiry into whether foul play was involved. It seems he was just a 50 year old man that fate placed a situation in front of him, an out of service elevator, that provided the proper strain to his heart to kill him. What endears these novels to me, even more, is that he wrote them in the evenings as an escape from regular life. Now, there are issues with these books, the use of name brands over and over. You will tire of hearing Powerbook, IKEA and Billy’s Pan Pizza. If Larsson ate as many Billy’s Pan Pizza as Salander does in the book that might be the doughy rope that squeezed his heart.
Billy's Pan Pizza is YUMMY!!!
Click the link to check out the Billy's Pan Pizza television commercial. It is a hoot.
Despite any issues I had with the writing, and sometimes it was clunky, the raw power of the writing and a compelling plot made those issues irrelevant.
Salander gets along just fine with the majority of the population, but she hates men who hate women. She ran into several of those in the first book and one in particular is seared into my memory, Nils Bjurman. He is the lawyer that has been assigned to her competency case. She was declared incompetent by the courts and assigned Bjurman to take care of her affairs. Salander is a confident person sometimes too confident and in book one she underestimates her ability to control a situation with Bjurman. He turns the tables on her and brutally raped her. With a presence of mind that is beyond most of the rest of us she recorded the rape and even as he is doing the most sadistic things to her she is going over and over in her head where she made the mistake and what she was going to do to him if he allowed her to live. Interesting enough she lets him live, but holds the video over his head like the sword of Damocles.
Besides the video she does administer her own form of brutal vengeance, but there is a practicality to her decision not to kill him. The courts would simply assign her another mentor that she doesn’t have control of and of course she would have to weather an investigation into his murder. In this book she makes a similar mistake in her pursuit for the man responsible for inspiring the rage and the violence that swirls around her.
Mikael Blomkvist is back and when his team of writers unearth a white slavery ring he finds himself battling a controversial issue that may impact the highest levels of society. Underage girls are being brought from Russia and forced into prostitution. It would be an easy assumption to make that every member of society would want to eliminate a situation that allows young girls to be exploited against their will. One of the problems is that men in government, in positions of power, enjoy the availability of such young, beautiful girls for their own sexual perversions. Despite the fact that Salander is not talking to Blomkvist, he is baffled as to why, she is drawn into the investigation because of the use of the name of one man... Zalachenko. As she becomes the main focus of the investigation she is forced to go underground, a skill she is particularly adept at, and as the rocket fueled plot comes to a conclusion this reader couldn’t have put this book down even if the building was burning down around my ears because Salander... always... puts out a fire with gasoline.
See these tears so blue
An ageless heart
that can never mend
These tears can never dry
A judgement made
can never bend
See these eyes so green
I can stare for a thousand years
Just be still with me
You wouldn't believe what I've been thru
You've been so long
Well, it's been so long
And I've been putting out fire
putting out fire with gasoline