The past couple weeks me and my family have been battling against a barrage of flue, colds and coughs special no-thanks to the sickening rain that’s quite taking a hold of my town for over a month. Did not run. Did not draw. Did not travel. But I read, and loved the experience deeply. The book is The Girl Who Played With Fire by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson.
‘Played with Fire’ is the direct sequel of the smash hit The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which features the gifted hacker with photographic memory Lisbeth Salander and her loyal friend and crusading journalist Mikael Blomqvist. If you’re a fan of the first book then you are definitely going to enjoy this one. Even for newcomers into the franchise can easily fall prey to the intense and gripping story of the sequel. On my personal standpoint I really think ‘Dragon Tattoo’ is an incredible stand-alone story, sequel aren’t necessary and only categorically inferior spin-off. But ‘Played with Fire’ definitely stands a strong ground as an equal if not the better of the two, or perhaps the best in the Millennium trilogy. It’s pretty damn good.
The story took place two years after the events of ‘Dragon Tattoo’ where our oddball heroine finds herself hunted by the police as a prime suspect in the murder of two journalists who were about to bust open the sex trade. Mikael Blomqvist finds himself in a quest to prove Lisbeth Salander’s innocence, if she really didn’t commit the crimes. It’s another gripping tale set in the realistic backdrop of our decaying society, this in our inability to tolerate the abuses in the growing sex trade. But for those who are sensitive regarding these topics, it’s a relief the author didn’t focus in the crimes, violence, sexuality and other mature subject matters. ‘Played with fire’ is a bit toned downed compare to ‘Dragon Tattoo’ in those departments.But the best thing about this sequel is the undeniable growth of the story-telling prowess of Stieg Larsson, as if this guy put on decades worth of experience into writing the sequel. Thanks God he departed to that not-so-exciting journalistic monologues and turned into a real pro literary wonder. Larsson got the talent to write tantalizing stories even if they’re of mature and sensitive nature, this time with complete control of his style in building exhilarating thrillers.
Take note the three books of the Millennium Series were written in relatively brief time after another before Larsson turned their manuscripts simultaneously to the publishing company. So that really speaks a lot to the legacy of Mr. Larsson who passed away shortly afterwards. He never saw his works caught fire around the world. He planned to make a series of 10 books.
The Girl Who Played With Fire is an adorable thriller of deep mystery, crime, conspiracy, trust and of fighting back. It got some new kicks and tricks with an incredibly intriguing and thicker plot to prove a firm hold of being the best in the series and even entire genre. This book is highly recommended. Now I can’t wait to start the third one, but, wait I think I shall first go over with the movie adaptation!
[cover photo from moviedex.com; book cover from goodreads.com]