"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire

TITLE: The Girl Who Played with Fire
AUTHOR: Stieg Larsson

There are times in reading this that I wished Larsson had been a better writer, but those moments were fleeting. Except for one poorly constructed sentence, Larsson somehow managed to enthrall me with the same intensity as he had with his first book of the Millennium trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He wrote in a fairly straightforward manner, with an omniscient narrator and using simple sentences and explaining, sometimes in great detail, everything a character is doing, even if the scene doesn't add to the plot or fill in background. And yet, it all holds together, bringing the characters to life and keeping me reading.

Unlike the first book, I didn't figure out anything of significance, though in hindsight, I should've known! What I should've known, I won't say, but my guesses this time were a bit off the mark.

The plot hinges on the murder of a journalist who's investigating the sex trade of underage girls and of his girlfriend, a criminologist about to complete her PhD. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist continues the work, and then takes on the additional burden of trying to prove his one-time research assistant (from the previous book), the enigmatic and inscrutable Lisbeth Salander, didn't commit the crimes despite her fingerprints being on the murder weapon.

Meanwhile, Lisbeth is hunting the man responsible for "All the Evil" in her past, a hunt that somehow connects -- no surprise -- with Blomkvist's investigation. Lisbeth is an amazing creation and Blomkvist now holds a special place in my heart where my favorite characters dwell. I am so glad these books are living up to the hype.

The book isn't neatly tied up at the end and the next one continues the story almost immediately. Which is why, since I don't like carrying around hardcovers and it will be a while before the mass market paperback (the format in which I read the first 2), I am now reading book 3 on my Kindle.