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"Godly people find life; evil people find death." -- Proverbs 11:19

If you enjoyed Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you're in for a treat: This is Lisbeth's story, explaining how such a brilliant woman came to be a ward of the state, taken "care of" by a pervert lawyer. What's more, she's on the run . . . first from her disappointment in loving Mikael Blomkvist, and later from the authorities who rely on circumstantial evidence to decide that she's a murderer. With all of Sweden after her, can Lisbeth outwit her foes?

The story is very much a David and Goliath conflict: Tiny Lisbeth is pitted against rich, powerful, and evil enemies who wish her the very worst they can wish. In developing that theme, Stieg Larsson raises fascinating fundamental questions about duality in the reader's mind such as when strength is weakness and weakness is strength, when doing good leads to evil and when doing evil leads to doing good, when friendship is more important than love and love leads to friendship, what the basis for personal morality should be and when public morality is immoral, and how the family bonds can be horrible while friendship bonds can be redeeming. You'll walk away from this book with a more objective view of the next news story you read about a crime and its punishment.

Stieg Larsson makes quite a bit of Lisbeth's extraordinary intellect. When she's running circles around conventional people, you'll feel like you are reading all about Robin Hood again. Those sections provide something of a letdown however for readers when they have to go back to following the conventional people as they bumble around. I found myself impatient for the next dose of Lisbeth several times in the book's middle.

As in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this book pulls off the respectable front of the rich and powerful to reveal the evil underneath, the sick predators who will stop at nothing to satisfy their every whim. Be ready to be dragged through the mud of gross human depravity. Like a modern-day Joan of Arc, Lisbeth doesn't let the muck stick to her as she slogs through it.

Enjoy!!!!!!
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Lisbeth Salander is one of the most original and intriguing characters to appear in modern literature for a very long time. When was the last time you came across a featherweight female boxer with more than a touch of Asperger's syndrome; with strong kung-fu when it comes to computer hacking skills and an unstoppable fighting spirit when it comes to physical blows; with a photographic memory and an uncanny ability to grasp mathematics; a master of social engineering and a ghost of disguises; a formidable chess player and an enemy few people could afford to make?
It is Pipi Longstockings with breast implants, real guns and a killer PowerBook!

Whereas the first installment of the MILLENNIUM Trilogy was more on publisher Mikael Blomkvist and his quest to solve a decades old locked-room/island mystery, this second book gives us a ample view on Lisbeth's history as she straggles to clear her name of a triple murder. She had both motive and opportunity and all physical evidence points to her. Was she desperate enough to actually have done it? What could possibly push her over the edge?

Women trafficking, rogue agents of the Soviet GRU and the Swedish Sapo trying to keep their crimes in the shadows, biker gangs and obscure members of Lisbeth's family all interweave in a very absorbing story that kept me turning pages into the morning hours.
And amongst the fog of all this war, Lisbeth comes up with Fermat's alleged elegant solution to his Last Theorem on her own (no, unfortunately the solution is not described in detail).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Lisbeth Salander is one of the most original and intriguing characters to appear in modern literature for a very long time. When was the last time you came across a featherweight female boxer with more than a touch of Asperger's syndrome; with strong kung-fu when it comes to computer hacking skills and an unstoppable fighting spirit when it comes to physical blows; with a photographic memory and an uncanny ability to grasp mathematics; a master of social engineering and a ghost of disguises; a formidable chess player and an enemy few people could afford to make?
It is Pipi Longstockings with breast implants, real guns and a killer PowerBook!

Whereas the first installment of the MILLENNIUM Trilogy was more on publisher Mikael Blomkvist and his quest to solve a decades old locked-room/island mystery, this second book gives us a ample view on Lisbeth's history as she straggles to clear her name of a triple murder. She had both motive and opportunity and all physical evidence points to her. Was she desperate enough to actually have done it? What could possibly push her over the edge?

Women trafficking, rogue agents of the Soviet GRU and the Swedish Sapo trying to keep their crimes in the shadows, biker gangs and obscure members of Lisbeth's family all interweave in a very absorbing story that kept me turning pages into the morning hours.
And amongst the fog of all this war, Lisbeth comes up with Fermat's alleged elegant solution to his Last Theorem on her own (no, unfortunately the solution is not described in detail).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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on August 21, 2009
There's a reason why Mr. Larsson's series of three Millenium books is so hot in Europe. The books are based on excellent character development and elusive, but ultimately credible plots. Knowing that the third book in the series won't be available in English until January 2010, I didn't want the "The Girl Who Played With Fire" to end, but that didn't stop me from putting on a full-court press to finish the book - that's how keen I was to read on! It's a great piece of mystery fiction. Lisbeth Salander, the "Girl" referred to in the title, is an extraordinary character who lives on in the imagination well beyond the pages of the books.
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on November 22, 2009
To not like this would be to not have a beating heart. The novel crafted by Mr.Larsson flows beautifully, and there are some excellent plot devices put to use here. For instance, those who have read the first book in the trilogy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, will know that the point of view changes quite often between the characters. Well, in this book, one of the most gripping effects is when one characters' storyline goes missing for quite sometime, making for an ultimately more-rewarding payoff when the reader finds out what did transpire with that character.
Anyhow, there is a reason these books were worthy of billboard sized advertizing in Europe in the Summer of 2009--they're terrific. Can't wait for the third to hit North America! Great gift for someone who could use some escapist fiction, but who also likes to be engaged in what they read.
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on May 28, 2014
The best crime fiction written in the last 10 years, and sadly the second last of Stieg Larsson's wonderful books. Mr Larsson died in his mid 50's from heart disease after running up the stairs to his office. Buy both books together, so you don't have to go running to the store only to find they're out of Hornet's Nest and you're going to have to wait a week or a month for the resolution. It is a satisfying cliff hanger, but you really do want to know the rest of the story.

Like the Martin Beck novels of Mai Sjowall and Per Wahloo (the other great Swedish detective series in 10 volumes) they are social commentary in the guise of the "detective" or "crime" genre. Larsson was planning a total of 10 novels of which the first was released before his death (The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo) and the latter two were released afterwards, and there are minor glitches which the hyper aware will catch but which do not interfere with the stories. Three of the best novels you're likely to read in the next decade.
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When I first read The Girl With The Dragon TattooI was so impressed. Here was a very unique book written by a MAN who seemed to be genuinely sensitive, understanding and empathic to women who have, far too often in history, been the victims of violence from anything emotionally/verbally, physically and sexually abusive at the hands of their significant others to being brutally assaulted sexually and murdered by serial killers who they had never even had previous contact with. Stieg Larsson really got it! Oh happy day!

This book, a sequel to the abovementioned novel, is EVEN BETTER if you could believe that were possible. It gets down and deep into the life of a one Lisbeth Salander who early on became the victim of sexualt assault, falling through the cracks of an inefficient and overburdened child welfare system in Sweden only to be sexually assaulted again. Much as something like this could happen in the United States,she is labelled and discarded as a psychopathic lesbian Satanist while such "pillars of society" as judges, police officers and journalists run free exploiting women from Eastern Europe deceived into the sex trade. Of course when three individuals are found murdered, one of them Salander's former guardian who had sexually assaulted her previously, it is automatically assumed that Salander is the perpetrator. How reminiscent of the more intelligent, skilled and resourceful women in history who the minute they showed ANY backbone in their own defense they were often labeled "witches" and it was justified by "the system" to have them burnt at the stake!

I am not done reading the book, have only completed 398 pages of the 630 it contains but I was compelled to write this review. I have been a social worker for 32 years many of them spent working with victims of domestic violence. It bothers me that churches do not spend more time praying for the victims of violence both women and children and instead spent an inordinate of time praying for the "rights of the unborn". What about the rights of those who have already made it into this world? Do THEY not count? Anyway here's to hoping Salander has a happy ending at the end of this book. At the point where I am at now she seems to be in a great deal of trouble based solely on circumstantial evidence.
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The late Stieg Larsson centered his Millennium Trilogy around cruelty towards women -- and the second of the trilogy, "The Girl Who Played With Fire," is a tightly wound thriller that is almost as good as the first. It lacks some of the raw, wild, dark energy, but it tangles together some razor-sharp social commentary (sex trafficking) with a plot centering on Lisbeth Salander.

A year after "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," Millennium magazine has a new reporter -- Dag Svensson and his girlfriend Mia are doing reports/books on sex trafficking and prostitution. At the same time, Lisbeth Salander has returned to Stockholm, and is cybereavesdropping on Mikael and Millennium -- only to discover an all-too-familiar name in Mia's sex trafficking report. Zala.

Then Mikael finds both of them shot dead in their apartment, and Nils Bjurman -- the cruel "guardian" who raped Lisbeth -- has also been murdered.

Lisbeth is the only suspect. But Mikael firmly believes she didn't do it -- especially since a hostile blond giant is going around beating up anyone (a trainer, a casual girlfriend) who might know Lisbeth's whereabouts. As Lisbeth goes on her own dark mission, she tells Mikael that he should look for someone named "Zala" -- but it turns out this mystery man has ties to Lisbeth's own dark past.

Lisbeth Salander was something of a mystery in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" -- we knew she was troubled, a brilliant hacker, and had been in a psych ward. But "The Girl Who Played With Fire" rips away all that mystery and shows us where Lisbeth Salander came from, and how she became a lonely, punky avenging angel. It's pretty nasty, and it ends on a cliffhanger (for crying out loud!).

The biggest problem with this story is Larsson's story feels more scattered and hard to follow. But his style is still brilliant -- gritty and grimy, with lots of unpolished fighting, bloody violence, and some moments of sweetness (Lisbeth visiting her elderly ex-guardian). The most disturbing parts are undeniably the glimpses of Lisbeth's past, as well as the brutal descriptions of the sex trade (a man raping a girl to "train" her).

And it's all wound around more unpleasant aspects of modern Swedish society, centering on cruelty towards women -- sex trafficking in a modern country, and the evil "Zala's" ability to get away with anything he wanted.

And while Mikael is still a major force in this book, the spotlight is on Lisbeth, especially since Larsson sketches out a backstory for her (including a brain-damaged mother, her boxing skills, a twin sister, and so on). She's all half-healed hurts, wildcat energy and avenging dark angel mentality -- and there's something weirdly hypnotic about a character so completely outside the lines of "normal" society.

The Girl Who Played With Fire" doesn't have the spark of the first book, but it still has an electric brilliance and scathing social exploration. Just be sure to have the third book on hand by the time you finish.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 28, 2010
Book 2 in the "Millennium" trilogy

The heroes of the past are back in this second story which is even more eccentric than the first one. A tale that is violent, complex, outrageous , barely believable and filled with strange characters but one that is highly captivating and totally engrossing, a great sequel to " The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".

Lisbeth Salander , is one of the most original and memorable characters to surface in a long time. Playing an even more central role this time as she is the prime suspect in a triple murder. Hunted both by the police and enemies from her past she goes into hiding. Blomkvist, is one of the few who believes in her innocence and makes it his mission to find her and uncover the real culprit.

Mr Larsson writing is colourful and suspense filled. The storyline is intricate, a real puzzle, it is packed with incidents, thrills and details, it juggles many stories in parallel while it moves back and forth in the life of Lisbeth and ultimately has a surprisingly violent ending. He has Criminal Inspector Bublanski and his team tracking down Lisbeth and on another level he has Blomkvist and private investigator Armansky on a quest to exonerate her. In another twist he has Lisbeth, herself on a crusade to revenge her past and come to terms with the horrors she has suffered. Many secondary characters, good guys and villains are added into the mix, a bit mind bending to keep tabs of but very entertaining.

The end is a cliff-hanger leaving some loose ends, the perfect recipe to follow up with a subsequent instalment. I am looking forward to it.
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With this second story in the Millennium trilogy, Larsson truly enters the Hall of mystery-thriller writers. As Larsson was probably only beginning to whet our appetites in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", he now breaks through into a realm of murder mystery that offers basically everything the reader is looking for. There is no end to the suspense, violence and horror in this modern tale; plenty of fast action, great character development, and some unbelievable moments of truth await the reader who is prepared to open his or her mind to some new possibilities in literature. Here is my famous list of ten observations about the "The Girl Who Played with Fire" that might help any newcomers to Larrson get into this series:
A. Larrson is especially effective at creating realistically disturbing scenes that follow through to completion;
B. This particular story sets out to test the mettle of the main star, child prodigy Lisbeth Salander,in action. While she will have a supporting cast of journalists and private investigators ready to come to her defence, this particular battle with the forces of evil is hers to win with some minor twists. Be prepared for some disturbing and ironic features surfacing in her life as she becomes the target of a conspiracy to destroy her;
C. Larsson is a master at unexpectedly springing on his readers certain unsettling information that requires a lot of getting use to. I would hazard to say that this penchant for tolerating the unusual says a lot about the modern Swedish culture. After all, the multi-talented Lisbeth Salander is no ordinary woman when it comes to assaulting conventional sensibilities;
D. There is more to this story than a typical David-Goliath conflict. As usual, lots of interesting description and discussion of national issues such as sexual expression, the sex trade, right-wing politics and organized crime;
E. This novel grows in intensity as it seeks resolution to the many problems it has raised;
F. The novel allows the reader to sample a fine slice of Swedish culture with respect to dress, food, architecture, customs, and social values;
G. Even in translation, the prose in this book is smooth and enlightening;
H. While some of the scenes in the storyline may seem over the top, remember this is a well-crafted thriller that takes licence in offering up sensational descriptions at the expense of penetrating analysis. Many of the key moments in the story are so gripping as to draw the reader into the action;
I. Larrson has the knack to take his readers right to the edge of the abyss when it comes to excitement, disgust and fear;
J. In the end, survival becomes the only true redeeming factor in an otherwise bleary account of humanity.
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