The Girl who Played with Fire

By Stieg Larsson (Translated from Swedish by Reg Keeland)

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009

Genres: Thriller, mystery, suspense

Series: Millennium trilogy; 2

ISBN: 9780307269980

Intended audience: adult

Number of pages: 503

Settings: Stockholm, Sweden and Grenada

Time period: around 2004 – 2005

Plot summary: Lisbeth Salander is an extremely introverted genius hacker who has few friends and has been dealt much more than her share of injustice throughout her life.  This has helped mold her moral codes.  After helping the journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, to expose “the Wennerström affair” Salander needed a break from her realities of life (see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and travelled around the world before returning to Stockholm to re-establish her life.  Unfortunately upon her return to Stockholm, her life catches up with her and she soon finds herself the focus of a police investigation for triple murder.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Slightly slower pace in the beginning of the story as readers are introduced to the characters.  The pace increases as the story unfolds and becomes relentlessly fast by the end of the book.

Characterization: Told in third person primarily through Salander.  The main secondary character is Blomkvist; some other character perspectives are also included.  All of the primary characters live detailed lives which ring true.

Frame: The beginning of the story is set in Grenada where Salander encounters an out of season hurricane with an anomaly.  This hurricane makes a great metaphor for the rest of the story – a dark and destructive freak storm.

Story line: While some of the events of Salander’s life hardly seem realistic, the story rings true as a whole and deals with many uncomfortable issues, such as: sex trafficking, how society deals with mentally challenged (and other differently abled) people, and deeply rooted sexism in political and social constructs.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Human trafficking — Fiction.

Journalists — Sweden — Stockholm — Fiction.

Computer hackers — Sweden — Stockholm — Fiction.

Murder — Investigation — Fiction.

Stockholm (Sweden) — Fiction.

Suspense fiction

Similar authors: From Amazon – Charlie Huston, Michael Connelly

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

Personal notes: An absolutely, fantastic book!  Lisbeth Salander kicks ass!  I did not want to put this book down the whole time I was reading it.  I haven’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yet.  I do intend to, but it wasn’t necessary to enjoy this book.

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity: Socially challenged – extreme introversion, lesbians, bi-sexuals, hackers, Swedes, Grenadians


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