Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire :: Book Review

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium, #2)The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I had to describe this book in a word, that would be – unreal. The Girl Who Played with fire is the second book of the Millennium Series. Contrary to all the reviews, this book is a big drop in quality from the first book (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).

The book brings an insight into Larsson’s obsession, Lisbeth Salander. The story is about Lisbeth. The story is all about Lisbeth. Her vacation around the world with the money she had stolen (in Book #1), the huge apartment she purchases, her IKEA furniture, her pizzas and coffees, her computer and hacking, her sexual orientation… And some other things which I might have forgotten. Apart from obsessing over Lisbeth, the book takes over 100 pages to establish all the characters’ sexual orientations. Finally, it briefs the readers on the actual purpose of the book – sex trade in Sweden.

Dag Svensson, a freelance journalist, approaches Millennium with a story on sex trade in Sweden. His story has startling revelations and it threatens to expose some of Sweden’s high profile society individuals. Millennium accepts his offer and begins to work on publishing his book. However, he along with his girlfriend gets murdered one night and all evidence points to incriminate Lisbeth. Mikael Blomkvist (remember him book #1?) then begins an investigation of his own to save Lisbeth (although she had cut him off from her life for over a year). And that’s about what actually the book is.

The problem with the book is- there are many unimportant details in the book (no wonder it is 650 pages long). The actual story is lost in all that. Considering the fact that Larsson himself was a journalist, this is not acceptable to a reader. Apart from unimportant details, another irritating problem with the book is its redundancy. Many incidents are repeated from every other character’s point of view, which causes extreme irritation and impatience and the purpose seems lost. There are many examples that I can quote for this. However, I’d rather not get into that.

Where the book lacks in quality of content, it gains in quality of writing. Larsson is a first grade storyteller. There can be no doubt about that. The fact that he can keep a reader awake, make them turn page after page is sufficient a proof that there is quality writing in the book; enough to keep a reader hooked. The absurdity of content does not matter as long as it is written well. It fills an average reader’s appetite (which is why I suppose many people ‘enjoy’ it).

I however, did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The book has a dry start but it picks up with the start of the actual story. The moment it gets inside the story, it falls terribly. There is a complete shoddy police investigation (of the murders) and Lisbeth is absent from the scene for over 150 pages. I found both Lisbeth’s story and Millennium’s story, incomplete in the book. Granted Lisbeth’s story will be continued in the third book but if someone can justify Millennium’s story in this that would be a huge help. Perhaps, it might justify the title of the series.

Read it only if you have read the first book.

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