‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’

Wow! Another fantastic book by Stieg Larsson that kept me in suspense until the very end!

I absolutely love the pairing of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander! I was desperate for them to work together again, though I was pleased that Lisbeth remained true to herself at the end of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and for most of The Girl Who Played With Fire. After using her computer skills to steal billions from the shady businessman, Wennerström…Salander takes herself off on a well-deserved break! She breaks all contact with Mikael at the end of the last book and only reinstates communication between the two of them when she is thrust into the public eye and wanted for murder! Mikael is desperate to find out who the murderer is, not only because he can’t believe that Lisbeth is guilty but because the victims were his friends and he is certain that they were murdered because of a book that ‘Millennium’ were publishing for them and a huge name & shame issue of the magazine, which would incriminate a lot of high-ranking police officers among other people. So how did Salander get mixed up in all of this!? More interestingly, how did her prints end up on the gun that killed the young couple?! Well, that is what Mikael needs to find out…

This book focuses much more on Salander than the first book did and I loved discovering new things about her, although she was often reluctant to give up the information! There are lots of moments that make you seriously consider what it is that you actually know about her rather than what is being portrayed by the other characters/media etc. However, I was always sure that she’d be alright! I never feared for her safety until that bit!!! But as guarded as Lisbeth is, she knew exactly which people to let into her life and this pays off! In recent years I’ve made a conscious effort not to bother with people who don’t reciprocate, not to the extent that Salander chooses her acquaintances but it was interesting to see the extreme side of it! I have been let down by SO many people that I’m slowly becoming hardened to being let down…What is really interesting is that in this book, however reluctant, Salander and Mikael are very close – even though they don’t see each other face-to-face until the very end! Salander is shocked that Mikael knows her so well, this is alien territory for her! But she is relieved when she does see him at the end of the book – unlike the first book, I feel that they will be friends in the third novel – as long as there is mutual respect!

So, how does she end up in this situation!?

Well, classic Salander…she hacks Mikael’s computer and finds out what he’s working on. Then, for reasons that we are unsure of…she goes to visit the young couple, Mia and Dag at their flat. Shortly after, they are both murdered. Her prints are on the gun that killed them. In a parallel storyline, her distrustful guardian Bjurman is fed up with being under Salander’s control and decides to contact someone called ‘Zala’ – incidentally, this is the name that sparked Salander’s interest in Mikael’s research and is what she has gone to speak to Mia and Dag about. The stories intertwine and the suspense continues right until the very end!

If you loved the first book, you won’t be disappointed with this one! I had intended to read the books sporadically but I don’t think I can wait to read the third and final book! Larsson writes the characters so clearly and they stubbornly remain true to themselves throughout, although I think by the end of the book, Salander realises that Mikael isn’t just going to give up on her…she may well have to let him into her life full-time! This is a fantastic book, which kept me in suspense until the very end!