The Girl Who Played With Fire

I used to like to space out books in a series, but I’m moving off that trend. The dragon tattoo girl series hooked me on the first one big time. I loved it. So I recently grabbed book two in paperback with a Borders gift card. It was also good and I had trouble putting it down throughout the first half. But in the end, it was not nearly as good as the first one. Not even close, actually.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, I guess. Sophomore efforts rarely meet or exceed stellar first efforts. I was so fired up for book two that there was no way it could live up to my own, manufactured, hype machine. I wonder why I do that to myself. It was still great though.

I can’t really put my finger on the disappointment. Both of the main characters, Blomkvist and Salander, have lost a little of their vulnerability in my view. In this book they are much more in charge. But it’s a natural evolution I guess; they were underdogs in the first book and now they’re rich and famous (or infamous), so where else could it go.

That’s the evolution of the story.

** PLOT KILLERS FOLLOW **

This book picks up right after the last book and ends with a cliffhanger. It also includes an excerpt of the first chapter of book three, so I already know book three picks up just hours after book two. These three books are shaping up to be one epic story broken up into three manageable chunks.

There is a lot of stuff happening. The story is turning out to be so much more than just a mystery with a little international intrigue sprinkled in. There are a bunch of side stories, a huge back story, and detailed character studies. All of these aspects have loose ends and I’m betting not all of them will be tied up given that Larsson died before book one was even published.

The Blomkvist/Salander relationship is probably the biggest loose end. They spend almost no time in each others physical presence for the duration of book two, which is basically Salander’s doing. In fact, many of the loose ends center around Blomkvist and his success with the ladies. He’s bedding his editor and a member of his magazine’s board of directors, but you get the feeling that both relationships could end with very little emotion on Blomkvist’s end. But he’s clearly distraught about Salander’s lack of interest.

Salander is a one-of-a-kind character. She goes superspy in this book, but it makes sense once her back story is filled in.

I’ll be finishing the third in a few months I think. I don’t think I’ve ever read a trilogy in the expanse of a single year. This one seems worthy.