Stieg Larsson was a crusading Swedish journalist, committed to the fight against political extremism and racism in his home country. In his spare time he completed a trilogy of striking crime novels, which he delivered to his publishers just before his untimely death in 2004. The first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, centred on Mikhail Blomkvist, a crusading journalist with a social conscience; its sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, shifts focus onto the socially awkward computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, who becomes entangled in an investigation into sex trafficking, murder, and establishment corruption. This unusual central character is the story's main strength, allowing it to stand apart from the raft of contemporary and classic crime novels which Larsson fondly draws on. An expert hacker and mathematics-obsessive, Salander is a clenched fist of a character; difficult, psychologically traumatised, and capable of extreme violence.
Simon Vance endows her with the accent of an East London street urchin, a fitting voice for this embattled woman. While his narration is crisp, Vance's other characters range from working-class Northern English accents for Blomkvist, assorted police, and journalists, while others are given accents somewhere between Scandinavian and Bela Lugosi. However, as the plot thickens, such incongruities are forgotten, and a compelling social reality is created by Vance's skilled performance, which includes a sensitive rendition of a stroke victim's voice. Vance's cool delivery also suits the reportage feel of much of the writing; characters are introduced through their occupation, address, and educational background, while a mass of tiny observations (such as coffee mugs decorated with the logo of the civil service union) at times convey the tone of a police report. It is a tribute to Vance's delivery that the narrative thrust carries the accumulation of detail effortlessly from one action-packed set-piece to the next.
Larsson's published books have been a European phenomenon, due less, perhaps, to any narrative or thematic innovations as to the author's visceral anger at social injustice and the mistreatment of the vulnerable, particularly women. Violence against women is the work's central motif: the Swedish title of the first book in the series translates as Men Who Hate Women, and Salander is "the woman who hates men who hate women". In fact, there is an element of salacious revenge fantasy to much of her actions as she fights fire with fire; the story treads a fine line between condemning sadism and revelling in sadistic imagery. The real enemy of the tale is institutionalised machismo: policemen are loutish, rape is endemic, and villains enjoy guns, motorbikes, and magazines about motorbikes. Everyone, meanwhile, summers in wood shacks in the Swedish countryside.
While very much part of a larger whole (there are numerous references to events that occurred in the first part of the trilogy), The Girl Who Played with Fire stands alone as a highly enjoyable, if not always smooth - and often disquieting - mixture of classic crime tropes, searing violence, and vivid characterization. Dafydd Phillips
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.
On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered. But perhaps more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander.
Now, as Blomkvist, alone in his belief in her innocence, plunges into his own investigation of the slayings, Salander is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.
Listen to the rest of The Millennium Trilogy.
©2009 Stieg Larsson; (P)2009 Random House
“Boasts an intricate, puzzle-like story line . . . even as it accelerates toward its startling and violent conclusion.” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
“[A] gripping, stay-up-all-night read.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Gripping stuff. . . . A nail-biting tale of murder and cover-ups.” (People)
The story, the characters & Swedish setting made this captivating for me.
Lisbeth the main character is such a well-developed and interesting character. I missed her once I finished the series!
Simon Vance did an incredible job narrating!
Should have been longer enjoyed it so much
Just a great follow on from the girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Well interpreted vocals
realistic and happy ending
less reviewing of the facts in the concluding of this story
first time listening, Very impressive delivery
no, the story was too long
I, like many others, was wondering if this second book could live up to the intensity of the first one. It did! It explains some flashbacks of Lisbeth from the first book and it dwelves more in to her character and her story. While I would not recommend this book if you do not want to hear about the gritty details (though truthful) of sex trading or anyone who is squeamish when it comes to characters who are sexually perverse (not my cup of tea, either), this is actually a refreshing novel that keeps you captivated! Is it one of the best books of all time? No. But it does keep you on the edge of you seat and you want to keep listening!
The book is long and I don't have a lot of time to read a good portion of the book each day, so instead I listen as I do my driving or small jobs around the house
I listened to Girl With the Dragon Tatoo
Larsson has once again crafted a masterful novel. This sequel flows seamlessly from the previous book, bringing back favorite characters while introducing new, equally fascinating friends and even more sinister enemies. Larsson's ability to create characters you care about, even minor ones, is amazing. To be fair, I felt that some of Lisbeth's actions in the beginning seemed out of character for her, but this was easily overlooked as the story progressed and her mindset at the time became clearer. Overall, this was an excellent book, and I once again eagerly look forward to the next story in the trilogy.
I would definitely recommend this to friends. It is so well written and kept my interest through the whole book.
Normally, when I read, there's usually a lull of interest for me in the story line. I don't have a lot of books I
I've only listened to the Millennium series so far, but he did a great job in those books. Good use of voices, knowledge of languages, and intonation. I'm looking for more of his works now.
In the middle. It was fun and interesting.
Yes. It was interesting.
The final scene in the kitchen.
Very exciting and finally all the questions from her background are revealed. Could't put the book down. Can't wait to listen to book 3.
The story line was quite entertaining and the inflection in the narrator's very pleasant voice made it all the more enjoyable. Love it!
Yes it did. The many different characters and sub plots were developed in a way that made this a page turner.
His voice is incredible. As I mentioned previously, he really captures the characters by fine tuning the inflection in his voice in perfect harmony with the story. I would probably listen to anything he narrates. Big fan!
Have no idea
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