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The Girl Who Played with Fire Audiobook

The Girl Who Played with Fire: The Millennium Series, Book 2

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Audible Editor Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

The electrifying follow-up to the phenomenal best seller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ("An intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller" The Washington Post), and this time it is Lisbeth Salander, the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker, who is the focus and fierce heart of the story.

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

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (23829 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Janice NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ, United States 01-31-12
    Janice NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ, United States 01-31-12
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    "Excellent!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Girl Who Played with Fire the most enjoyable?

    The story line was quite entertaining and the inflection in the narrator's very pleasant voice made it all the more enjoyable. Love it!


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes it did. The many different characters and sub plots were developed in a way that made this a page turner.


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Have no idea


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E Rios North Hollywood, CA, United States 01-31-12
    E Rios North Hollywood, CA, United States 01-31-12
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    "Super awesome! Can't wait till I get my next fix"
    What made the experience of listening to The Girl Who Played with Fire the most enjoyable?

    The movie! It was a nice lead up to the next book


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Elizabeth Salander


    What three words best describe Simon Vance’s voice?

    intrinsic


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    At the end when Lizabeth Salander calls Michael and leaves him a message telling him that it was her, when she was nearly dying.


    Any additional comments?

    READ IT

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula United States 01-30-12
    Paula United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2015

    I want to read books that take me to a "place and/or time" I've never been. On the other hand, I love reading about places where I HAVE been.

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    "Does not Disappoint"

    Second of the Trilogy kept me on the edge of my seat and plugged into the earbuds.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Ham Lake, MN, United States 01-28-12
    Judy Ham Lake, MN, United States 01-28-12 Member Since 2012
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    2
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    "Great for our road trip."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Couldn't wait to get back in the car and continue driving. Definitely would recommend this.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    I can't believe how easily he seems to change his voice back and forth for the different characters.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula 01-26-12
    Paula 01-26-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Exciting"
    What did you love best about The Girl Who Played with Fire?

    This is the 2nd book in the trilogy and while the first book was hard to get into, this book grabbed by attention from the beginning.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Lizbeth takes out two thugs by her little tiny self.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book has a faster pace then the first book.


    Any additional comments?

    This series is a little hard to keep up with simply because the names of the characters are all so close, i.e. Bloomkist; Berger, Bergstrom, Blowblanski; and then all the

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Arlington, VA, United States 01-24-12
    Sarah Arlington, VA, United States 01-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Entertaining Listen, and Simon Vance is the best."
    What made the experience of listening to The Girl Who Played with Fire the most enjoyable?

    The books is intriguing and kept my interest, and I love Simon Vance as narrator. It's a very easy listen and has made my daily commute bearable.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I find the Millennium series entertaining and enjoy that fact that I cannot always predict the next plot twist. The writing is not the best and I would never rave about it as a literary work of art, but the story is fresh and the characters interesting enough. The simplistic text is great for listening in my car or anytime I need something to do.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    Simon Vance is amazing, and I enjoy listening to his voice. He is easy to understand, and adds depth and character to the text. I love that I can even distinguish which character is speaking based on his voice.


    Any additional comments?

    At times, I find this series frustrating both because of the implausibility of a given situation or character at times and the very overt feminist overtones throughout the book. I am all for feminism and the like, but sometimes it's so preachy and without nuance. It is a bit aggravating that all women seem to be victims or without moral wrongdoing (and anyone who disagrees is obviously a bigot). As a woman, I would have loved to see more dimensional female characters with more moral complexity... but oh well.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jess eureka, CA, United States 01-24-12
    jess eureka, CA, United States 01-24-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Best of the trilogy--Lisbeth Salander's Tale!"
    What did you love best about The Girl Who Played with Fire?

    I found this book to be the best in the trilogy. This was Lisbeth Salander's tale. Don't get me wrong, I was a big fan of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; however I found that while the mystery story line in the first book was interesting, it didn't hold a candle to the Salander-focused scenes in the book. Bottom line if you want more Salander you'll find it in spades in The Girl who Played with Fire.

    This book was very cinematic in the telling and because of that I was pulled completely into the story, even more so than the first novel which also did a great job of showing instead of telling.

    Sadly, I have to say the third and final book in this series was a major disappointment. The first two thirds of the novel was mostly narrative description of Swedish governmental workings and was Blomquist centric to say the least. Yawn. Most of Salander's action is stymied by the fact that she is literally incapacitated for the majority of the novel. I must say the overall series was good enough that I would have been compelled to read The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest even if I had a crystal ball to tell me how disappointed and, for most of the book, bored I would be.

    But I digress..if you want a pull you in, keep you up late reading, nerd out and immediately have to rent the movie type experience, read The Girl who Played with Fire--it really stands on its own.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Sussex, WI, United States 12-18-11
    Linda Sussex, WI, United States 12-18-11 Member Since 2014

    Was an avid reader as a child, young adult. Now able to recapture that same thrill and love of stories by listening to books during the day.

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    "Excellent sequel!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Girl Who Played with Fire to be better than the print version?

    Mr. Vance's voices add great character to the story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Lisbeth Salander starts off right where The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo left off.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The incredible ending! What a story. Bravo!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When lisbeth left her home.


    Any additional comments?

    A great read. Can't wait to read the next book in the trilogy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Charlotte, NC, United States 12-13-11
    Kim Charlotte, NC, United States 12-13-11
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    10
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    "Awesome from beginning to end..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Girl Who Played with Fire to be better than the print version?

    I loved the audio version, because I could easily distinguish between characters and changes in scenes. Also, with all the Swedish pronunciations, I could sit back, relax, and have the story talk to me.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    I couldn't stop listening, and at times would find a reason to take a drive, just to keep going. With Lisbeth, you never knew what was going to happen next. As the plot unraveled, there were more and more surprises. Incredible story.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved it from beginning to end. Every scene led to the next, and the entire book led to the next book.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm sad that there is only one more book in the series. These are incredible characters in an incredible set of circumstances. Just an awesome story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn San Jacinto, CA, United States 12-12-11
    Carolyn San Jacinto, CA, United States 12-12-11

    CiCi loves mysteries and thrillers

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    "Bravo!"

    I am a reader, not a writer. The Stieg Larsson books are at the top of my list.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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