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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 (24516 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    gena 03-10-10
    gena 03-10-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    44
    7
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    Overall
    "Awesome Mystery"

    An awesome mystery that would have been much better had the author left out the graphic lesbian details. Nonetheless, an entertaining plot that I had a hard time turning off.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanna 02-01-10
    Joanna 02-01-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Just love it!!!"

    Just love it!!!. Even better than the first one!!!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RickyF United States 01-12-10
    RickyF United States 01-12-10 Member Since 2008
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    "I liked this book quite a bit"

    Larsson was a wonderful writer. This book is worth the read if you like thriller/murder/mystery books.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Woodbridge, VA, USA 01-11-10
    David Woodbridge, VA, USA 01-11-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exellent read, exhillerating thiller"

    This is an excellent read. Keeps you at the edge of your seat, you won't be able to stop listening. Skip work if you can and discover Sweden and the bizarre world of Lizbeth.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dottie B. Washington DC 01-11-10
    Dottie B. Washington DC 01-11-10 Member Since 2006

    Dotdumdum

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overall very enjoyable"

    I really like this book, and I like listening to the reader a great deal.
    The only negative is that it was way too wordy at times.
    Even with the wordiness, I still would recommend it. I really wish the author were still alive!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    justin black 10-10-09

    JnB

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredibly well written!"

    I loved this book 110%! I thought that, with luck, this book might be as good as the first book, but never imagined it could be even better! After reading the Girl with the Dragon tattoo, I was thoroughly intrigued by Salamen. Although her style was outrageous, it was totally logical and therefore believable. She's the underdog heroine who understands how to gain an advantage. This book explained her life and perspective. I disagree with other reviewers that found the sexual violence overwhelming. I thought it was a much bigger part of the first novel and played a pretty minor role in this one. Although sometimes all the names were hard to keep track of, it helps to know that in advance, so you can pay special attention to the Swedish sounds. It's the same for foreigners who hear "John" and "Joan" without the English frame of reference. Although there are very few lovable characters in this book, they are all very interesting and craftily intertwined. It really makes you want to read a book on each new lovable character that gets involved. The book captured my interest right away, but that may have been partly because I had read the first book pretty recently, and I realized how weird it was to think of Salander on vacation. It kept me interested all the way through. I love the way little details are thrown in. It made it really lucid and believable. I can't wait for the last book!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris H 01-22-16
    Chris H 01-22-16 Member Since 2012

    System and software engineer from the UK now living and working in Silicon Valley.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "As good as everyone says it is."

    This is a good continuation from the background in the first Millennium book. I am not going to give spoilers, even though most people may already know the story. Unfortunately books two and three are really just one book. An argument could be made that if you look upon this as the Salander story instead of the Millennium story then the split is more reasonable. So in the end I have absolutely no problem with this, other than the slightly misleading title.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chippie 06-22-15
    Chippie 06-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Best series ever"

    I can't wait to listen to the next installment to this series. Love the characters and the narrator, it's one of the best books ever. You just don't want it to end!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PhyllisF 06-19-12
    PhyllisF 06-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story, Wonderful Performance"
    What did you love best about The Girl Who Played with Fire?

    Could not stop listening, had me at the first 5 minutes. And the narration by Simon Vance was outstanding. I love his voice and how he reads this book to you. I will listen to anything he narrates. He kept it the same throughout this fantastic journey of the trilogy. Wish there could have been more.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    Everything, but his voice is fantastic. I loved his narration.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Mauro Colorado Springs, CO 06-04-12
    Heather Mauro Colorado Springs, CO 06-04-12 Member Since 2013

    HRM

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lisbeth!!!!!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Girl Who Played with Fire the most enjoyable?

    This story is just awesome. Part 2 of a trilogy that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Loved every minute!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lisbeth...obviously!


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

    Mikael B


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

    There are a lot of parts in the book that made me laugh out loud or say "what the H3!!". Very captivating!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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