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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • 3 Stars
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GREAT BOOK

If you could sum up The Girl Who Played with Fire in three words, what would they be?

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS THAT I HAVE READ. AMAZING THE WAY THE CHARACTER IS DEVELOPED.

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

THE MYSTERY WAS THERE

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

AN OLDER LADY RECOMMENDED THIS BOOK TO ME BASED ON THE TYPE OF BOOKS THAT SHE KNEW I LIKED TO READ. THIS BOOK ONE WAS MY FIRST OF THE THREE BOOK SERIES BY VANCE.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

MY HUSBAND AND I LISTENED TO IT FROM UPPER EASTERN PART OF NORTH CAROLINA TO FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA. WE LISTEN TO THE END AND IT WAS GREAT AND WE WANTED TO HEAR THE WHOLE STORY.

Any additional comments?

I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO OTHERS. THE GUY READING THE BOOK DID A GOOD JOB!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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magnificant

absoutley magnificant, expertly writtened, could not ask for a better read, and of course the book was much better than the movie.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Can't believe what happened!

What made the experience of listening to The Girl Who Played with Fire the most enjoyable?

Details! Details! Details!

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

Yes, the author puts you on a thrill ride throughout the book!

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

On Zalachenko's farm

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marie
  • Alexandia, VA, United States
  • 04-10-12

Perfect, I want more

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Good flow, wonderful, clear, strong, concise story line. Great characters. Strong narrative.

What did you like best about this story?

Unlikely, flawed, super hero.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • Yuba City, CA, United States
  • 04-09-12

Intriging

What did you love best about The Girl Who Played with Fire?

The story, very well written.

What other book might you compare The Girl Who Played with Fire to and why?

The girl with the dragon tattoo. The sequel followed up nicely, even better, in my opinion

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Loved his accent and he was able to pronounce the words appropriately.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Better than the First.

What did you love best about The Girl Who Played with Fire?

I liked that I already knew the characters and that the author and the narrator continued to develope them.

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

Yes I could not wait for another session with my player to see what happened next.

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

Simon Vance has the ability to inflect for the many characters, and he is so consistent that the characters come to life.

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

Kalle Blomkvist, Lisbeth Salander REDUX

Any additional comments?

Cant wait to hear the 3rd part of the Trilogy.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Beth
  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States
  • 04-03-12

Another great story

I immediately downloaded this as soon as I finished Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Love the trilogy and think Simon Vance is fantastic!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bec
  • Angels Camp, CA, United States
  • 03-01-12

Amazing!

What did you love best about The Girl Who Played with Fire?

The story, the characters & Swedish setting made this captivating for me.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lisbeth the main character is such a well-developed and interesting character. I missed her once I finished the series!

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

Simon Vance did an incredible job narrating!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jennifer
  • fair oaks ranch, TX, United States
  • 03-01-12

Rivitting

If you could sum up The Girl Who Played with Fire in three words, what would they be?

Should have been longer enjoyed it so much

What did you like best about this story?

Just a great follow on from the girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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

Well interpreted vocals

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

No

Any additional comments?

No

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sandra
  • riverside, CA, United States
  • 02-29-12

well read conclusion th the triology

What did you love best about The Girl Who Played with Fire?

realistic and happy ending

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

less reviewing of the facts in the concluding of this story

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

first time listening, Very impressive delivery

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no, the story was too long

0 of 1 people found this review helpful