It only took me since Christmas and about 10 other books, but I finally finished The Girl Who Played With Fire. Now, don’t let the fact that it took me over four months and stopped to read quite a few other books in between starting and finishing it fool you. It is a good book. I have my reasons for taking so long to finish (Most of those involve Tori Spelling or John Carter). So let’s take a look at the second in the Millennium trilogy.
I actually like the plot to this one better than the first one. I think because the relationship between Salander and Blomkvist is already established so we don’t have to wait 300 pages for the protagonists to meet really helps (Plus, I’m already attached to the characters and I may have a huge crush on Blomkvist–or Daniel Craig–or Daniel Craig as Blomkvist. They’re all pretty much the same in my head). I think that was probably my biggest complaint with the first book. I know that everything from the first book was paid off either in the end of it or somewhere in this one but at the time of reading it the first time, it was annoying. The plot of this one revolved around two separate murders. I can tell you who, right? It’s not like you aren’t going to find out quickly if you read it and if you aren’t going to, then it doesn’t matter anyway. Right? Good. A journalist and a criminologist, who are dating and working with Millennium, are two of the victims. Who is the third? Well, this came much to the delight of my mama; it was Bjurman. You know, Salander’s guardian who raped her brutally in the first book. So, obviously, the police find reasons to think Salander is the murderer and Blomkvist tries to come to her rescue and clear her name. Chaos ensues. The end.
Having said that I really liked the plot, let me also say that the reason it took me so long to finish this book is because it has…well…let’s call is Stephen King Syndrome. Those of you who have read quite a few of King’s books may have picked up on the fact that as good as his writing and plots are, the stories just go on forever. I know the reason I find this to happen in King’s books. He goes into a lot of detail. Now, I’m a very detail oriented person so I’m cool with it but he does go overboard sometimes. With Larsson’s books, that’s not really the problem. I have yet to figure out what the cause for Stephen King Syndrome in the Millennium series is but I’ve still got one more book to figure it out with. I think it has something to do with the fact that as much as I enjoy the characters and the plot, other books just have a lot more promise. When I get a Tori Spelling biography or a John Carter book or something like that, I am pretty much guaranteed a quick read that I love and then I can move on to the next. There’s something rewarding about finishing a book and it’s something that I know isn’t going to come quickly with anything involving Salander and Blomkvist.
Okay, I know I mentioned how everything from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo paid off at some point. Maybe I really appreciate this because of my screen writing class since it is something that is pounded in our heads. Maybe it’s because I like the fact there is no fat or loose ends in the story. It’s nice and clean with nothing left to question. All that being said, that doesn’t happen quite so much in the second book. Now, I’m going to make a conjecture here that I really hope is true. I have a feeling that all these loose ends are tied up in The Girl Who Kicked Hornets’ Nest. You see, Berger doesn’t really have much use in this book but there is something that happens to her that never comes to a conclusion and it’s going to affect Blomkvist massively. Well, she has a conclusion but the only people who even know about the dilemma is Berger’s husband and the reader. Another thing is the very beginning of the book. Salander has taken her stolen kronors and fled the country after seeing Blomkvist in the final pages of the first book. She’s on vacation and some events happen but there’s really no point to it. The place, the characters, the story could have been anything in the world because it has nothing to do with the rest of the book. Okay, maybe it’s because it’s been a while since I read the beginning and I am forgetting something really important that ties it to the rest of the story, but I don’t think I’m wrong. The final thing is the whole Harriet Vagner thing. It’s cool. I liked that story but that story was finished with the first book. So why does Mikael need to sleep with her and call randomly at least once throughout the book? Why does he need to have a relationship with her? I get she’s on the board at the magazine but there’s no point to have it in the story. Okay, I might just be picking out small details a little too much.
My final thing that we pretty much know who the killer is the entire time. Or, well, we know who’s involved. Larsson lobbed in a curve ball about three-quarters of the way through that made everything make total sense (Bless his heart for giving us Palmgren, who I think is just about the cutest person ever and who knows Salander better than anyone). But we know what’s going on. I kind of wish it would have been more of a who-done-it story. Now, there is a chance that I’m really good at figuring this stuff out and most people have no clue but I think it’s pretty clear pretty early on.
Okay, clearly I’m going to finish the series since I do really like the characters and the plots. They may take forever but they are interesting and give you something to think about (Yes, sometimes I like books that actually make me think). However, I’m pretty sure The Girl Who Played With Fire U.S. version movie doesn’t come out until 2013 or so. Therefore, I’ve got a while before I have to finish the third book. I think that gives me just enough time to finish the John Carter series and maybe Vampire Academy, too. Here’s hoping.