The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson is the second book in the Millennium series, the first being The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This story is about Millennium Expose, for those who haven’t read the first book, it is for them that Millennium is a name of magazine that exposes the scandals and vile rackets in Sweden.
The story mainly shuttles between two main characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Lisbeth is a young woman with psychotic behavior and unpleasant past like murdering her father brutally, involvement into sex work, and hacking computer data. In all senses, she is a genius with a strong character with too many revolting peculiarities.
After solving the Wennerström affair in the first book, Lisbeth disappears for a year and tours Europe, and when the novel opens she is found vacationing in the capital of Grenada, where she kills a man who was tormenting his wife, and tutors an orphaned teenage boy and also beds with him.
Mikael Blomkvist is an investigative journalist with his magazine Millennium. From one of his friends, he gets to know about an extensive report on sex trafficking business in Sweden, thus he prepares to publish it in the magazine, but there are some influential figures involved into it that stops him. In the novel ‘Zala’ word is a strong hint about the villains who can rip any one for their motifs.
Both characters meet after long and when they fall in the game of chasing each other, evidences and some villains, the narrative of the story speeds up in a most ravishing way. Well, the climax point is when Lisbeth is accused of murdering three people along with other charges. More than the killing charges, it was her past life that comes haunting her back and it gets worse when the same was opened to the public. The book, second in the trilogy, is as good as the previous one, with tightly packed action. Blomkvist believes she is capable of killing but his heart says she won’t. How the reality gets uncovered shockingly is just a terrific ride a little deeper inside Lisbeth's life as well as into what goes on in the world around.
Simply amazing, engaging, and thrilling! There are very few sequels which actually not only live up to the original but surpass it too. This is one of those books which not only is almost as good as the first one but in a way goes ahead and feels even better than the first one in many ways. The fun of being unpredictable is unstoppable till the end when her brother along with a villain shoots and buries her, not knowing that is still alive. Well, that would come out in the third novel.
Stieg Larsson has a habit of overstretching the stuff to readers delight and will never give someone something straight on a platter. For example, a world-class boxer who is a Lisbeth fan and coach is about to hit one final blow to a guy, may be killing him but it will take two pages of explanation in between telling readers what was going through his head while he hit that final blow.