Ally’s #15: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Oh man, I’m hooked. My dream came true in the second book of this series–the secrets of Lisbeth Salander’s past have unfolded. I don’t want to give too much a way for those who haven’t read it yet, so I’ll stick to generalizations and thematic observances in this review.

If your a fan of “Law & Order SVU,” you’d love this book, but let me warn you that it’s significantly more graphic in terms of (homo)sexual encounters, vulgar language, and the like. Sometimes I have to turn that show off because the subject matter kills a little bit of my soul, yet, I also want to cheer at the end when all the searching is done and the bad guy is caught. That’s what I love about Larsson’s series. He’s written up the strangest heroin I’ve ever heard of, and yet I find myself cheering for this 90 pound wildcat every step of the way. This is perhaps the most succinct and accurate description of Lisbeth Salander:

Salandar was the woman who hated men who hate women.

It truly sums up her mission in life, which we learn is born out of a history of being a victim and observer of abuse against women. You have to get through about 80% of the second book before you get the full picture of “All the Evil” that occurred during the mysterious gap in Salander’s early teen years that earned her a bed equipped with restraining belts in a padded room in a psychiatric ward for children.  Not only does Salander not want to share that part of her life with anyone, but the Swedish government also goes to great lengths to keep it hush hush. Anyone else smell a conspiracy?

While the first book was about Salander helping track down a murderer/rapist, the tables turn in this book and Salander is the one being hunted. She’s wanted in connection to a triple homicide and manages to not only evade the multitudes who are searching for her, but to also be successful in her own man hunt for the person truly responsible. In the process of searching for Salander, the police and the press hang all of Salander’s dirty laundry out there for the nation to see. They make sport her “mental incompetence,” her bisexual relationships, and her violent streak. My big question for the next series in the book is how does Salander go on with life in a place where everyone now knows every secret she had been trying to bury deep.

Bring it, Larsson. I’m ready for book three.

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