I love a good ending, don't you?
Though I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I took my time before I read The Girl Who Played With Fire. For two reasons: the length, it comes in at over 700 pages; and the subject matter, I knew it would be a mystery/thriller and have a measure of violence about it. I also knew what kind of violence, so, I avoided it for a while. Recent developments in my life have afforded me some uninterrupted time for a couple weeks, so the length seemed like a non-issue and I decided this was the time to read it.
I'm glad I finally did and I don't know if I should have waited so long. The Girl Who Played With Fire had me hooked from the beginning. I think I liked it better than the first book. There was character development, intrigue and action. I loved every twist and turn. Stieg Larsson created such a compelling character in Lisbeth Salander and also in Mikael Blomkvist. I liked Berger, Paulo Roberto, Mimmi, Erikkson, Modig, Bublanski, everyone. Admittedly, there are A LOT of characters, and since it's been so long since I read the first book, I had trouble remembering all of them. But I'm used to it... I read Stephen King, after all.
I liked that Larsson created not just a compelling story, but also takes one sensitive topics. I felt that he was not just using it as background to tell a tail, but he also expressed an opinion about them through his work. It gave me something more than just a fantastic story to connect too.
As with so many second books in a trilogy, this felt like a middle book. It didn't until the end. The final few pages created such a cliffhanger, a sense of urgency, I don't think I'll be waiting as long to read the final installment. If it wasn't for those scenes, if the ending was just a bit different, or if the book was just five pages longer, two pages, it could have been a complete story unto itself. This is the Millennium trilogy though, so that it ended that way didn't surprise me.
I'm excited to read The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest. That there is a third book, means I kind of know what's going to happen after that final scene. Part of me wants to keep going on about how much I enjoyed The Girl Who Played With Fire, but I should really just pick up the next book. If you haven't read these books yet, even if you don't like mystery/thrillers, I highly recommend them. It is the characters that make the Millennium books amazing.