|Image Credit: Fantastic Fiction|
It's been a little more than 10 days since I blogged here, yet my life has turned a series of little somersaults. I find myself in a new job with a well-known German company and the resumption to full-fledged work status has been a bit jarring. It's funny the things we sometimes do make a living - I am not looking forward to Mondays or any weekdays, yet we tell ourselves that we must endure what we must, if only to keep ourselves sane financially and insane emotionally.
After Jo over at Bibliojunkie recommended the second of Stieg Larsson's best-selling series, I told myself to give it a try. I was not too impressed with Larsson's first book in the series -The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but Fire turned out to be a surprisingly better read. Yeah Jo, you can breathe in relief now. ;-). I agree with the Independent when it gushed that Lisbeth Salander was the "most original heroine to emerge in crime fiction for many years." I haven't read much of crime fiction, but I can see the reason why the Millennium series has been such a success - it's because of Salander. Book Two here is just as much of a roller coaster ride the first, except that the plot here is more tightly structured, and more gripping. There is still a lot to digest though - Larsson moves his pen through almost all aspects of Sweden's dark underbelly - from drug trafficking to human trafficking to guardians abusing children to psychopaths and sociopaths - there is nothing that doesn't escape the wrath of his writing. The plot moves at furious pace, and I had problems comprehending some of it. In the end, I decided not to. I just read, going with the flow and trying not to piece together ends and pieces - and once I did that, the reading of Fire became much better.
This is not high literature, but in the genre of crime fiction the critical thing is to tell a story so well that your readers just want to turn the next page. And Larsson does a brilliant job with that. I will probably go ahead and pick up Book Three in the series as well...if not out of anything, but out of sheer curiosity. Actually, the only reason I would pick up the next book would be for Salander - she is certainly an almost unreal heroine - yet fascinating nevertheless.
Verdict: Racing thriller that delivers what it promises.