I really enjoyed the first in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While it was a fast-paced thriller and an easy read, the characters (and their relationships) were intriguingly quirky, and it was this element that won me over. I gave it a couple of months before re-entering the world of investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the computer-hacking, much-put-upon, 'social misfit' Lisbeth Salander, because, although I like Stieg Larsson's style of writing and enjoy sprinting along with an action-driven plot on occasion, I like to engage a little more fully with characters than this genre of writing sometimes allows.
Although The Girl Who Played with Fire was certainly a fast-paced thriller, it didn't win me over in quite the same way that Dragon Tattoo did. Maybe with the first book behind him, Larsson didn't feel the need to draw the characters quite so strongly, but, while we're provided with a good deal more of Salander's back-story, Blomkvist and Salander both come across as being a little less substantial and substantially less intriguing. What made them so interestingly unlikely first time around comes across as being a tad predictable or formulaic during this second slab of 569 pages.
I'll certainly pick up the third in the trilogy - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest - in the next couple of months, and I'll happily run along with these two characters one more time. However, I'll be hoping that, when I do, a little of their magic returns and that they come to life again for me.