Please see my review for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
This book was significantly better than it's predecessor for two very important reasons:
1. It didn't take too long to get into. The one thing that really irks me about some of the books that I read is drawn out and boring introductions. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had an introduction that for me was nothing but dull and lengthy. The Girl Who Played With Fire did not have that. The prologue set up the readers for an exciting and intriguing novel, and it did not disappoint.
2. Dragon Tattoo focused a lot on characters that are not the main characters. While Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander were quite obviously the main characters, much of the story focused on the Vanger family and their history. That bothered me with the first book, because I didn't get as much of a grasp on who the main characters were.
That being said, Dragon Tattoo was good. But The Girl Who Played With Fire completely blew me away. I wasn't even planning on reading it, until I was put into a situation where I didn't have a book to read and I was stuck at work for two hours with nothing to do. I bought this book on a whim: I figured, it's cheap and I don't have to try and get into a whole new story.
I am SO GLAD that I decided to read it. TGWPWF is such an improvement on Dragon Tattoo. With Dragon Tattoo I felt like it was far too out of my comfort zone to really enjoy. Fire just got me sucked into the story and I couldn't put it down. The story focused on Lisbeth Salander, rather than on an outsider, which I loved. I also loved how fast-paced everything was. While the beginning started out somewhat slow (although not as slow as Dragon Tattoo) once the conflict was introduced I found myself obsessed with finding out what was going to happen.
This book was a real thrill ride. The only downside is the abrupt ending. While some aspects of the story were concluded, the reader was left with a lot of unanswered questions, including the unanswered question that was brought up at the ending of the last book.
Despite the very few downsides, I would definitely recommend this sequel. I would especially recommend it to those who, like me, were a bit skeptical about the first book. This book didn't disappoint, and while it might take me awhile to get to the third and final installment, I will most definitely be reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.