Synopsis: Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about the sex trade in Sweden are brutally murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society - but no-one can find her anywhere. Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist, editor-in-chief of Millennium, will not believe what he hears on the news. Knowing Salander to be fierce when fearful, he is desperate to get to her before she is cornered and alone. As he fits the pieces of the puzzle together, he comes up against some hardened criminals, including the chainsaw-wielding 'blond giant' - a fearsomely huge thug who can feel no pain. Digging deeper, Blomkvist also unearths some heart-wrenching facts about Salander's past life. Committed to psychiatric care aged 12, declared legally incompetent at 18, this is a messed-up young woman who is the product of an unjust and corrupt system. Yet Lisbeth is more avenging angel than helpless victim - descending on those that have hurt her with a righteous anger terrifying in its intensity and truly wonderful in its outcome. - Source
Review: If you have read my review for its predecessor, you would know I wasn't exactly raving too much about it. But I'm happy to say that this sequel turned out much better than that.
One of my main complaints with the first one was that the characters were not well developed enough. Here, we get to learn more about them, which I liked a lot. Also, I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but Larsson really paints a strong woman in one of his main characters, which I highly respect. I like an author--especially one from the opposite sex--that can see see women as they are, and not be afraid to depict them as that in their stories.
Another good thing about this is the pace. It no longer seemed to draw out with unnecessary subplots, but went straight to the point instead. It was much faster to read as well, and much more exciting. There were many plot twists, but none of them seemed forced.
Overall, I recommend this book. A well-done thriller.
By the way, I honestly don't think you need to read the first book to understand the story of this one, although of course that is preferable.