I loved the first one in this series, which I practically devoured in a week, so I had no second thoughts about picking up the second. As was mentioned in the description this is the second in the series, but this is a book that can be read as a stand alone. However I do not really recommend it. While the main story does not directly connect to the last book's, the rest of the story does so there is a chance of feeling out of the loop if you do choose to skip the first book. Also there is a really good chance that you may not really like it as much without reading the first one.If you've read the first one then this one will feel pretty familiar. The length of the book is around the same as the last, thick, and the story flows the same way as before. Also like the first one the plot does take a bit to get into, but once it starts rolling along it gets harder to put the book down. However do not enter this book thinking that Salander is going to dominate the pages, because she's not hugely predominate in the story until about half way through. That does not detract from the storyline in fact it kind of adds to it, and it definitely makes it harder to figure out the "who dunnit" aspect. Mikael takes the forefront on this one and does a brillant job with being as interesting as he was before. I actually loved the fact that Salander wasn't take the spot light this time, don't get me wrong I think she's great but it was nice to have Mikael but the focus for awhile. The plot is great and the mystery part is hard to figure out, so in that aspect it will definitely keep you reading in hope for more clues as to who it is.Of course there are a few drawbacks to the book, hence only 4 stars. I wasn't fond of the word "dyke" being used, I suppose I'm not sure if that's a everyday term in Sweden and I suppose it's because it's always been used around me as an insult. But of course that's not hardly enough to detract a star. Of course I've mentioned before that the plot is slow towards the beginning as it is in the first one, so it is possible to loose some interest then. Luckliy there is less of the random relationships in this one, but it is still sort of a forced subject. You will quickly get the fact that Larsson believed in equal treatment for all, and you'll get it again and again and again. Despite the annoyances though the book was still fantastic to me.If you read and enjoyed the first book, you'll enjoy this one too. So you should definitely pick it up. If you are thinking about looking into this as your first Larsson read, then I do suggest getting the first book as it will make this experience better for you if you do choose to read it.