Noel's Reviews > The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
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's review
Jun 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: thriller-mystery
Read from June 06 to 16, 2010

When I finished "The Girl Who Played with Fire" there was a sense of wistfulness as I just wanted to continue sharing the lives of Salander and Blomqvist. Would Lisbeth live or die? She'd been shot in the head by her father, Zalachenko, and amazingly had dug herself out of a grave. A bit over the top? Yes, but so much fun to read.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest finds Lisbeth in the hospital two doors down from her as*hole of a father, who got hit in the head with an ax. She's accused of several murders and battling infections, knowing full well her biggest threat is not her gunshot wound, but her father who is hell bent on finishing the job with her.

Blomqvist is front and center in this volume, but Erika Berger also plays a larger role than in the other two books. As the police (both the good ones and the incredibly inept ones) begin to realize the roles of the secret police (SAPO) and the psychiatrist Teleborian, the book gets bogged down in never ending bureaucratic explanations of employee backgrounds, their professional trajectories as well as their health issues. I have to wonder if these parts would not have been heavily edited had the author not passed away unexpectedly.

The narrative comes to life after page 300. At that point the players are in place and I started to understand the interactions between the agencies and the characters. I did go back and make a list of all the characters just to keep them straight in my head. That had been a problem which resolved as soon as I had the cheat sheet in hand.

As the book continues, the focus is to imprison Lisbeth in a psych ward to save the heads of the group who protected Zalachenko and threw her (and her mother) under the bus to do so. The ramifications of exposing the inner group of SAPO are huge - the newspaper that breaks the story will be guaranteed notoriety and the government will have a huge constitutional issue on its hands.

I guess my issue with this book is that Lisbeth is less of a player as she is hospitalized for much of the book. Also, there were sidelines which went nowhere, such as Berger's time at the daily paper and her ensuing issues while there. They were interesting, but didn't contribute to the book. Perhaps, again, they would have been edited or perhaps brought back to life in book 4.

What I liked about this book was the trial which was kick ass, and the strength of the women in this book. They were multi-faceted, flawed and wonderful women. I also enjoyed the personal progression of one of the characters in the book, not quite blossoming, but growing emotionally by leaps and bounds (and I am really trying to be vague!).

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