Mark Oppenlander'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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Jul 01, 12

bookshelves: thrillers, popular-fiction
Read in June, 2012

The trilogy is complete; I found this book to be a worthy conclusion. It is not a perfect book by any stretch of the imagination, but it is immensely satisfying, in the same way that watching a Hollywood movie is - you may know what is going to happen already, but getting there is still a whole lot of fun.

There's been a lot written about these books, so I won't belabor this with a long review, but instead just make a few observations.

First, I am impressed with the diversity of the series. Although the series is held together by characters, themes and situations, each book is distinct in style and plot. "Dragon Tattoo" reads like a modern take on an Agatha Christie styled looked room mystery, while "Girl Who Played with Fire" has elements I might expect in a Martin Scorsese organized crime story and "Hornet's Nest" is more like a John LeCarre spy thriller or courtroom drama. Larsson's ability to move between these genres while keeping his own voice is impressive.

Second, although I understand the oft-leveled criticism that Larsson includes too much detail in his exposition, I think it is a minor issue. Millions of readers have not been drawn to these books because of their brilliant prose stylings, but because they wanted to spend time with these characters. From Lisbeth Salander to Erika Berger to Holger Palmgren to Mikael Blomkvist, these are interesting, well-rounded characters who seem like they could actually exist. Larsson's genius was in creating and describing for us this fascinating mix of flawed, dangerous, brave, wounded and often admirable human beings.

And finally, I have to admit that this book caused me to cry. I have been reading this series out loud to my wife and when I reached a certain section of the climactic courtroom showdown, I had to pause because I was choked up. I don't cry readily, so I was surprised to see how much emotion I had invested in these characters and in the outcome of this story. Larsson was doing something right.

They say that Larsson had a 10 book cycle planned, but I honestly don't know where he would have gone after this story. So many loose ends were tied up, with only one or two minor exceptions. I am sorry that he is gone, but I appreciate the legacy he left; I commend these books to anyone who likes tough-minded thrillers that have both brains and heart.
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