Chad Sayban'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 06, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: highly-recommended, nook-book, own, home-library

“I don't know how much you understand about what is happening outside your locked room, but strangely enough (despite your personality), you have a number of loyal idiots working on your behalf. I have already established an elite body called The Knights of the Idiotic Table. We will be holding an annual dinner at which we'll have fun talking crap about you. (No, you're not invited).”

As Lisbeth Salander fights for her life in a Swedish hospital, the man who tried to kill her – her father, a psychopath named Alexander Zalachenko – lays just two rooms away. But he is only the beginning of Salander’s problems. The state wants her to stand trial for three murders she didn’t commit, corrupt politicians want her to be sent to a psychiatric facility for the rest of her life and a shadowy government agency dubbed “The Section” just wants the whole thing – including Salander – to disappear. Only her friends, can save her from her fate. But Salander doesn’t want to be saved…she wants revenge.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – the final installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy – picks up right where The Girl Who Played with Fire (4.0 stars, Recommended) left off. Lisbeth Salander has survived the attack by her father and half-brother, but her father survived and still wants her dead and her brother is the focus of a manhunt in Sweden. Larsson does with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest what he did so successfully in the first two installments. He takes a simple survival premise, immerses it in a complex pool of competing interests, but never lets the story become overly complex to where it loses its momentum.

The key to the success of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is once again the strength of the main characters – Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. One of the best parts of the Salander character is that she doesn’t make the kinds of decisions that most of the rest of us would. She is so different – but the magic of her character is that her decisions make sense from her perspective and her way of thinking. That is the essence of what makes this such a strong series. It puts us in the shoes of someone who is much different and lets us see life through her eyes – and does it so well.

However, there are many other storylines and characters that really takes The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest from just being good to becoming a great piece of storytelling. Larsson never wavers in his commitment to shine a powerful spotlight on the way the rights of women and – even more specifically, the rights of people who we perceive as different – are sometimes trampled upon in the name of what is good for the whole of society. It is not heavy-handed preaching – it is capturing the essence of a social problem inside of a well told story. But The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest expands the landscape to a Robert Ludlum level of intrigue not scene in the earlier volumes. At first, I was concerned that Larsson had pushed it too far. Fortunately, I was wrong and the pieces fell nicely into place as the story wound up.

Once again, Larsson delivers a wonderful story of action, intelligence and intrigue, even taken on its own. However, if you couple it to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (4.5 stars, Recommended) and The Girl Who Played with Fire (4.0 stars, Recommended) Larsson comes through with a mesmerizing conclusion to what I feel is one of the finest thriller trilogies written. I highly recommend the entire series. If you haven’t read any of these books, I suggest you do yourself a favor and pick them all up. You won’t be disappointed.
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Reading Progress

July 6, 2012 – Shelved
August 5, 2012 – Started Reading
August 5, 2012 –
page 40
August 10, 2012 –
page 56
August 10, 2012 –
page 115
August 11, 2012 –
page 228
August 12, 2012 –
page 277
August 13, 2012 –
page 330
August 14, 2012 –
page 357
August 15, 2012 – Finished Reading
November 30, 2012 – Shelved as: highly-recommended
July 18, 2013 – Shelved as: nook-book
July 18, 2013 – Shelved as: own
August 30, 2015 – Shelved as: home-library

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Will Byrnes Good job. These books are wonderful flu,and offer a view of Scandinavia that is news to most readers. Larsson does have real issues at the core of these tales. It is a shame he did not live to complete his ten-volume saga.

Chad Sayban I did not realize he intended it to be a much longer series.

Will Byrnes Yep. There is even some material that he wrote as portions of subsequent stories. Unfortunately, it got tied up in legal wranglings between his family, who he detested, and his gf who had his laptop but no legal standing. I expect that at some point in the future, they will manage to come to some sort of agreement and allow someone (probably the gf, who is also a writer) to flesh out what would have been book 4. If you have not had the chance, the Swedish films made of the books are quite good.

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