Book Reviews: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Saturday, June 12, 2010


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
by Stieg Larsson
★★★★☆

The final book in the Millennium trilogy gives us a resolution for the complicated story of Lisbeth Salander. The book picks up only moments after The Girl Who Played With Fire's ending. After an initial frenzy of events, things start to lag a bit as Larsson delves into the complicated details of government agencies, conspiracy theories, the inner workings of Millennium and Lisbeth's recovery. Hang in there though, because after a little while
I remembered why I loved Larsson's work. He weaves complex plots that include half a dozen brilliant female characters. Because it was originally written in Swedish the names of supporting characters can be a bit confusing, but after I'd been reading for a bit it all came back to me.

There's a subplot with Millennium's editor Berger that didn't seem crucial to the main story, but I still enjoyed it. It's a testament to Larsson's skill as a writer that he can give us a side story that barely includes the addictive main character, Lisbeth, and we still love it.

As Larsson himself puts it in one section of his book, "When it comes down to it, this story is not primarily about spies and secret government agencies; it's about violence against women, and the men who enable it."

There are a lot of complications in this book, but in the end it's a story about women. I'm not going to discuss the final details and spoil anything, but when I was reading the courtroom scenes I couldn't wipe a silly grin off my face. To me, it was a wonderfully satisfying conclusion to Larsson's saga. It makes me wish I could read more from the deceased author.

4 comments:

LindyLouMac said...

I really must get round to starting this trilogy soon, all waiting on Mt TBR. Reading your review it sounds like maybe I should read them all back to back so that I remember all the characters.

Jenners said...

I felt the same way. And the complexitities and detail that Larsson adds are one reason I think the series might be a turn-off to some readers. (And those Swedish names! Lord I had trouble with those!) But it is about strong women who don't settle for a man to save them. I really got into Berger's side story more than I thought I would too. It does make me wonder where he would have taken this series next.

Jeanne said...

I also love the complications of the plot. It reminds me of the Harry Potter books, which some of my acquaintances say are "over-written" but to me, the joy is in the details.

Avid Reader said...

LindyLouMac- I would highly recommend the back-to-back idea. There are just a lot of characters. I read the first two books that way and it was so much easier to remember who everyone was.

Jeanne- I definitely agree. If the plot had been simplified I would have been much less interested in their lives.