Title: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Author: Stieg Larsson
Release Date: May 25, 2010
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 5 out of 5
Beginning right after the events in The Girl Who Played With Fire, Lisbeth Salander is in critical condition at a Stockholm hospital under armed guard. She is the prime suspect in multiple murders. Journalist Mikael “Kalle” Blomkvist is determined to prove her innocence, as well as demonstrate her mistreatment at the hands of the state for her entire life.
How does one even begin reviewing this novel? I tried to make the summary as ambiguous as possible, but it goes without saying that there are likely spoilers for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire in this review, so if you haven’t read either of those, just know that I really loved this book, even though it’s so different than the first two novels in the Millennium series.
If you have read the first two novels, then let me say that The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is a worthy conclusion to this electrifying trilogy. However, it’s also very different from the first two books, to the point where I’m not entirely certain it’s even a mystery. It’s much more a procedural novel, investigating how far the Zalachenko conspiracy goes within the Swedish government and also the process of proving Lisbeth’s innocence. As a result, I’m certain that some people who loved the first two novels won’t like this one. It’s much slower and more methodical. That being said, I absolutely loved it.
Finishing The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest makes me realize how ingenious Stieg Larsson really was. The first book in the series was a relatively straightforward mystery – it was incredibly well-written and introduced some very intriguing characters, but nevertheless, it was easy to classify. Lisbeth was almost a secondary character in that novel – I’d argue that Mikael Blomkvist was the main character of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
However, Lisbeth Salander takes the central role in The Girl Who Played With Fire, and all of a sudden, the scope of the trilogy changes from mysteries to learning about the origins of a very interesting character. In my view, the final book is the conclusion to Lisbeth’s story, her finally getting the justice she deserves. Because she has been so physically and mentally abused, this is an incredibly satisfying novel.
I was very glad to see that Larsson chose to make each of the novels in the Millennium Trilogy different. As a result, he has made it a tour de force, a masterpiece, rather than simply three well-written and engaging mysteries. Despite the fact that this novel was over 550 pages, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know that things would turn out okay for Lisbeth, not to mention there were multiple absorbing subplots and the introduction of some very interesting characters.
It’s a tragedy that Stieg Larsson passed away after turning in the manuscripts for these three incredible novels – the world has a lost a literary giant. But I’m so glad that he left behind the fascinating character of Lisbeth Salander, explored through the Millennium Trilogy. I can’t recommend these three books highly enough – read them (in order), and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.