The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Review: One of the most intriguing and unique trilogies comes to an end in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. The book opens with Lisbeth Salander being transported to the hospital after several gunshot wounds. In a room down the hall lies the man known to most as Karl Axel Boden, but to a few as Zalachenko, and to Lisbeth – as Father. It's time for Lisbeth to fight for her life. She has spent her entire life withdrawn from society, silenced before authority, and under guardianship. But, revenge is another language Lisbeth knows well. Not only must she seek revenge against Zalachenko, but also against an entire government system that has kept a perfectly sound, highly gifted individual labeled as "mentally retarded" and "insane" and subject to abuse and violence. The one person whose belief in Lisbeth never wavers is Mikael Blomkvist, but Lisbeth wants nothing to do with the only man she's ever allowed to get close enough to break her heart. However, this time Lisbeth may not be able to do it alone. Held in a hospital in a sort of "solitary confinement," only able to be seen by her doctors and her lawyer, Lisbeth must find a way to bring down Zalachenko and the Swedish Sapo once and for all.
Stieg Larsson has constructed a masterpiece. Not only is the storyline exciting and somewhat frightening, but the characters are priceless. Lisbeth Salander is fascinating. She could clearly be classified as a genius and has a photographic memory too. What most people can't begin to comprehend, Lisbeth tackles in no time. In the hospital, she obtains a DNA book that even stumps the doctors – but for her it's easy reading. But, Lisbeth does have one "flaw". She is so overwhelmingly withdrawn that she is impossible to predict. Most likely she would be considered autistic to some degree. Nonetheless, the tiny tattooed Lisbeth gets what she wants while always maintaining a very clear view of right and wrong – though her view may not be the same as most people. Mikael Blomkvist is no less interesting. He is a "ladies man" who becomes obsessive when he's involved in a story. His dedication to Lisbeth is heartfelt. Each supplementary character is also carefully crafted adding unique elements to the story line. Finally the plot is exciting and complicated enough to be fully engaging, but not too complicated to follow. Larsson uses clever tricks and ploys to get around bureaucracy, and the reader is kept guessing from page one all the way until the end. One stumbling block is the quantity of names to remember in the book. All names are obviously Swedish, and several names are very similar. This can slow up reading a little. However, it is well worth it. Fortunately, the series will be adapted for film in America starring Daniel Craig, and as the first in the series, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is scheduled to be in theatres during the holidays in 2011. But, in the meantime, read the books. These are stories that won't easily be forgotten.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Margo Nauert for contributing her review of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Margo Nauert — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Knopf (Hardcover), September 2008
ISBN-13: 9780307269751; ISBN-10: 0307269752
Location(s) referenced in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: Sweden
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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson — The Millennium Trilogy
Publication Date: May 2010
List Price: $27.95