The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

Fiction — print. Translated from the Swedish. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. 565 pgs. Library copy.

My enjoyment of the third and final book in Larsson’s series was definitely hampered by the fact that it has been two months since I read the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire. The books are just so connected (this book immediately begins with the end of the second novel), and they really need to be read back to back for maximum enjoyment.

Unfortunately, I started reading this novel on my mom’s iPad over October break, but didn’t finish before she had to return home and I had to wait until the library on campus finally got around to ordering one. I certainly had not forgot about the contents of the second novel, but it just wasn’t the same. I just do not know how people managed to wait a year for the book to be released.

In a complete shift from the previous book, this novel is more subdued, less violent, and counts on pulling the loose ends together to pull the reader through. There definitely is a shift in the type of story this is. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a whodunit mystery; The Girl Who Played with Fire is a fast-paced action thriller. But this one reads more like a legal suspense novel.

Salander exists more in the background of this novel as compared to the first and second novels, and more and more characters are introduced as the conflict becomes more and more complex.There were moments where I wished I had made a list of the characters and their connections so I could keep them straight, and this did bog the story down for a while. It would be difficult to discuss plot here without spoiling The Girl Who Played with Fire but I will say that the scene in which Salander’s attorney shreds the prosecutor and his star witness is riveting and gratifying to those who’ve read the first two books in the series. Completely worth getting through some of the more challenging sections.

I was worried the ending would be completely unsatisfying and yet another cliffhanger that since Larsson passed away before finishing his series (he had planned for ten books in total), but it still managed to bring the total story to a satisfying ending. Almost as though Larsson thought of stopping the series there and didn’t have time to change his mind. Overall, I liked the book and loved the series. It is unfortunate that we won’t have more of his writing as I would have loved to read more.

Others’ Thoughts:

Larsson won the Glass Key Award in 2008 for ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’. This award is given annually by Skandinaviska Kriminalsällskapet (the Crime Writers of Scandinavia) to a crime novel written by a Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish author.

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