Friday, May 21, 2010

Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

When I turned the last page, I half expected the lights to come up and the credits to roll, I felt like I had watched one of the best action-packed movies of all time.

The Millennium Trilogy has sold over 25 million copies worldwide so far – and are just catching fire in the U.S. The novels in the series include, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(2008), The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009) and now, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (May 25, 2010). 

From Random House/Knopf:  Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest picked up exactly where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off. We don't miss a thing. Lisbeth arrived at the hospital and was prepped for surgery after suffering life-threatening injuries at the hands of her father and criminally insane brother, including a bullet to the head. Blomkvist was still handcuffed at Gosseberga farm, which was crawling with police detectives trying to piece together what happened, when he spots Salander's Palm.

Lisbeth Salander is like the female Jason Bourne.  She's brilliant, sexy, sly, and she's mad as hell and isn't going to take it any more.  She fights back, and none but a select few know how, since according to the corrupt government officials and sadists like psychiatrist Dr. Teleborian, she spent the entire novel isolated in her hospital room, unable to have visitors, contact or knowledge of the outside world, aside from her attorney and small medical staff.  Small obstacles to Lisbeth. Due to her supposed isolation, Salander and Blomkvist spend much of the novel apart, and just one of the edge-of-your-seat mysteries is if and when the two will come together. 

Lisbeth Salander is a brilliantly crafted character, but I love all of Stieg Larsson's women.  They are strong, smart, beautiful, and even the victims don't whine, they get even.  Each of the four parts of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest begins with a story of ancient female warriors, and the novel is not only about the corrupt workings of secret government agencies, but the women who are victims of the violence of these men.  Victims turned into warriors.  The literary world should truly lament Larsson's tragic death.  After seeing the hero he made of Lisbeth Salander, I could only imagine what else he could have done with characters like Inspector Monica Figuerola and Susanne Linder.

I don't want to take anything away from Mikael Blomkvist, who is described as, "In the middle of all this mess he's like a hand grenade with the pin pulled."  Yes.  That's Kalle Blomkvist.  Nor do I want to take away from the novel as a whole.  Even though this was supposed to be only the third of a possible ten parts, there are no loose ends, there is no abrupt ending in the last twenty pages.  Each mystery, each hanging thread comes together in its own time leading up to a climactic and satisfying end.

Suspenseful, exciting, smart, and sexy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is a must-read. If you haven't read the first two books in the Millennium Trilogy yet, they are both available in paperback now, so go read them, you won't be disappointed.  If you have already read the first two installments, do not deny yourself the genius that is Larsson's final book.  The vividly drawn characters, the forward moving plot, and the quest for justice.  One of my favorites of the year.


Read an excerpt of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.Dragon Tattoo Film

Book Trailer for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - thanks to Knopf who posted this on their Facebook page on Tuesday!

Theatrical Trailer:
The Swedish movie of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has been released at select theaters in the US, but the Millennium Trilogy is currently in negotiations to make an English version.

About the Author:
Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) was a journalist. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Expo from 1999, and had previously worked at a major news agency for many years. He was one of the world’s leading experts on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations, and he was often consulted on that account. He was just as ready to give a lecture in a secondary school as at Scotland Yard.

The “Millennium” series is a surprisingly confident debut in the thriller genre. The action in the books takes place in 2003 and later, mainly in Stockholm but in other parts of Sweden and in other countries. Stieg Larsson’s primary strength was his unaffected style, free of clich├ęs. He wrote effectively, his tone spot-on and professional.

In addition, he exhibited a great knowledge of the field he wrote about which gives credibility to his stories. He had a fantastic ability to keep many complicated plots going at the same time. And he didn’t leave any part of the mystery unsolved.

About the Book:
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (Millennium Trilogy #3) by Stieg Larsson
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Knopf (May 25, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 030726999X
ISBN-13: 978-0307269997

*FTC Statement:  A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.


Elisabeth said...

I feel like I'm the last reader on the planet to come to these books, but I'm about to start Tattoo and I'm so excited!!!! I love the feel of anticipating a really great read!

ham1299 said...

This series is high on my TBR list for sure!

chelleyreads said...

gah! i have the first book sitting on my shelf for almost a year now and haven't gotten to it yet. i really need to get a step on it. thanks for the review :)

Shannon said...

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Alison's Book Marks said...

Trust me, the first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sat unread on my shelf for quite a while too! It also took me about 100 pages to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. This is a great series, you won't be disappointed!

The Literary Lioness said...

I just started reading Dragon Tattoo and you're right -- Salander is a fascinating character. I can't wait to read all three books!

mike draper said...

Such a wonderful review. Thanks for posting it.
Just think, you also got it a review copy. Couldn't get much better.

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