2010: #47 – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Stieg Larsson)

hornetsnest Book #47 was The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the third and final book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. The back of the book reads:

The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy

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.

This is a difficult book to review.  It’s always sad to reach the end of a series, but sadder when you know there will be no other books from the author.  Larsson gave us a suitable end to the story, filled with danger, intrigue, politics, conspiracies, and cover-ups, but still able to tie up all the loose ends.  Salander is on the sidelines for most of the novel, but she’s still able to use her gifts to help Mikael as he tries to save her from those who would like to lock her in an institution for the rest of her life (or at least until they can figure out a way to kill her). I’ve always found Mikael’s and Salander’s relationship to be interesting — part parental, part lustful, part loving, part practical — and it was easy to see that they cared for each other, even if they didn’t know how to express it most of the time.

I don’t really want to get into the plot, because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I do want to discuss some of the themes.  Larsson’s main theme throughout this trilogy has been the strength of women.  This book is filled to the brim with strong, smart, independent, not afraid to make a hard decision, sexy women. Not only Salander, but also those who worked to help her:  Mikael’s sister Annika, Erika Berger, Officer Modig, Monica Figuerola and Susanne Linder. There are no shrinking violets here.  These women are as much Salander’s savior as Mikael is.

Another theme that I think is pretty prominent is the importance of free journalism in a free society. It’s mentioned on multiple occasions that the government can’t control the press, and that’s ultimately what does the forces of evil in. With a little hacking help, of course.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. The pace isn’t quite the same as the first two, but the enjoyment level is there.  It kept me up on more than one evening as I raced towards the end.  Once Salander’s trial begins, it’s impossible to put down. If you are a fan of this series, this is a must-read.  If you haven’t read any of them yet, start at the beginning.  Immediately.

This book hits stores in the U.S. on May 25, 2010. Elsewhere, you’ve had it for months! Lucky bums.

Other reviews:

Review: The Girl Who Kicked The HornetsNest by Stieg Larsson
Sunday Salon – Review of “The Girl Who Kicked the HornetsNest

Page count: 576 | Approximate word count: 158,400

2009: Afraid (Jack Kilborn)
2008: Never Tell (Karen Young)
2007: Deviant Ways (Chris Mooney)
2006: Into Thin Air (Stan Washburn)
2005: Back Roads (Tawni O’Dell)

Used in these Challenges: Countdown Challenge 2010; 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; 2010 Pub Challenge; Finish That Series Challenge; Pages Read Challenge Season 2;

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