The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest

by Rebeca on December 8, 2009

The Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, by Steig LarssonThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Millennium Trilogy, 3)
By Stieg Larsson
602 pages

Note: American release of the book is scheduled for May 2010.

Lisbeth Salander fans who can’t wait for the American publication of the final installment of the Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy can order the book via or the Book Depository, and for a few dollars more readers can find out what happens to her and Millennium’s publisher Mikael Blomkvist.

In the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Larsson played a cruel joke on readers, leaving them with a horrible cliff hanger that some (including this reviewer) thought a page was missing. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest immediately follows up with Salander and the evil Alexander Zalachenko flown in by helicopter to the hospital. Salander, with bullets in her hip, shoulder, and head, is barely alive and is rushed into surgery. From there the story evolves more of Blomkvist’s attempts to proves Salander’s innocence, who is  still suspected of the murders of two Millennium journalists.

However, this story is more about a covert operation run by Säpo, the Swedish secret police, and how Salander inadvertently  became a victim of the Swedish welfare system in order to hide and protect Säpo’s secrets. In this last tome, Larsson spends more time with the inner workings of Säpo and its bureaucrats—characters who seem to be stuck in an antiquated cold war mode. It’s in these sections that slows book’s pace, but to speed up the story, Larsson includes a subplot concerning Erika Berger, the editor-in-chief of Millennium and Blomkvist’s occasional lover. In the second volume, Berger has accepted the editor-in-chief job at Svenska Morgon-Posten. Right from the very start, she is seen as the enemy by many of the old-time staffers, who make life difficult for the forward thinking editor, but as days go by Berger begins to question about having left  Millennium for this new job. Life becomes even more complicated for her when she starts receiving sexually explicit emails.

There is more meat to the story and Berger has an out thanks to a story that Millennium plans to publish concerning the newspaper’s chairman of the board, but overall this secondary story seems gratuitous and really doesn’t add much to the overall plot of proving Salander innocent.

And that’s Blomkvist’s mission—to prove that his friend is not a murderer and to show that she’s been a victim of an illegal government conspiracy. Blomkvist convinces his sister–a woman’s rights lawyer with little trial experience under her belt–to help Salander with her defense. It’s in these scenes that feature Lisbeth that Larsson’s writing shines and  keeps readers turning the pages. Once again, he outdoes himself into bringing this fabulous character to life.

Although this final installment of the Millennium trilogy has sections that seem unnecessarily long, and some readers might be confused with the who’s who of Säpo’s cast of characters, it’s the ending that’s important. Larsson, before he died suddenly, had started a fourth volume and originally had planned a ten book series about Millennium. The question for most readers was whether Larsson would satisfactorily resolve the Salander and Blomkvist broken relationship. Without offering any spoilers, readers will be pleased with it how it concludes and it will leave them more than satisfied and  perhaps smiling.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dee June 2, 2010 at 10:54 am

I am STILL having problems keeping the secondary characters straight. Maybe it’s a translation thing? I wonder if some of the characters names evoke images in the minds of Swedish readers that enable them to remember who’s who, a la Charles Dickens and J.K. Rowling. My little gray cells ain’t what they used to be!

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