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

I turned the English version of Stieg Larsson’s Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest down once, when a friend offered to lend it to me while I was in the midst of a bunch of other books. But the next time around, when it was released stateside in late May, I couldn’t resist. I found a $16 copy at Target and went with with it.

For those of you who missed it, or skipped it because of length, I recommend the New York Times Magazine’s “The Afterlife of Stieg Larsson” that ran just before the US release of the third Millennium book.

I’m not sure if it matters if I give a review here, is it? You’re either going to read it or skip it depending on your experience with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. What I found was a slower book than its two predecessors. That said, I enjoyed it. It’s less of the third in a trilogy than a completion and continuation of The Girl Who Played with Fire, the ending of which was less than completely satisfying.

Who lives, who dies, who gets away and who gets arrested in the wake of the events at the end of Fire are revealed at the beginning. I don’t think I’m giving much away if I say that Lisbeth Salander lives, am I? She’s confined to the hospital when charges are brought against her for many assaults, while in the background a gigantic conspiracy and cover up is under way. To the rescue is white knight Mikael Blomkvist, beloved by women, who has to figure out what’s going on so Salander can get her name cleared. Multiple plots are up in the air, some more compelling than others. Hatred and violence against women are again a theme, but not as gruesome and graphic as in the previous books. Unlike the last book, though, this one finishes with a satisfying denouement and few hanging threads, a relief since Larsson died shortly after handing in the manuscripts for the trilogies. Good, satisfying, didn’t leave me hungering for more. Not ohmigod-I-loved-it good, but few things are, right?

So, is it worth buying in hardcover? Only at a discount, I’d say. Since it’s a bestseller, the discounts are impressive right now. You might not want to wait, as the discounts will likely lessen as time goes on, and you’re at risk of spoilers from those who have read the book. The hardcover discounted 40% costs about as much as the full-price trade paperback will when it’s released. And the wait lists at the libraries were staggering a year ago; I shudder to think what they look like now.

One Response to ““The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson”

  1. carolyn Says:

    I loved this third book just as much as the first two. Some of the best mystery/thriller and even just plain novels I’ve read in years. I loved the intracies of the plots and the research lengths people had to go to in them. Thinking about the contrasts between police research vs. hacker research vs. journalist research was one of the joys of reading it(them).