Rummanah Aasi
  I'm sure that you've either heard or seen Steig Larsson's books (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) pop up everywhere. These books, collectively called The Millennium Trilogy, are gritty crime fiction novels that are set in Sweden. The author was a journalist, who wrote for a popular Swedish magazine and submitted the manuscripts for these novels shortly before he died at the age of 50. There is currently a battle for his other writings between his girlfriend and his family.
   I'm not surprised that this trilogy will appear on lots of people's best lists for 2010. Are the books that great? The writing isn't great, but it's not bad either. I found it hard to oriented myself in the plot and deciphering what it or isn't important through the massive amount of details that Larsson provides in his books. Even though the books are quite hard to get into, I continued to read this series because I liked the characters that Larsson created, particularly Lisbeth Salandar and Mikael Blomkvist. I just finished the last book in the series.

Description: Lisbeth Salander is literally fighting for her life. She is has been shot in the head and shoulder and is currently recovering in a Swedish hospital. She is also on trial for the murder of three people. Friend and journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, knows the truth and is willing to do anything to prove her innocence. The murders are just a tip of the iceberg of a long-buried conspiracy within the Swedish Secret Service.Will Lisbeth recover and take revenge on those who made her life a living hell or will she rot in prison for the rest of her life?

Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest picks up immediately where The Girl Who Played with Fire ends: Lisbeth is rushed to the hospital after being fatally wounded. Blomkvist is held in jail despite his incessant claims that the real criminals are getting away. I enjoyed this final installment of the Millennium trilogy, however, I was expecting a lot more.
   The plot of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is very convoluted. There were four story lines that ran throughout the book: Lisbeth's recovery in the Swedish hospital, Blomkvist's trips and encounters to gather information to help Lisbeth's trial, the history and conspiracy of the Swedish Secret Service, and Erika Berger's, Blomkvist's best friend with benefits, adjustment to her new job. The transition from one story line to the other were at times smooth and other times very abrupt, especially when Berger's new job is mentioned. I found myself drawn to the first three story lines and read those pages quickly. When I came to Berger's subplot, I had to slow down and remind myself what was going on, which not only took me out of the book as a whole but really slowed down my reading. In my opinion, the book would have been stronger if Berger's subplot was completely taken out, however, I can see why Larsson thought it was important. Larrson's purpose of these books is to illustrate how women are being abused and neglected in all walks of life including the workforce, which is what Berger represented. While I do like Berger's character, I think it would have worked better as a novella or even a spin off. Given Larrson's untimely death, maybe that was the direction he wanted to go, I don't really know. 
 Not only did I have to keep track of numerous plot lines in the book, I also had to keep track of brand new characters, particularly those involved with the Swedish Secret Service. I didn't get a chance to connect with the new characters mainly because Larrson doesn't spend too much time on them. Like the rest of the trilogy, the book does shine whenever Lisbeth or Blomkvist appear on paper and really, the only reason why I bothered reading these books in the first place. Lisbeth is a very strong heroine who is incredibly intelligent introvert, who has a very hard time opening up and trusting others. Given her background, I can hardly blame her and I amazed on how well she turned out. Blomkvist is a terrific journalist who has the uncanny ability to form strong connections with people. All of Larsson's characters are very much in the gray shades. They have lots of flaws and are content with how they run their lifestyles, which make them appealing and real. Larrson asks thoughts provoking questions on how women are treated by men, however, I wished he allowed his main heroine, Lisbeth, a lot more time and presence in the final book. She seems to be appear as if she was an after thought, particularly in the end.
  The Millennium Trilogy should be read in order in order to get a better grasp of the main characters and the overall story arc. While I did enjoy the series, I didn't love it. If I had to pick a favorite from this series, it would definitely be The Girl Who Played with Fire.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language and disturbing images such as a visual recounting of rape. There is also strong sexual content in the book too. Recommended for Adults and only mature teen readers.

If you like this book try: Missing by Karin Alvtegen, The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum, In the Woods by Tana French
2 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Really nice review Rummanah, I haven't read this series though I've certainly seen it everywhere and heard a lot about it. Lisbeth sounds like a fabulous character, and I find when there are multiple story lines I always just read as fast as possible through the other ones to get back to the ones that most interest me. Seems like I would probably do that here!

  2. I tend to do the same thing, Jenny, but I wasn't sure if all of these story lines would come together in the end. In the end, I did mostly skim the fourth story line.

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