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Satisfying conclusion to Swedish trilogy

  • Jun 3, 2010
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Sadly, first-time Swedish author Larsson did not live to see the worldwide success of his thriller trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and now The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Happily for us, he had completed all three books before his untimely death at age 50 and we now discover how Lisbeth Salander (The Girl...) survives the horrific injuries she got at the violent conclusion of Book II.

Waking in the hospital she is startled to remember: "I was shot in the head. I could stick my finger in the entry wound and touch my brain."

Luckily the bullet was a 22 and the surgeon extracts it successfully. We soon discover that brilliant, computer-hacker Salander's dark, ferocious personality has survived intact. "She was surprised to be alive. Yet she felt indifferent. If death was the black emptiness from which she had just woken up, then death was nothing to worry about. She would hardly notice the difference. With this esoteric thought she closed her eyes and fell asleep again."

Five-foot-nothing, nearly murdered by her sadistic, ex-KGB father, weak as a kitten, but capable of inflicting amazing damage on thugs much bigger, dumber and slower than herself, Salander refuses to cooperate with the police, who are going to charge her with attempted murder for burying an axe in said father's face. Father and daughter are now just doors apart in the hospital, each planning to finish the job on the other.

Although Larsson reprises Books I and II sufficiently to refresh the memories of those who have read them, anyone who has not will have difficulty empathizing with the brooding Salander or making sense of the ingenious but convoluted, conspiracy-driven story. If you haven't read Books I and II by all means do. Book III is not the place to start.

While Salander lies isolated (no visitors, no computer or phone) in bed, her friend, crackerjack investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, works tirelessly in her defense. Having cleared Salander of the triple-murder charges that dogged her in Book II and having obtained the 1991 security police report detailing the government's efforts to declare Salander insane (after she threw a well-deserved Molotov cocktail at her father) in order to protect her Soviet defector father, Blomkvist runs rings around the secret government agents dogging his steps (and tapping his phone and bugging his apartment) as he prepares to defend Salander in the closed-door trial the government has managed to organize.

He's startled however, when people intimately connected with the case begin to die. So is the reader, initially, but we have also been privy to the plotting of the really secret police, the ones even the Prime Minister doesn't know about.

Larsson has a lot of threads to weave together here and he takes his time in the beginning, cluing the reader into Swedish government structure, law and ethics, and cold war history. He gathers up loose ends as he goes.

The plot accelerates gradually, building to a masterful conclusion. Don't to do anything else while reading the last 200 pages. Not only does Larsson make the pages fly, he also pulls all three books together most satisfactorily.

The characters remain wholly absorbing. Salander, of course, is the riveting center. She has proved herself capable of great change while remaining, at bedrock, a grown-up Pippi Longstocking (oh, how she hates that comparison) with Aspergers.

Blomqvist, if he weren't up against Salander's outsize personality, could carry the books himself. A dedicated, focused, dogged and brilliant journalist, he remains true to his principles. He's a loyal friend and highly observant, though fairly blind to his own faults. And he's an ingenious plotter.

Larsson's fans will be well satisfied except for the deep sadness that there will be no more from this talented writer.

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More The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet... reviews
review by . April 13, 2012
Translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland      Kicking a hornet's nest is not a recommended approach to dealing with life's problems, but Lisbeth Salandar is no ordinary girl with no ordinary problems, and her only chance to survive is to stick her head right into the middle of the nest this time.        If you read Fire, you know she was barely surviving a murder attempt by her erstwhile father.   This time around she has to survive …
review by . August 02, 2010
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Having greatly enjoyed the first two thirds of this series, I was eagerly looking forward to the last, particularly because the ending of The Girl Who Played with Fire was such a cliff hanger. Hornet's Nest opens where Fire left off, at the crime scene where Blomvist finds Salander in such trouble. Those troubles persist, big time, throughout this final installment, and it is up to Blomvist to unravel a conspiracy of mind-boggling proportions.      Regrettably, the plot …
review by . June 08, 2010
When we last saw Lisbeth Salander, she was shot in the head and rescued from sure death by Mikael Blomkvist.  As this book opens, Salander is saved through emergency surgery to convalesce under armed guard while the authorities decide what to do with her.  To top it off, her estranged father, Zalechanko, has somehow survived too and is in the very hospital Salander is in only a few doors away.      The inner circle within the Swedish security police (Sapo) realize that …
review by . October 16, 2010
To finish up Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, I recently read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo immensely, but The Girl Who Played With Fire was a bit of a letdown. It didn't have the same pace and intricacies, and the ending was a bit too far-fetched for me. Hornet's Nest picks up right where Fire leaves off, with Lizbeth in the hospital and the doctors trying to save her life after the gunshot wound to the head. Even though it's …
review by . August 22, 2010
41/2 Stars.      The spellbinding conclusion to Steig Larsson's "Millinnium" trilogy picks up after the action in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Lisbeth Salander is taken to the hospital after being shot three times. She's in critical condition with the bullet that entered her brain.      Her friend, journalist, Mikael Blomkvist found her and notified the authorities. He also told the police that he had tied killer Ronald Niedermann …
review by . November 08, 2010
This book is the final chapter in Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy. It is the culmination of the many interconnected incidents and affairs that have been explored by a duo of very unlikely protagonists - Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and cofounder of the monthly magazine Millennium, and a brilliant yet very troubled young woman named Lisbeth Salander. "The Girl Who Kicked Hornets Nest" is a true sequel to the previous book in the series, "The Girl Who Played with …
Quick Tip by . March 07, 2011
Great full circle book. Stieg Larsson is a great writer know makes his characters come to life.
review by . July 25, 2010
All three books are excellent, but this is the best of all!
This is the third and final volume of the Larsson trilogy, which began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because the author died in 2004. The first volume was excellent, the second was better, and the third was best of all. The books stand head and shoulders above all other crime thrillers during the past decade or more. They are extremely well-written, expertly translated, have unforgettable characters, great uninterrupted drama and suspense, and in Lisbeth Salander one of the most unique …
review by . June 17, 2010
   The setting of The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is quite claustrophobic, taking place in offices, jails, hospital rooms.  This device takes the reader more into the intricacies of Swedish organizations, as well as the minds and emotions of the characters than the first two books of the trilogy.. The first half of the book drags as Salander is recovering in the hospital and the reader is taken through the intricacies of 'The Section', a secret group within Sapo …
review by . October 30, 2010
This book is the final chapter in Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy. It is the culmination of the many interconnected incidents and affairs that have been explored by a duo of very unlikely protagonists - Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and cofounder of the monthly magazine Millennium, and a brilliant yet very troubled young woman named Lisbeth Salander. "The Girl Who Kicked Hornets Nest" is a true sequel to the previous book in the series, "The Girl Who Played with Fire" as the action and the …
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Lynn Harnett ()
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I love to read, always have, and have been writing reviews for more years than I care to say. Early on, i realized there are more books than there is time to read, so I read only books I like and mostly … more
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As the finale to Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy,The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nestis not content to merely match the adrenaline-charged pace that made international bestsellers out ofThe Girl with the Dragon TattooandThe Girl Who Played with Fire. Instead, it roars with an explosive storyline that blows the doors off the series and announces that the very best has been saved for last. A familiar evil lies in wait for Lisbeth Salander, but this time, she must do more than confront the miscreants of her past; she must destroy them. Much to her chagrin, survival requires her to place a great deal of faith in journalist Mikael Blomkvist and trust his judgment when the stakes are highest. To reveal more of the plot would be criminal, as Larsson's mastery of the unexpected is why millions have fallen hard for his work. But rest assured that the odds are again stacked, the challenges personal, and the action fraught with neck-snapping revelations in this snarling conclusion to a thrilling triad. This closing chapter to The Girl's pursuit of justice is guaranteed to leave readers both satisfied and saddened once the final page has been turned.--Dave Callanan
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ISBN-10: 030726999X
ISBN-13: 978-0307269997
Author: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (9780307269997)
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Knopf
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