Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest — Stieg Larsson

Read: 80
To Go: 20

Book List
71. The Truth About Delilah Blue — Tish Cohen
72. Onstage, Offstage — Michael Buble
73. Various Positions — Martha Schabas
74. Flesh and Blood — Michael Cunningham
75. True Evil — Greg Iles
76. Gone — Michael Grant
77. Fools Rush In — Kristan Higgins
78. Ice Blue — Anne Stuart
79. Lucy Gets Her Life Back — Stef Ann Holm
80. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest — Stieg Larsson

Not to toot my own horn here, or anything, but look at me go! 80 books done! I am going to finish this challenge after all.

Lisbeth Salander — the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels — lies in critical condition at the intensive care unit of a Swedish 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 journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will have to prove her innocence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

I’m in serious danger of writing this review in all caps lock. It was amazing.

I’ve had my reservations about Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, but the final book just blew me away. I started it last night on a whim and then was up until 5 a.m. reading it; when I woke up again later this afternoon, I spent the rest of my day finishing it off. I’ll even risk saying that it may be my favourite book of the challenge. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest was a masterpiece.

I’ve expressed displeasure at Stieg Larsson’s inability to note the difference between plot-relevant information and “Salander took a trip to IKEA and bought out the whole store;” maybe it was because I was too engrossed by the plot, but I didn’t notice any of that this time. All of the scenes were relevant, all of them advanced the story. There were very few, if any at all, wasted words.

I’ve always loved that Larsson doesn’t shy away from a little (okay a lot of) blood and gore; his trilogy has been the literary equivalent of an action movie. But that isn’t what makes the books memorable. The original, Swedish title of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo translated directly to “Men Who Hate Women,” and the series takes a really strong stance on the issues and rights of women, specifically pertaining to violence against women.

Larsson himself summed it up (in a rather cheesy way, I must admit) in the denouement of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, when Mikael says to his sister, “When it comes down to it, this story is not primarily about spies and secret government agencies; it’s about violence against women, and the men who enable it” (Larsson 514).

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

(Also, on a quick end note: this book gets an A+ for most gripping court scenes. I was cheering for Annika Giannini and Lisbeth Salander as if I was rink-side at a hockey game.)

Next book: probably something short-ish.

– Kelsey

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