The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Written By: Stieg Larsson

Published By: Alfred A. Knopf

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                I waited so long to be able to complete the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson.  I loved the first two books, but so much has been going on and so many other folks have asked me to review their books that I had to put it off, but finally, the wait is over.  I finally have gotten to read the final chapter of the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

                When we last left Lisbeth Salander, she was hovering near death.  Having been shot in the head, shoulder and hip and being buried, somehow she was able to deliver a devastating blow to her father, Alexander Zalachenko Mikael Blomkvist found her and was able to secure her half-brother, the monstrous murderer Neidermann, but by the time help arrives in the form of medical and police personnel, Blomkvist finds himself being arrested.  Salander is sent to the hospital, but with a bullet in her head, can she survive?

                As it turns out, Lisbeth Salander is just as tough as she ever was and, with the assistance of a great surgeon, survives.  But what does she wake up to?  Apparently, she has been cleared of a double homicide (The Girl Who Played With Fire), but now she has been charged with, amongst other charges, attempting to murder her father.  Things look pretty bleak for Lisbeth, especially since the Section, a secret organization within Säpo, has decided that they must get rid of Lisbeth Salander. 

                This would be nothing new to the section.  In fact, years ago, it's exactly what they did, making certain that Lisbeth would end up in a mental institution in an effort to keep her quiet about Alexander Zalachenko.  As we learned in the previous novel, Zalachenko was a defector from Russia and the Section's job was to protect him at all costs, even to the detriment of the people he harmed, like Lisbeth's mother. 

                It's a race against time for Mikael Blomkvist, Milton Security, a team of police officers who find the Salander investigation to be fishy and an honest group from Säpo tipped off to some illegal actions by their fellow members.  They must reveal the Section and the conspiracy surrounding Zalachenko and Salander before she can be sent to a mental institution or prison.  But they will have to do it without Erika Berger, who has agreed to take the Editor-in-Chief position at one of Sweden's largest daily paper, only to discover that the new job may actually kill her.

                Oh my God!  What a great trilogy!  And an excellent ending to the series.  There is plenty of intrigue and conspiracy in The Girl That Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  Lisbeth may be weaker in body after her injuries, but she is no less resourceful.  I love this character and all of her seemingly strange ways...which are not so strange when you consider the events of her childhood and teenage years.  Mikael Blomkvist is just as terrific in his persistence, though a bit annoying on the relationship side.  Blomkvist is something of a playboy and there has always been a part of me that hoped the two characters would get together again.  Well, not in this novel anyway. 

                The uncovering of the conspiracy that destroyed so much of Lisbeth Salander's early years, well into her twenties was captivating.  Larsson's "Section" was committed to the protection of their defector at all costs, sidestepping the real government at every turn to get the job done.  Fans of Scandal would love this part of the story.  The Berger side story was also quite interesting and I never expected the twist in that tale at all.  But the best part of the novel has to be the trial, especially Teleborian's testimony and the defense drilling afterwards.  Loved that doctor getting exactly what he has deserved for so long.

                Oh how I wish that Stieg Larsson hadn't died.  At the end of The Girl That Kicked the Hornet's Nest, I could sense that a new relationship had arisen between Salander and Blomkvist.  I would love to have seen where that would have gone.  Imagine the investigative reporting Blomkvist could do with someone as talented as Salander behind the scenes.  What stories Larsson could have written!  Now that I have completed the trilogy, I can't wait to see the rest of the books made into film.  Oh, sure, they were made into film in Sweden long ago, but I loved The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with Rooney Mara as Lisbeth and Daniel Craig as Mikael and can't wait to see another installment in the series starring these actors in the title roles.


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