The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Literal Swedish Translation: The Air Castle That Exploded) was an excellent finale to the tragic, epic story of Lisbeth Salander. Everything comes together in this novel, her story wraps up beautifully. It’s very different from the previous book, which was unique from the first. If you can get past the intense nature of the first novel, the third novel is absolutely worth it.
This, the third novel in Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy picked up minutes after the end of The Girl Who Played With Fire. Really, these two stories are more closely linked than the first and second. At the same time, this brings together everything from the very beginning. This is part courtroom story (courtroom slaughter, more like), part espionage thriller, part domestic drama, and part investigative journalism–all linked by the theme of violence toward women.
Truly, in every way, these novels demonstrate the pervasive, detrimental attitude of men against women in Sweden–but we cannot believe that the women of Sweden are alone in the world. Larsson thereby creates a symbolic microcosm through these tales, not only regarding violence toward women, but against the failure of an overly bureaucratic system when a citizen is in trouble–making her a victim in every sense of the word.
We get a true sense of Lisbeth Salander, the enigma we met in the first novel. We see much more of Erika Berger, who is a very interesting character who I like, though I have a hard time trusting due to her blatant (and greenlit) infidelity. Lisbeth finally gets her day in court, represented by Mikhael Blomqvist’s sister, who wipes the floor with the opposition, proving that Salander has been a victim of a government conspiracy, which condemned her to a life of prejudice and near slavery when she inadvertently threatened to expose her abusive father when she tried to murder him. Her father happens to be a Russian spy/defector, protected by the Swedish secret police because of the valuable information he has imparted. Everything we saw in the first two books comes together in a tightly woven, perfectly planned, and precisely executed plot.
These are among the best thrillers I’ve read in a great long while, and I’m interested to get into the increasingly popular Swedish crime genre.