The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (Book Review) – Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third and final installment in the Millennium trilogy, currently the best selling books worldwide.

The final installment picks up where the second one left off: Lisbeth Salander has been shot, Zala is wounded and Niedermann is tied to a sign post. And so both Salander and Zala are taken to the hospital to fix up their wounds, with Lisbeth barely making it through. However, the revelations that started with the second installment, about Lisbeth’s deep involvement with a section of the Swedish secret police, continue to work in the third book. Never before has the Zalachenko club in Sapo (the Secret Police) been revealed to this extent and they must do their best to clean up.

Little do they know, however, is that this time around Lisbeth Salander has decided to fight back – and similarly to them, her fight will not be clean. Unlike them, however, she will always be one step ahead, even when Sapo believe they’ve got it all in the bag.

Lisbeth Salander has to seek the help of Mikael Blomkvit, who’s now under strict Sapo surveillance. And he’s willing to help. He will harness the power of his magazine and investigative journalism to bring justice to Salander, a woman who has had her most basic of rights violated.

Erika Berger has a stalker as well. Someone who wants her to fail at her new job, as editor in chief. But the collective effort of all people who are involved, in one way or another, with Millenium – as well as Milton Security, Lisbeth’s former employer, is needed to bring the Zalachenko group of the Secret Police down.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is a very riveting book, especially when it comes down to the trial during which Lisbeth speaks up and surprises everyone. The cross-examination of Dr. Teleborian, the psychiatrist who decided Lisbeth needed to be locked up when she was twelve, is probably one of the most exciting passages to read in the whole series.

However, unlike the previous two books in the trilogy, there isn’t a mystery in this one. There isn’t a killer to be identified like in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or The Girl Who Played With Fire. All the cards are laid out on the table for you to see. You know what each side is capable of and you know the material they both have.

In books like this, it is up to the author’s talent and expertise to deliver a book that is captivating and still wholly engrossing for you to read. And Stieg Larsson delivers. The author’s approach towards this book is not different from the previous ones but there’s an undeniable sense of urgency in the way he laid his words on paper. The monologue italic thoughts are still scattered out throughout and they serve as a strong catalyst for the advancement of the plot.

There are moments however where Larsson abandons his novelist self and goes into a pamphlet-like writer, giving you what I believe is pages and pages of credible history about the workings and logistics of the Swedish Secret Police. The fact that I skimmed through those pages and still understood the whole book is testimony to how useless they are. Perhaps he wanted to use his books for some sort of activism, but it just doesn’t work. Or it could be that I have nothing to do with Sweden.

However, at the end of the day, even though the ending of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is quite expected, it still brings you a sense of relief to see Lisbeth walk out free. The girl with the dragon tattoo who played with fire all her life dared to kick the hornet’s nest and live to tell the tale. And it is a great tale.